“I don’t fit into a group anymore. I just don’t. And pretending to isn’t fun for me.” Her words are firm, but they carry the rare sensitivity of someone who knows how to say no when something doesn’t feel right. The still-wintery greyness of New York City drips in through the windows. I ask her if it’s scarier being alone. “I think sometimes, yeah,” she says gently. “When I’m feeling nostalgic. Or when I want to – you know how sometimes it’s fun to go to a group and seek advice, even if you’re not really going to take it? But I could tune into that if I wanted to.” She looks upward curiously, as if checking for a far-off, hidden signal on the radio waves. Genevieve seems to have the power to tune into anything.
“I felt like I was always in my own plane of reality or something,” says the singer, explaining the departure from her successful first band, Company of Thieves. “I was just operating in a different vibration – not right or wrong, just different, and I think it’s because I was just becoming more of who I am. I grew up really fast in the city of Chicago and I homeschooled myself through my senior year of high school, because I moved out of my parents’ apartment when I was 17. So I was independent really early on and had a lot of responsibility. I was kind of desperate to fit in with the group and be accepted and feel safe, because I was so young.”
“And so in doing that, I fortunately made this fun rock band. And we had all these dreams and goals and we ended up getting signed and releasing records and touring, and it was amazing. But naturally, as I kind of bridged the gap between being a teenager and now, a woman, I sort of grew out of the group and grew into my own truth. So that’s what this whole part of my life right now is about. Recognizing what I’ve gone through to become who I am now – and respecting that.”
Genevieve’s latest release, “Show Your Colors,” runs much deeper than most colorful pop songs do. And for her, it’s more about the contrast than the colors. “I feel like a lot of people experience walking around in a sort of black and white reality where there’s a lot of duality, and you’re kind of looking for other people to validate you, and looking to be included and accepted,” she explains. “Contrast is so important, and that’s the thing about showing your colors – it only works if you’ve been hiding or if you’ve been oppressed. I’m not going to get way into it, but growing up in my family, it was a pretty scary environment a lot of times. And just being an artist, or being a girl. That alone. But when you can accept yourself in your own heart, your whole world can open up.”
Her eyes, lined in blue and green, sparkle as she speaks. Her fire-red hair punctuates every positive thought with an exclamation point. “‘Show Your Colors’ is really about celebrating that coming of age for anyone, at any time. It’s about not being afraid to be who you are, and not hiding, but instead celebrating your truth and expressing yourself. And showing your colors!” she giggles. “It’s exciting! It’s a really joyful song, because I am experiencing a lot of joy by just being true to myself. I think what happened is, a couple years ago I realized that I could apply the golden rule to myself, and I was like ‘Wait a second! I can treat myself with kindness and love and care?’ Treat others the way you would like to be treated. But it’s like, why don’t you also treat yourself that way too? Because if anybody is going to treat you that way, it’s going to be you first, probably. And that was really cool for me.”
Whether or not she planned it, Genevieve is quickly becoming known for her colorful persona, which she accentuates with her vibrant hair and makeup. Fittingly, her hairstylist in LA, Marcy Harmon, is the same one who has given Katy Perry, Florence Welch, and Lily Allen their multicolored locks. “I think I’m embracing it,” Genevieve says brightly, her red waves bouncing. “I think I have a sense of humor about it, actually. Sometimes, I think a message of such simplicity usually comes with either a lot of color and a lot of laughter, or a lot of darkness and a lot of pain. And it’s not that I necessarily want to embody one extreme. It just so happens that it feels really good to laugh about a lot of things, because it’s easy to cry about a lot of things. But laughing feels good for me right now.”
Article: Olivia Isenhart
Photos: Shayne Hanley