Breaking Through | 6 Questions with Hannah Georgas
FFO: Feist, Regina Spektor, Basia Bulat.
Already renowned in Canada, her home country, Hannah Georgas has steadily cultivated a reputation for a poppy yet affecting craft over the course of her previous three albums, resulting in accolades such as JUNO Awards' 'Songwriter Of The Year' on numerous occasions. Now she's leaving the proverbial roost, and is going global. With her latest full-length All That Emotion, Georgas has given herself a sturdy platform to become one of 2020's breakthrough successes within the intercontinental indie consciousness.
There's not an obvious swathe of indie musicians that share a common thread with megastar Taylor Swift, though Georgas can count herself as one of the aforementioned given that The National's Aaron Dessner produced both Swift and Georgas' latest albums this year.
With Dessner guiding proceedings, Georgas has painted a temporal, personal space, with textural vistas akin to Adam Graduciel's (The War On Drugs) emotive guitar tone combined with the earnest vocal timbre of Feist. Inspiration came from struggle, delving into familial conflicts, heartbreak, and the acceptance of change, in what is soundly her most direct and Earth-shattering composition to date.
Now that All That Emotion is out in the world, we spoke to Georgas about the album's formation:
- You’re on your fourth album now, but who or what initially inspired you to write/make music?
My dad was always playing the piano and singing at home when I was growing up. I saw how happy my dad was when he performed and I think that energy rubbed off on me, somehow. My mom put me into classical piano training around the age of five. As soon as I started to figure out my way around the piano I started writing songs.
- Your new album expresses both the toil and warmth of familial love, so can you describe your creative process throughout writing/producing All That Emotion?
I know what I was writing about had a lot to do with what was going on with me in 2017. I was writing on a regular basis around that time up until the middle of 2018 when I met up with Aaron at his studio. I was going through some big changes in my work and personal life. I was reflecting upon my past relationships and unpacking why I do the things I do and feel the way I feel. A lot of the songs were about the idea of giving yourself time to digest major changes and wrapping your head around the obstacles that feel challenging. Understanding that later down the road the challenging moments that felt tough will help you grow and learn more about yourself.
- How did Aaron Dessner initially become involved in the album?
I reached out to Aaron back in 2015 because I love his work and wanted to inquire if he would ever entertain working on music together. We started a dialogue over email and I started sending him demos. Our back and forth over email continued up until 2018 when we found time to get together at his studio in Upstate New York to work on songs.
- Are there any tracks from the album that have any particularly significant meaning?
'Pray it Away' is a song that feels like it carries significant meaning. It’s about questioning why it’s so difficult to accept each other’s differences and accepting that sometimes the people we want approval from the most are not going to give you that.
- Having worked with Dessner on All That Emotion, are there any other artists you’d potentially like to collaborate with?
I would love to work with Imogen Heap on something. I think she’s so innovative and authentic, and it would be so cool to get the opportunity to sit down with her. It would also be pretty amazing to work with Jack Antonoff. He’s worked on some really great records.
- What's the best advice you've been given?
Don’t sweat the small stuff….. I don’t really know who particularly gave me that piece of advice but it’s become something that I tell myself quite often. If I get worked up about something or fixated on something that stresses me out I tell myself that and it calms me down. I also tell myself that before almost every show. I tend to get really nervous before shows and if I think to myself that it’s not a big deal it helps me calm down.