Photo: Abbie Pitre
There's a wave of tender tones currently gracing the indie pop world. Genevieve Stokes is riding that wave. The 18-year-old native of Portland, Maine might be new to the indie pop scene, but her talent paints her as a long standing songwriter of the youth driven genre. "Lonely and Bored" is the singer-songwriter’s second release from her upcoming EP, Lonely and Bored, due later this summer.
Stokes' modernist take on the distressing nature of the classic coming of age story and the feelings born of it is unique. She continuously embarks on vivid lyrical journeys while tinkering with sonic form along the way. "Lonely and Bored" feels warm though its concept is chilling, especially now in isolation. Stokes uses swirling echoes and a gentle melody to provide a backdrop to her overly honest words. We got the chance to talk to Stokes about her new single and get a peek inside her world.
Ones To Watch: Tell me about yourself and your relationship with music?
Genevieve Stokes: When I was little, I remember having this intense fascination with the piano that I couldn't shake. I started playing when I was 8, and I quickly became obsessed; it felt like falling in love. Playing the piano and songwriting went hand in hand, and I would spend hours coming up with lyrics and memorizing chords. Music has been one of the only constants in my life and has kept me grounded through difficult times. I feel incomplete without it.
What five words describe your sound?
Dynamic, ethereal, soulful, wistful, emotive
You are such a keen songwriter! Who gave you the support to keep writing in the beginning? Who did you play those early songs for?
At the beginning, I was my own main supporter. My family had an old upright piano in our living room that I'd always play. I have a large family so the added noise wasn't always wanted, but eventually my siblings and parents recognized my abilities and were very supportive. Being the third child out of four siblings, it was hard to feel noticed. Songwriting was the first thing that really set me apart from my siblings and made me feel special.
Who were your biggest influences and why?
My musical influences have definitely changed over time, but my first major inspirations were Regina Spektor and Adele. I took note of Regina Spektor's ability to write lyrics that were both emotive and -sometimes- nonsensical. Her first language is Russian, and she uses english words in ways you wouldn't usually expect. Adele was my first vocal inspiration. I used to record myself singing karaoke covers of Adele's songs on Photo Booth. I didn't have vocal coaching, so I trained my voice by rewatching and critiquing these videos.
How do you feel your personality is reflected in your music?
I'm a highly sensitive person, and music has always been my emotional outlet. I think it's a reflection of who I am deep down and what I think about the most.
Your single "Lonely and Bored" is so aptly titled. Did the idea come to you before or during quarantine? What put you in that specific frame of mind to write the song?
I actually wrote and titled "Lonely and Bored" last year, but it applies now more than ever. I was a senior in high school and I felt apathetic toward many of the people and places in my life. I wrote the song on a sunny day in spring, and I remember feeling bittersweet sadness about life changing. I knew my feelings of loneliness and dissatisfaction were fleeting but I wanted to remember them in that moment.
Your EP of the same name comes out this summer. Congratulations! What's the story behind it? And how's it feel to finally be able to share it with everyone?
I'm so excited to release the full project! The EP is a collection of songs I wrote throughout high school. It's about my relationship with myself and the people in my life. Each song is so personal and important to me and I'm ready for it all to be out in the world.
How is quarantine going for you; have you picked up any new hobbies?
I feel privileged saying this, but it's been pretty pleasant for me! I've made a ridiculous amount of pumpkin bread. I don't know why, I'm not even a huge fan of it. I've also been taking really long walks everyday which helps me center myself.
What's next for you?
I'm just focusing on my music and growing a strong fan base. I'm so excited to see what happens in the next year, but I'm trying to appreciate things as they come and feel at peace with wherever I am in the process.
Lastly, who are your Ones to Watch?
Listen to "Lonely and Bored" below: