Tanya George: Normality (Interview)

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Questioning the social norms has long been acknowledged as the undisclosed occupation of the modern musician, especially during times of great social unrest, and Tanya George’s fresh new single ‘Normality’ is no exception. Releasing the Pop tune during the middle of Melbourne’s stage 4 Lockdown, Tanya asks listeners to question the way that normal day to day living might differ from person to person. 

Melbourne CBD locals should be all too familiar with Bourke Street’s resident busker Tanya George.

Before the Covid 19 restrictions came into force, Tanya’s layered vocals could be heard ringing through the city streets on a daily basis. As a busker, she found herself with rare tickets to a show that not many happen to fall privy to – the behind the scenes running show of Melbourne’s Central Business District from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. Tanya’s front row seats on the streets provided a clear display of the different levels of ‘Normal’ that our modern society proceeds to offer.

Sitting down with Tanya, she recalled a day close to the end of her rostered performances busking and was soon to make her journey home. Fate would have it that a passer by would steal her daily earnings. There was a crowd of spectators enjoying her music but none made an attempt to help secure Tanya’s money; which became a clear indication of just how much security she should expect whilst sharing her music with the streets. This constant threat of theft and the feeling of being vulnerable and alone on the streets of Melbourne became Tanya George’s normal day to day. Tanya is not the only busker to have experienced this misfortune on the streets of Melbourne or even the rest of the world for that matter. A busking performer is constantly exposed to the public at all times of their performance, it’s the whole point; and quite often overlooking threats to personal belongings and even safety may occur as a consequence. 

Engineered by Jimmy Alexander (Awaken I Am), the pair set out to challenge the conventional structure of a pop song recording. Every sound you hear in ‘Normality’ was produced entirely using Tanya’s voice. Fans of Tanya George are familiar with her impressive display of vocal harmonies and voicings, but in ‘Normality’ our expectations are shattered completely. Despite recording all the different vocal dubs over the course of a week Alexander managed to retain the raw live aspect of Tanya’s sound in a well polished and presented studio production.

“In 2020 we haven’t been living our normal lives so I wanted to challenge the preconceived notion of what makes ‘normal’ music.” says Tanya, “I did this by producing songs made only from my vocals so I could also share the message that voices are powerful when they come together. And in these difficult times, I feel that our collective voices will be what sees us through.”

Normality is the third single from the upcoming EP of the same name due for release later this year. 

Check it out on Triple J Unearthed

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