At just 23, Georgia Nott is already a music success story. Via her indie-pop duo Broods, which she shares with her brother Caleb, Nott has toured with stars like Ellie Goulding, Haim, and Sam Smith. The pair's two studio albums have also won a number of New Zealand Music Awards. Given her many accomplishments, it's particularly admirable that Nott, a woman with an already impressive platform in the music industry, would throw herself into a passion project designed to make sure that other women receive a similar one.
Enter The Venus Project, a creative music collaboration sparked by Nott's desire to work exclusively with women on a new venture. The Venus Project's first volume, a 10-track LP, was performed, produced, and packaged by women. Refinery29 received an exclusive video of an acoustic version of Nott's own track "Numb," a very personal song that feels more Nott than it does Broods. Perhaps that's the point, then: What magic can women create when they are allowed to feed off one another's passion?
Refinery29 spoke to Nott about The Venus Project, "Numb," and why representation matters now more than ever.
Refinery29: Tell me about "Numb." Why did you write it? What do the lyrics mean to you?
Georgia Nott: "'Numb' was one of the first songs I wrote, actually. Like most of the songs that I record, I just picked up the guitar and let whatever I had come out... At the time, it felt like I was in a little bit of a box, I guess, and I didn't really know how to control parts of my life. I didn't know if I was ever going to have control over those parts. I was moving to L.A., and a lot of change was happening. I realized that I had something to say, and I felt like I couldn't say it. That's kind of what 'Numb' is about — feeling like you can't be what you want to be... There's a lot going on in my head around those things. Basically, just feeling that I was numbing myself a little bit... That feeling is real."
You released the Venus Project's first LP on March 8. What has the response been like so far?
"It's been so bloody good. I can't believe the amount of times I've gotten to talk about it with press or with people who are interested or proud or supportive. The amount of Broods fans who have come out to support me on this adventure, it's really humbling... Two years ago, I would have thought 'Oh, that'll never happen.' I feel very very grateful for the response."
What has been the most challenging aspect of putting together the Venus Project? What has been the most rewarding?
"I think just the fact that we were trying to make this album come out of thin air at times, budget-wise and timeline-wise. We were doing it between Broods stuff, and all the other women involved were doing it between the stuff that they do usually. At times, it was a bit of a shitshow, trying to get everything together, but every time that something was hard or we couldn't find someone to fulfill a role, or we were struggling with [the workload], we kept empowering each other through it, and it made it all the more rewarding."
"I think a lot of women still feel like they can't say what they are thinking. With the #MeToo movement, so many women shared their stories about awful things that they've been through, things that are so completely wrong for one human to do to another. It's something that really flips [the entertainment industry]. I think people are taking more responsibility that it happens, but I think there are still a lot of stories and a lot of people who have not been held accountable. There's still a lot to talk about, in that sense."
What is a misconception people have about women working together?
"There's definitely a misconception that people have when women get together, whether it's to celebrate or hang out or to make something, that it's this weird cliquey thing. I think that the one thing I feel is misrepresented in media... A lot of times, women are pitted against one another as some form of entertainment. My experience is so far from that. I have nothing but amazing times when I was writing and creating with these women... It's so liberating and freeing. It's everything that I wanted to achieve creatively... There's all this passion. I think that's what people should associate with women collaborating: passion, not cliquey, catty passive aggression."
What is the best piece of advice that one of your mentors gave you?
"The most useful a piece of [advice] that I got when I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed and didn't know where I was supposed to be was from my friend... She was like 'You're 23, remember? You're so young, and you don't have to get everything done in one year.' That was a huge thing, personally, for me. It's not necessarily a piece of advice from me as a woman, but more as a human being. There's a lot of competition these days, and a lot of content flying around... it's hard to get your voice heard sometimes. To know that there's always room to grow and to make new things out of everything that happens to me as a person, [that's something] I need to remember."
How can we create more opportunities for women in the arts?
"I have been thinking and talking a lot about representation. I think, from the outside, it can seem like women are very well represented. We see a lot of women on television, as musicians, as huge pop stars... but I think that sometimes the stories behind everything are still very male-driven. I would love to see more diverse stories, and the acceptance of more diverse stories. I feel like there is so much more to art than making it commercial, and for a long time, people were weary of what they say and how honest they are because it might not help their career. I think there needs to be a huge space made for that kind of artistry... to have everyone's stories be told by the people that represent [the stories]. It goes beyond the feminist movement and gender."
Check out the new video, from the Venus Project's studio session, below: