7 Jun 2024

Georgia Lines blends darkness and light on her debut album Rose of Jericho

From Afternoons, 1:05 pm on 7 June 2024
New Zealand musician Georgia Lines

New Zealand musician Georgia Lines Photo: Supplied

A flower known not for its beauty but its powers of self-restoration was the inspiration for Rose of Jericho - the debut album by Georgia Lines.

The award-winning New Zealand musician and keen gardener says the last few years have left her feeling like a Rose of Jericho herself.

"I am [also] in the process of coming back to life, remembering things that were lost and all of the things associated with that … my record was the rose inside," she tells Mark Leishman.

On Rose of Jericho, which touches on grief, loss and heartache as well as joy and lightness, Lines sought to capture a 'both and' quality of darkness alongside light.

"The last few years have been some of the hardest years of my life and hopefully I never have to repeat any of those years.

"I think when you're journeying through it, it's a lot harder to talk about it whereas when you're on the other side of whatever that journey looks like, it's a little bit easier."

Lines has decided she is not yet ready to talk about the personal details that informed Rose of Jericho but botanical themes, "strange orchestral musical motifs" from early Disney movies and listening to Billie Holliday's 1956 album Solitude while cooking all played a part.

The album's first track 'Grand Illusion' was written when she was in the "slightly not normal for me" rhythm of getting up at five in the morning and watching the sun come up.

Walking along the beach in Mount Maunganui where she's based, Lines came up with the lyric about creating a life she can live in.

She says the song is about embracing what is happening in the here and now while also learning to embrace - rather than avoid - pain and healing.

For Lines, the last couple of years hasn't entirely been about struggle, at least professionally. 

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 came home to a rather exciting email from American talent agent Larry Whitman.

"He's one of the top dudes and had this email saying 'I wasn't at South by Southwest but I sent some of my agents along to watch you and you're amazing and I want to be on the team … and I look after Coldplay and MGMT, you might have heard of them."

Lines plans to start building an audience in the States and do some touring over there.

In the meantime, she'll continue making the "life-giving" web series Intros, which she describes as both a resource and a platform for female and non-binary musicians starting out in New Zealand.

"Musicians have it hard because you do all this work, you don't get paid… It's a real hit-and-miss and you're really trying to figure out what the right move is for you.

"It's a hard industry and it took me years and years and years to figure out what I was doing. I still feel like I don't know what I'm doing at times."