'I'm just going to say it as it is': New Georgia Lines album shares vulnerability

Carly Gibbs

Weekend writer

On her debut album, The Rose of Jericho, Georgia Lines vulnerably shares the ebbs and flows of her recent life.

Georgia Lines could have easily kept her feelings private when tackling heartache, but that wouldn’t have served her musically.

Her debut album, The Rose of Jericho, and lead single, Grand Illusion, are out now, heralding a new “musical chapter” and the “truest representation” of her as an artist.

She will perform new songs tonight when she opens for Brooke Fraser at Spark Arena for a one-off show with the 70-piece Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

Fraser was the 27-year-old’s first concert as a 12-year-old, and tonight will be “a very full-circle moment”.

The Mount Maunganui songstress is excited to share some of her 10-track piano-led R&B and indie-pop album, which explores grief, pain, joy, and lightness through her powerful voice.

The Rose of Jericho, known for its powers of self-restoration, inspired the album title. Written over two years and recorded in four weeks, it’s an album of journal-like contemplation.

The raw songs were written during some of the most challenging years of her life. While she’s not ready to talk about it more, she believes her delicate emotions will relate universally to those overcoming their challenges.

“[I decided] I’m not going to try to hide behind cool metaphors; I’m just going to say it as it is.”

Georgia Lines' raw album is a journal-like contemplation. Photo / Frances Carter
Georgia Lines' raw album is a journal-like contemplation. Photo / Frances Carter

A transformative force

This album includes everything she loves about music, including the magic and nostalgic sonic landscapes of early Disney movies, which she’s always found comforting.

These influences feed into the album’s themes – learning to hold sorrow and joy; the sound: whimsical strings and soaring melodies, piano ballads and sparkling synths, stacked harmonies and hook-laden choruses. And it feeds into the visuals: in the promotional photos, she wears a pink, fluffy cuffed gown and silver rhinestone bow heels.

The beauty expands to the album’s piano ballads. She’s been playing piano since primary school age, attending Tauranga’s Bethlehem College (Year 0-13) throughout her schooling. At one point, she gave up lessons because she disliked the theory and switched to self-teaching in high school.

She’ll often sit at her piano when starting her songwriting process. Ideas that pop into her head are tapped into her phone or recorded via voice notes to return to later.

It’s a process that’s served her well since she gained attention as a teenager with a win at the 2014 Smokefree Rockquest.

Since then, she’s released Human, her chart-topping debut EP, in 2020; began the web series Intros, where she interviews fellow Kiwi artists; and racked up more than eight million Spotify streams.

In 2022, she won Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the Aotearoa Music Awards and this year took home the Tūī award for Best Pop Artist.

Last year, after playing seven shows at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, she was signed by American booking agent Larry Webman from Wasserman Music, who looks after Coldplay and Sarah Bareilles.

Now based in Auckland and a fulltime musician, she frequently travels to the States and last returned in March, playing 10 shows in a fortnight. She will return soon as she looks to grow her audience there.

‘Brought me back to life’

Her heart, however, is in Mount Maunganui.

At her album launch party at Totara Street on June 8 – her first home show in two years – she celebrated in grand, fairy-tale style. She changed pink dresses twice, performed a duet with musician Teeks, and had a “giant” three-tier toasted meringue cake with raspberry white chocolate and lemon, lime, and passionfruit from the Mount’s Spongedrop cakery.

Days later, she was still eating the cake with a side of peppermint tea, and her best friend sent her a bouquet of congratulatory red roses.

Lines celebrated her album release in grand, fairytale style, which included a three-tier cake. Photo / Brodie McDowell
Lines celebrated her album release in grand, fairytale style, which included a three-tier cake. Photo / Brodie McDowell

Time spent at home in the Bay of Plenty is special. She loves her supportive family, a sunrise walk up Mauao and soaking in the Mount Hot Pools. She also loves dining at Special Mention Cafe and rates Spongedrop for its heated scones with jam and butter.

Next for her is to “rest, fill the tank”.

She views writing and releasing music as a little life cycle.

“You write, record, and play the songs and start again. I’m not writing at the moment. I’ve got nothing left in me to write.”

Just like Disney, though, stories are born or remade. Rose of Jericho is her star to wish upon. It’s an album she’ll look back on in “20 years” as something that helped her heal and “brought me back to life”.

“I created something that meant something deeply to me and that I was proud of. That was what mattered.”

# At the time of writing, The Rose of Jericho was number one on The Official New Zealand Music Charts’ top 20 New Zealand albums and number three on the top 40 albums.

Bay of Plenty Bites

Kiwifruit or avocados

Beach or lake

Walk around the Mauao base track or hike to the top

Sun worshipper or snow bunny (“both”)

Homesick or happy traveller

Carly Gibbs is a weekend magazine writer for the Bay of Plenty Times and Rotorua Daily Post and has been a journalist for two decades. She is a former news and feature writer, for which she’s been both an awards finalist and winner.