"I'd love to write for The Noisettes."
'60s-inspired singer/songwriter George Pelham is on to a winner with his musical partnership with Dan Smith of The Noisettes - the trio who brought us electro-pop goodness with 2009's 'Don't Upset the Rhythm (Go Baby Go)'.
The pair hit it off in the studio in Brighton after being introduced to one another last year, and the rising star - who turned down offers from both 'The X Factor' and 'The Voice' to enter the shows after he was scouted via YouTube - recently released his exceptional debut single 'What A Time To Be Alive', co-written with Dan, and George says they will no doubt be releasing more of their tunes in the future.
Away from studio, George is gearing up for his headline show at The Finborough Arms on Friday (06.09.19), and he's certainly got plenty of experience under his belt, having previously supported The Rizzle Kicks, completed a residency at legendary jazz club Ronnie Scott's and played a bunch of festivals including Latitude.
We got the chance to speak to George ahead of his London gig to chat about bonding with Dan over their love of soul legend Sam Cooke, whether he'll be writing for The Noisettes if they make a comeback and why you will always see him in a "shiny suit" on stage...
How did you discover your love of 60s music?
Definitely through my parents who introduced it to me when I was younger.
We used to listen to more contemporary music as well - a bit of Britpop here and there, but mostly it was Elvis, The Beach Boys, Motown, that kind of thing.
Though there was a period of time when I was a bit older when I got more into modern stuff, but I kind of rediscovered my parents’ record collection in the last fie years or so I’d say.
Who are your favourite artists of that period?
That’s a very tough question, but Sam Cooke has got to be my all time favourite - he’s just so effortless and full of joy.
I’m actually going through all The Beatles’ albums at the moment though so it’s a close call, but Sam comes out on top for me.
You’ve played at Thorpe Park, where is the strangest place you’ve performed?
I played to a brick wall in Camden once. That was pretty odd.
What was it like supporting Rizzle Kicks. Did they offer you any advice?
It was brilliant - their fanbase is massive and it was so much fun playing to thousands of people.
I only met them briefly so we didn’t quite make it to the advice stage, but they were very nice guys.
Tell us about your debut single What A Time To Be Alive?
The song’s all about falling in love and the pure joy of it all.
I also wanted to write something about enjoying the moment as it’s very easy to spend your life chasing something or wishing you were somewhere else, but sometimes it’s good to realise you’ve got a good thing going!
Watch the video for 'What A Time To Be Alive':
Your mum is from LA and they have such a big songwriting community over there. Do you plan to spend some time there for work?
For sure, I’d love to write some more songs over there.
I spent some time there last year working with Mr Hudson and it was really inspiring.
I think a lot of it is the temperature - you’re just in a better mood because of it.
That being said, I do love living in London and making music here too.
How did you meet Dan Smith of The Noisettes? Is that an on-going songwriting partnership?
Dan and I were introduced last year through our managers and just hit it off.
We have really similar tastes in music I’d say - starting with a shared love for Sam Cooke!
He’s also just a really fun, lovely guy and lives in this great flat in Brighton, and I love going down there for the day.
We’ve written a bunch of songs together now and are really happy with them - I’m sure there’ll be more songs to come from us.
Are The Noisettes working on new music, have you/would you like to write for them?
Dan did say he was back in the studio but didn’t give too much away.
Absolutely, if he asked me, I’d love to write for The Noisettes - I’ve always loved their music. I’ve written for a few other artists before and I really enjoy it.
How are you getting on with your debut album. Can we expect new music soon?
It’s going well! Yes, there’ll be a new single in October and there should be a third one coming out later this year.
I’ve written a bunch of songs over the last few years and am just in the process of going through the best ones and getting the production right.
Are you up for collaborations? Who is on your wish list?
Yeah I’m definitely up for that sort of thing. I’d like to do a duet at some point.
I always loved the duets Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston did together.
I think Kara Marni would be great - her voice is incredible.
I’d also love to make a record with Tom Misch - he’s brilliant.
What can fans expect from your live show?
Fans can expect to get involved - I always love a bit of crowd participation.
They’ll get a lot of energy, a fair bit of stage patter and a shiny (but not too shiny) suit for the occasion.
We can see from your Instagram you have quite the collection of suit jackets!
Suits are just my favourite thing - I currently own 12 of them and the aim is to get to 14 (so two weeks’ worth) before the year is up.
They will absolutely be coming on tour and an iron will be essential, though my suit folding skills will need to be sharpened in advance.
I’d say they were my fashion staple - I remember seeing Curtis Mayfield’s first album's cover when he was sitting in a bright yellow suit and I knew that’s the look I’d been searching for.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I just want to release as much music as I can, keep writing songs, and tour the world. Not too much to ask for, right?
What’s coming up for the rest of the year?
I‘m doing a headline show on September 6th at The Finborough Arms in Earl’s Court, which I’m currently rehearsing with my band.
There’ll also be lots of shows after that, as well as finishing and releasing the next two singles, shooting the music videos, the acoustic videos, artwork, lots more songwriting ... and suit shopping of course.
Tickets for George's show at The Finborough Arms on September 6 are available here.