Georgia Murray still remembers her first singing gig.
Sneaking into the guest lounge of her parent’s fishing lodge in Port McNeil, the then five-year-old sang an unannounced rendition of The Little Mermaid’s Part of your World to an audience of unsuspecting dinner guests.
“From the beginning all I could dream of doing was becoming a singer, songwriter,” Murray said. “It is not a question of how bad (I) want it, it is what I am, what I do and what I will always do.”
Today, the stages are bigger, the stakes are higher and the guests know she is performing – but her childlike enthusiasm remains.
“It is part delusion, part passion mixed,” she said laughing. “Once you reach one goal it is all about reaching the next goal and the next one, and the next one.”
Perseverance secured her spot among eight performers to compete in reality TV show Cover Me Canada, where singers cover popular Canadian music on live television and bands are eliminated every week, but it proved to be more of a learning experience than a fun one where she endured one of the most challenging segments of her musical career.
“It was a soul-crushing experience, but one of these things that doesn’t kill you (but) makes you stronger,” she said of some of the harsh judges’ comments. “The month that we were there you felt crushed on a regular basis and being able to pull through was miraculous. … All of that was amazing, to up your game as a performer (and) to deal with performing under such stressful situations.”
The intense run ended with her elimination in week four. But the opportunity to perform as one of eight bands selected from more than 4,000 applicants was a confidence boost and positive exposure for the 28-year-old who worked years as a server and housekeeper to keep her dreams alive. It is that dedication that struck radio host Dylan Willows who knows Murray’s work ethic first hand.
“I think the first thing I have noticed (about her) is unflinching commitment and dedication to her craft,” said the Zone 91.3 host. “In this business there are a lot of very talented people out there, it is the people that stick through hard times that find success in the end.”
Her performances still inspire the 12-year veteran of the radio industry who enjoys the unique nature of her sound, a package he says doesn’t necessarily fit into the musical sub categories of the industry, and sets her apart.
“She has a unique ability to blend all sorts of different genres and make it original and her own,” he continued. “I tell her every time I see her … I am amazed she is not an international star yet. When it happens, and it will happen, I won’t be surprised.”
While international stardom hasn’t arrived yet, international recognition has. In 2010 she picked up the phone to be greeted by lawyers in South Korea who discovered her song We’ll Never Know had been plagiarized and stolen by a producer who repackaged the song for popular South Korean pop musician Hyori Lee. The song climbed the South Korean charts as a hit single before being derailed when news of the scandal broke. It proved to be both an eye opener and an opening for the songstress who may now be more popular in Asia than she is in her hometown.
Her initial anger is now mellowed by a newfound fanbase and an undisclosed settlement that laid the foundation for her latest EP Just a Dream, released in 2011. With high-profile setbacks behind her, and a new six-song EP in conjunction with her producer and partner D Whiz set for release in 2013, she is confident her success – that now includes singing the national anthem for the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden and a stint playing herself on Boston Legal with William Shatner and Candace Bergen – is just the beginning.
“Things keep moving forward and happening, which is my goal in music. Things are just on this upward, propelling forward motion which is the only thing I can hope for as a musician,” she said. “It is what I wake up for, what I live for. Everything, everyday is music, it is just what I do.”
Unbeknownst to a five year old Murray, singing of a desire to be a part of your world, may prove to be foreshadowing of a future where she ends up doing just that.