If you’re a fan of young female country singers that tell real-life, sometimes heart-rending stories, Georgia Webster is an artist you’ll need to have on your radar.
A Hampden, Massachusetts native, Webster grew up with a passion for music at a very young age. Her dad played guitar at home and eventually taught her a few chords, which later sparked a passion in her to learn the guitar and write her own songs, much like some of her musical influences such as Taylor Swift, John Mayer and Tyler Childers.
With a teeming passion to hone her songwriting craft, Webster attended Berklee College of Music’s prestigious songwriter camps. All of the time spent perfecting her bubbling talent there eventually set the stage for what would be a 2020 silver lining for the country newcomer.
In July 2020, her song, “Tell Your Mom,” took her to viral stardom. In just a few days, the no-frills clip of Webster’s acoustic performance accrued over two million views. This success turned heads of record label executives from New York, Los Angeles and Nashville, but the 17-year-old decided on signing with the Music City-based Sony Music Nashville to maintain her singer/songwriter flair and humble roots.
Earlier in July of this year, Webster released her major label debut EP, First Goodbye. Teaming up with hit songwriter/producer Paul DiGiovanni (Sam Hunt, Lauren Alaina, Jordan Davis, Dan + Shay), the tight five-track set captures the heart and soul of Webster’s storytelling prowess. “First Goodbye” is a tender, plaintive acoustic guitar ballad, “UGLY” shows off the teenager’s sass and self-confidence, and “Push & Pull” offers her personal heartbreaking truth over a breezy, infectious melody.
Sounds Like Nashville caught up with Webster recently to get the backstory behind her musical journey, TikTok stardom and the inspiration behind tracks on her First Goodbye EP, such as the real-life-inspired “Tell Your Mom” and more.
Introducing the next artist you have to “get to know”: Georgia Webster
\What was life like growing up in Hampden, Massachusetts? How did you get into music and songwriting?
My dad played guitar growing up. He didn’t do it as a job or anything. He really just did it as a hobby and he would play Grateful Dead songs for me and my sister when we were really little around the house. I was really entranced by it and thought it was so cool. My dad taught me the first few chords on the guitar and once he taught me the first few chords, I started teaching myself and I’d look up YouTube videos. I was a big Taylor Swift fan and I loved One Direction. I started teaching myself [how to play their] songs and from there, I started writing. I was really just having a hard time learning guitar because I would just write songs all the time [about my crushes and friendships], and that was all I wanted to do.
Did it start from possibly writing journal or diary entries?
Yes! I actually wanted to be a writer. I was really into fiction books as a kid, like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Divergent and those kinds of books when I started in fourth grade. I was a pretty advanced reader and literally read all those books in third grade. I really wanted to be an author and had tried writing a few books during middle school. But once I started writing songs and learning to play the guitar, I realized that that’s two of my biggest hobbies put together and from there, I really wanted to be a songwriter.
Who would you cite as your biggest musical inspiration as an artist?
Taylor Swift was definitely one of them. I wasn’t really a big country music fan until maybe when I was 14. But I did like Carrie Underwood a lot when I was younger. She’s definitely one of my country influences. Also, once Sam Hunt came out, I thought he was amazing because he had that mix of pop and country and I really latched on to that. I feel like that changed country music and made it one of my more favorite genres, and I wasn’t really into it as much before Sam Hunt. I also love Lennon Stella, JP Saxe, Jeremy Zucker and more indie artists, along with Tyler Childers and Josh Turner and other country artists today.
And did I read that John Mayer was one of your influences as well?
Yes! I love John Mayer. I have a poster of him in my room right now. My grandma is a very musical person. She doesn’t play anything but has great music taste. She’s a huge fan. And she introduced me to her music and I think he’s so good.
Your music is very personal, and we’ll talk about that in a bit. But, how do you decide, as a young songwriter, which songs to share with the world? Is there a ‘too personal’ line that you’ve drawn for yourself yet?
I have not drawn that line yet, and I probably should. I do tend to write about my life and things that do happen in my life without thinking about the consequences of it. I’m trying to write vaguely but at the same time, what’s the point of writing a song if you’re not going to be honest and vulnerable with it? I just feel like I’m not satisfied with the songs where I try to hide how I’m feeling. I love songs that are open and honest, so I try to be as open and honest as possible [too].
Now, before you uploaded “Tell Your Mom” onto TikTok, did you have a hunch that it would blow up and be as viral as it was?
Oh, no! That was one of the first songs that I posted of mine. I think it was one of the first originals that I posted and had no clue that it would blow up like that. I didn’t think people would relate to it. My mom heard it when I played it for her and she’s like, “Georgia, no one’s going to relate to this. This is weird!” So I definitely didn’t think people would relate to it, but people did!
Would you consider how this song blew up on TikTok as one of the silver linings for you through the past year’s lockdown?
Absolutely, one hundred percent. I had so much time to work on my songwriting, too. Once the video blew up, [because] there was no touring or anything, I had so much time to really get better and I feel like I’ve really gotten better since that video took off.
Was there a vision you had as you pieced your debut EP together?
It was definitely hard because there are so many songs I’ve written since high school and I wanted it to signify my high school years and my life throughout high school and all the [accompanying emotions. But, there were songs I had to take out. There was one that I was a hundred percent going to [include in my EP] but I ended up not doing it. But I think in the end, I chose the right ones and they were the ones that fit the best with the vibe of the EP.
What’s the story behind the title track “First Goodbye”?
I wrote that song when I was on vacation in Florida. I was there for three weeks, and my boyfriend and I had been dating for a while. It was the first time I had left him for a long period of time. We were just talking over the phone and said if this is what it’s going to be like if I move to Nashville and when you’re back home in Massachusetts, it’s going to be awful. So, we broke up for ten minutes and I was heartbroken and wrote that song. And then we got back together!
“Push & Pull”— I think this was the track that opened my ears to your music. What’s the story behind this one?
“Push & Pull” is very controversial, because a lot of people have mixed opinions on that one, especially on TikTok. I feel like for both girls and guys, when you’re not used to being treated really well in a relationship or even just a friendship, when someone keeps asking you to hang out or is being so nice to you and you’re just like, “This is [almost] too much. Give me some space here. I’m not used to this.” This is how I felt in a relationship at one point because I was used to all these guys that didn’t treat me great and this one guy came along and it’s like a love bomb, it’s too much. I feel like it happens to a lot of people where you almost feel bad because this guy is perfect and there’s nothing wrong, but for some reason, you pull away from that.
The final track I wanna talk about is “UGLY.” It sounds like a track taken from an early country Taylor Swift songbook. Such a throwback storytelling song. Would you talk about writing that?
This one is about this guy I dated. He was so attractive and so good-looking, like literally one of the best-looking people I’ve ever seen in my life. [laughs] But once we started dating and going out, I started to realize that he’s really mean and had this bad personality, and I was suddenly not attracted to him anymore. I feel like it’s always about personality and what’s inside. If you’re not a good-looking person on the inside, then it’s just a shell on the outside. It’s going to make you “Ugly.”
You’re set to open for Ingrid Andress on her Feeling Things tour soon. What a perfect fit! How did all of that happen?
I haven’t actually met her yet! But she’s one of my biggest influences and has been for the past year and a half. I used to play out in coffee shops and stuff back in Hampden, and “More Hearts Than Mine” was on my setlist every time I played out. I was obsessed with that song. The more I listened to her music, the more I [thought] she writes amazing. She’s also not afraid to broaden the genre a little bit and isn’t afraid to take risks with her music, which is why I love her so much. So, when I found out I was going on tour with her — and I didn’t know it until right before the press release came out — I was freaking out. I’ve been such a big fan of hers for so long!
What’s next, Georgia? Are you readying a debut album soon?
There’s going to be another single coming out real soon that I’m really excited about. I’m definitely working on an album but I’m not sure how I’m going to approach it, if I’m going to do singles or not. But definitely, a lot more new music is coming!
I’d like to wrap this interview up with some quick, fun questions! First, who’s your dream collaborator?
Olivia Rodrigo! She’s so good.
One country song you’ll never get tired of listening to?
“Feathered Indians” by Tyler Childers.
What’s your essential must-have food or snack out on the road?
Chile Spiced Mango from Trader Joe’s!
Favorite coffee shop in Nashville?
And, what’s your favorite restaurant in Nashville?
Lastly, what do you hope listeners take away from your debut EP?
It’s pretty much true stories, and I hope they can relate to it.