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There’s a reason why George Maple is riding on a wave of success right now. Maybe it’s her blend of seductive, electro R & B vibes that’s becoming this decade’s defining genre (think The Weeknd or FKA twigs). Perhaps it’s because she’s fresh from epic performances at SXSW and Coachella. Or maybe it’s simply because almost all of her Australian shows are sold out. Whatever the reason, George Maple (aka Jessica Higgs) cannot stop smiling.
After a support set by Moon Holiday, a young Flume collaborator and up-and-coming electro artist in her own right, the curtains close on the already packed room. When they re-open, Maple walks on stage in a sea of blue and green smoke; looking sexy in a men’s oversized coat, black satin pants, and a bondage style bra.
She launches immediately into Fixed, and the crowd clings to every word. Performing songs off her five-track debut EP, Maple doesn’t move too far from the record’s original form, unlike the countless remixes that have been worked on her songs. But the purpose is all about taking us into the depths of her inner monologue, backed by those heavy, reverberating beats.
During the dark and hypnotic Gripp she sways her hips like a pendulum and crouches to the floor, hands to her ears like she’s in agony as she sings, “It’s all in your head, it’s all in your head. Get a grip and take control.”
For Where You and I Begin, her collaboration with Philadelphia MC Grande Marshall, she channels the lust and psycho-seductiveness in the track as she moves around the stage with its booty-shaking beats. And during Gemini, her track with Sydney’s What So Not, she tries to maintain the seriousness of the song, before breaking out into that radiating smile.
With only a few songs to her name so far, she gives the crowd a taste of some of her new material filled with 90s jams and 80s funky bass. No doubt there’s a lot more to come.
Image: George Maple @ Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory, 24.04.15 / Photo: Maria Boyadgis