The remarkable and resourceful Georgia
Georgia is a force of vocal nature who has been living in Hamburg on and off for over 4 years now. When she’s not teaching students vocal lessons, she likes to get creative with painting, explore the city, play the piano, and sing for fun. Not to mention she’s an AIDA veteran, so she’s sung and danced all over international waters. She’s a leo, but maybe that’s easy to guess by the bangin’ mane of ginger hair she’s got! Keep reading to get to know Georgia and how she ended up in Germany, and how she’s found her own path of success after being thrown a few huge curveballs.
If you’re interested in booking some vocal lessons with Georgia or just want to get to know her CV a bit more, make sure to check out her website here!
First off, I have to ask – is there an interesting story behind why your parents named you Georgia? 🙂
Actually, my parents wanted to name me India! I have no idea why they didn’t and I’m still a little bitter about it. However my family nickname was always SweetPea and my friends have called me Ginge since the age 11/12 so that feels a lot more like my name now!!
What initially brought you to Germany? And is it why you’re still here?
Singing!! I got a job working for AIDA cruises back in October 2016 and I started rehearsals in Jan 2017. So I packed up 2 suitcases and flew off to Hamburg not quite realising what the Reeperbahn is or that it’s one street over from where AIDA have their rehearsal buildings…
It’s not the reason I am still here!! I chose to move here permanently in 2019 with my partner (he’s from the east so I think technically he moved further than I did haha
What do you love most about living in Hamburg/Germany?
I come from Greater London and Hamburg feels just like “home home”. The greenery in combination with being right in the city is the perfect lifestyle for me and I have always loved being by the water.
What’s your go-to routine on a rainy day in Hamburg (which we know happens all too frequently) vs. a sunny day in Hamburg?
This is a really hard question because I have spent more time in Hamburg just this past year than I have from 2017-2021. Usually on a rainy day, it’s an afternoon spent chilling out with my partner and our kitten. You could find us recording music in our home studio, watching a documentary cuddled up all together on the sofa or cooking up an absolute storm in the kitchen. On a sunny day, we are outside!!!! Whether that’s taking the cat out on her lead, taking our bikes to explore new areas or chilling out on the canal near our Haus. I am a total summer baby by nature and I love being in nature!
What are some of the biggest differences you’ve experienced between living in the UK and Germany?
Honestly, Xenophobia (if you can ignore how hard the German language is haha). Having moved from one international city to another, I never expected to feel like such an “outsider”. I grew up in a capital city and an industry (performer since age 6) where being different is what makes you special/celebrated and here it just gets you stared at, shouted at and often physically abused. (I would like to add here that I know this isn’t a brand new issue. However, it is a brand new issue for me personally. I recognise my privilege as being the “right kind of immigrant” (yes, I have been called this)). That has been a bitter pill for me to swallow since 2017 when I first came here and honestly I find it’s only getting worse. I’m very proud to be an immigrant and with each hurtful comment or loud tut, my desire to stay here and take up even more space grows.
Let’s talk about your German language-learning journey. How did you start, how has the process been, how do you feel about your abilities now, etc.
I have had German lessons on and off since 2017. I was thrown right into the deep end because I had to learn a 25-minute Schlager show for my first contract onboard AIDAvita. Very shortly after that I met my partner and so my hunger to learn increased. The last time I was tested, I was at B1 level and I’m certain (lord pleaseeeee) it’s improved since then as that was March 2019. I feel totally comfortable speaking with my partner’s family although I am lucky that my sister-in-law lived in America for a few years so one of my (4) nieces also speaks English. I also have one student whom I teach entirely in German…it’s very difficult but we find a way and I learn something too in the process.
Can you tell us about a time where you said the wrong thing or misunderstood something in a funny way?
Oh I honestly wouldn’t even KNOW where to start. Trust me when I say you’ll never forget how to speak another language as quickly as whilst standing on stage under pressure HAHA. However, a colleague of mine kept asking for Stillen Wasser at restaurants and that quite tickles me.
I know that your career path has changed quite drastically during the last year and a half due to the pandemic. What has that been like and what have you learned along the way?
Wow what has it been like? Imagine everything you owned was moved very carefully piece by piece to your private island over a 4 year period and once you were finally able to move in, it sunk. I know that’s dramatic but that’s really how it felt at some points last year.
As performers, we don’t often find ourselves in a stable (and well paying) job with continued contracts for as long as you’re able and willing to do your job properly. I was lucky enough to be in that exact position before the world pandemic and I had just returned home from a dream contract – a WORLD CRUISE (Hamburg-Hamburg in 117 days).
Then when coronavirus started to get serious, I suddenly found myself in a foreign country, with zero family around us and everyone is wearing masks so I can no longer hear/read lips to understand German. I had to choose whether to afford food or health insurance for 6 months because I had zero support from the German or British governments. (FYI, I chose food so dreading when TK comes calling.)
I tried a few different “new” career paths but every job I applied to turned me down. I eventually got a job working for an English School here in Hamburg but the rates of pay weren’t even worth stepping out every day into danger seeing as it was a freelancer contract (with shocking pay) so it didn’t offer any securities. Thankfully, I heard about Down Under in Dammtor. It’s an Australian Bar that absolutely saved me last year. I don’t have many friends in Hamburg due to always travelling and then the world closing up and I am so grateful that not only did I get myself a job from Down Under but also so many great friends for life. It really was our lifeline for a long time last year and gave me enough energy to start my own business once we went back into lockdown in December.
So you’ve started your own business and it became successful quite quickly! Can you talk about some of the things you have had to take into account in operating your business virtually rather than in person? And how has the customer reception been?
Running a business virtually has been a blessing and a curse. I am so proud to have created a remote job for myself that I can take anywhere with me that exists in harmony alongside my performing career. Having also taught face-to-face, I must say that doing everything virtually is a lot harder! I find I have to really animate myself in order for the students to feel the benefit of my expertise. With a lot of trial and error, I finally have a “set up” that I’m really proud of and enables me to give lessons with high professional quality.
However, I also believe that everything being remote and virtual has left me in the firing line from strangers online, getting lost in admin and the burden of being only one person with a huge work-load and also some (a very very small amount) students who do not honour their side of a teacher-student agreement. I have found myself chasing millionaires for small amounts of cash, I’ve had 8/16 students cancelled with none or insufficient notice and I find myself proving to strangers online why I am worth such a small fee per hour.
However, I love the online element to my business and have no intention of returning face-to-face. In the past 6 months I have jumped into Germany, England, Singapore, America and the Ukraine and I hope to continue visiting many more students all over the world.
It’s been a huge learning curve and I am still learning. Add this together with the fact I am currently studying two different courses whilst also keeping a performing career alive is very difficult. However, I wouldn’t change it for the world because I LOVE teaching and being able to say that my Vocal Studio is fully booked within less than 6 months of opening is really amazing. I just hope that people remember to treat me like a human being-that’s all I am.
How do you see your future in Germany panning out? Would you like to return to singing on cruises, or have recent events and learnings encouraged you to continue trying down a different path?
I love Germany and I can’t think of any reason in our distant future to leave! I know it’s cheesy but home really is where the heart is! I am able to speak to my family all day every day (unlike whilst cruising where we have to pay 40EUR for 5GB of data) and I’m actually closer to home than when I left to study.
Cruising in the capacity I used to (as in leaving for 6-9 months at a time) definitely isn’t in my future anymore. Staying home is a luxury we never knew we craved (my partner and I) and now it’s really going to take a lot for me to give up our little corner of heaven here in Hamburg.
I definitely want to continue my Vocal Coaching business and I am determined to be at the front of the change that needs to happen within the music industry. I already have quite a few performing opportunities in the pipeline that I can’t speak about just yet…. I think to finish it off, big things are coming and I cannot wait!!!! I just can’t stop starting businesses it seems!
Georgia often posts about her series ‘Riff with Ginge’, where she will break down iconic riffs and makes them easier to understand and recreate.
Finally, in your opinion, what makes you a Power Frau?
If you asked me this question a year ago, I would have an entirely different answer for you. I will probably have an entirely different answer in one year’s time too. For now, I’ll give it my best shot. I have a confession to make first though…I had to ask the people closest to me why they think I am a Power Frau and I’m quite shocked that our answers are so different.
Life has tested us all this past year and we have all been forced to overcome and adapt. However, I am so immensely proud to have made it through this year without letting it change me – as in the true me deep down that not many people know.
My best friend thinks I am a Power Frau because I started a successful business during a world pandemic – in the thralls of poverty, lockdown and having lost my third job within the space of 6 months. In fact, it grew 5x in size during a 5 month period.
My family think I am a Power Frau because I started working for a German company without speaking a word of German. I then fell so in love with the lifestyle (and a boy…) that I decided to leave everything behind and move there!
My boyfriend thinks I am a Power Frau because I am kind-hearted, liberal and I go after what I want.
(Here are some of her friends’ answers.)
Therefore, I think I am a Power Frau because I am kind, hard-working and a survivor.
I try to live every single day of my life with the kindness I wish to receive back.
I am the hardest worker I know. In fact, I worked 5 different jobs in a 7-day week before I came to Germany for the first time. In March last year, I even trained and became a fully qualified English teacher because I was so desperate for work. (250 hours I’ll never get back…)
I am a survivor because the past year has thrown a LOT at me but it didn’t break me. In the past year, I felt the true meaning of rock bottom. I lost my entire industry overnight, I was diagnosed with a chronic pain condition and had various run-ins with extreme anxiety attacks that I thought might kill me if I couldn’t get my breath back. Not being able to see/squeeze my family and friends when I needed them was tough but I am so proud to have built a life here for myself with people around me who have my back. Whether it was Max, my amazing partner, holding my hand whilst I cried or the daily facetimes I had with my grandad for 4 months (I’m deadly serious we didn’t miss even one day) I have the tools to get through anything.
In the words of the late Caroline Flack. “In a world where you can be anything, be kind” because you never truly know what the other person has to face.