Genevieve Stokes. Photo by Abbie Pitre

Maine singer, songwriter and pianist Genevieve Stokes is releasing her second major label recording Friday, five days before her 22nd birthday.

“Catching Rabbits” (Atlantic Records) is a six-song EP that’s a follow-up to 2021’s “Swimming Lessons.”

This time around, an esteemed producer was brought in along with a band of pro musicians, and the album was made at a historic California studio.

The “Catching Rabbits” songs are luminous, lush, hypnotic and engrossing. Stokes crystalline voice is front and center, and on songs like “Can I” and “You and Me,” there’s an entire universe of sounds swirling around the vocals.

“Swimming Lessons” certainly made its mark, especially with “Surface Tension” and “Parking Lot,” and Stokes has spread her wings all the more with this next batch of material.

“I wanted to experiment more with the production, but I also wanted to strip it back in some of the songs and just have piano and vocals,” Stokes said last week from her parents’ house in Falmouth. “I think I really wanted to experiment and have each song feel like a different kind of landscape or a different part of that universe.”


Atlantic Records brought in producer Tony Berg to work with Stokes on “Catching Rabbits,” and she spent a week at his home in Los Angeles practicing the songs before they headed into the studio to lay down the tracks.

But it wasn’t just any studio. “Chasing Rabbits” was recorded at Sound City Studios. This is where albums by bands like Elton John, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Fleetwood Mac, Nirvana, Bob Dylan and several other big names were made.

It took Stokes a bit to wrap her head around that, and she had to shake off an intense feeling of intimidation. “I went through a phase of feeling out of place and stressed out.” Stokes came around and came to love what she described as an “alternative universe.” “It’s nothing I’ve ever experienced before, but then once we actually got into the process, and I just allowed myself to let go of any expectations or ideas of what I should be doing, it was really nice.”

Stokes credits Berg with teaching her so much. “Having that guidance and Tony’s faith in my project is huge.”

Stokes, however, is human and did have moments of feeling starstruck knowing that Berg was on the phone with Phoebe Bridgers and is close friends with Fiona Apple, one of her biggest inspirations.

If Tony Berg isn’t a name you recognize, you’re very likely familiar with the guitarist and producer’s massive body of work, which includes playing on some “Muppet Show” albums and Peter Gabriel’s “Up” and working with artists like Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift.


Berg knows a lot of ace musicians, including drummer Matt Chamberlain, who plays on every “Catching Rabbits” track. Chamberlain has played with Tori Amos, David Bowie, Natalie Merchant and Brandi Carlile, to name just a few.

Describing Stokes as a musician, Berg wrote in an email that she “wears a broken heart on her sleeve … and then repairs it in song. Her vulnerability is palpable … but she’s no wimp. Gen has a clear idea of who she is and what she’s after. Like any great artist.”

The confidence Atlantic and Berg have in Stokes is being validated by the interest she’s garnering from listeners. The “Catching Rabbits” singles “17,” “Can I” and “Habits” have already racked up more than 51 million streams, and preview snippets of “Habits” on TikTok have been viewed more than 50 million times. Last week, Stokes was closing in on 2 million monthly listeners on Spotify.

Stokes doesn’t let herself worry too much about these numbers because she knows there’s no guarantee they’ll be sustained, and her focus is elsewhere.

“I want to be more grateful toward the people that really care and are there to really be a part of it,” she said. Which is not to say Stokes doesn’t understand why these stats matter. “It’s a tough balance ’cause you also want to be so grateful for that because that really helps boost your career.”

When “Habits” went viral on TikTok, it was an unexpected yet positive jolt. “We weren’t even planning on releasing it as a single, but we had to switch up the whole release schedule because of the demand for it.”


Over the past couple of years, Stokes has opened shows for Noah Kahan, Briston Maroney and, most recently, Charlie Berg. But she’s never had a headlining tour of her own.

That’s about to change, as a tour starts next months and includes a May 14 show at Portland House of Music. Stokes said she can’t really picture it.

“It’s bringing up that stressful imposter syndrome feeling, but in a good way. I think it’s the next step that I should be taking,” she said. Stokes also has the right attitude. “I just know that no matter how it goes, it’ll be good for me to experience that.”

As an opener, she’d sometimes see people in the audience singing along with her songs. “That was such an incredible feeling, so I can’t imagine what it feels like to have a roomful of people that actually know who you are.”

Stokes said that at a young age, whenever she’d see someone playing music, a feeling of deep envy would creep in. There was just one way to remedy that.

“As soon as I started playing piano and singing, it felt like something lit up inside of me in a way that felt so new, and finally I had a way to express what I’d been wanting to express,” she said.

The Falmouth native moved to New Orleans a few months ago to live with her two older siblings, but keep an eye on her website for updates.

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