My foray into pop started with the Spice Girls in 1994. Since then, it hasn't progressed that much simply because, while I liked the Spice Girls (A LOT), I don't really like pop. In other words, they were an exception, and even though I hear pop on the radio from time to time, it's a genre that I, for the most part, tend to avoid.
Enter Genevieve (born Genevieve Schatz), one of the newest pop singers to emerge from Los Angeles. Schatz, who was formerly the frontwoman for the Chicago band Company of Thieves, moved to Los Angeles in 2014 after Company disbanded. “We had just been making music together since we were teenagers and everybody was growing up and growing apart in their unique ways and we wanted to honor that,” she says of the split. “Everybody wanted to make new music and it was just time to move on.”
[jump] Schatz, however, started inching her way towards her solo pop career two years before the band called it quits. While on a break from sound check for a show in 2012, Schatz found herself sitting outside, writing a song about her mother, whom she had just visited while the band was in St. Louis, but was already missing her.
“I remember feeling really inspired, but sort of noticing that the song wouldn't necessarily be appropriate for my band,” she says. “And I started wanting to find an outlet for that kind of stuff: things that I have been through that are so personal to me, that I know other people can relate to, but that might not make sense for a band.”
In June of 2013, she took a “writing trip” and booked a room in Los Angeles, her first time visiting the City of Angels alone. She began working on a song about her younger sister, as a way of consoling herself and the emotions of fear and shyness that she was experiencing at the time. That song, “For You,” ended up being the first single she wrote for her 2015 EP Show Your Colors (her first project as a solo artist).
The bulk of the songs on Show Your Colors are upbeat, jangly pop ballads that revolve themes of women, oppression, empowerment, and other personal issues that Schatz struggles with.
“My whole life, I've always had a lot of songs in my heart about overcoming the struggle of being told that you're not good enough or you don't have what it takes or that you have to be held back due to some completely bullshit reason,” says Schatz, who added that her throat tends to close up if she sings lyrics that aren't personal. “I've experienced a lot of oppression in my life, and everything about singing to me is sort of breaking free of that.”
Schatz plans to release a follow-up EP on her birthday, April 1, and is currently working on her debut album.
Genevieve plays with A Great Big World at 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 22, at Great American Music Hall. $25; more info here.