Hannah Georgas has made quite the name for herself over the past ten years. Charming West Coast audiences and slowly taking over the country, Hannah has become something of a Canadian sensation and she was even up for a Juno this past year. Some have called her the ‘next Feist’, and others have made references to Florence and The Machine. The thing that I like about Hannah Georgas is that at the root of each song are very strong and beautiful lyrics. The great music, and random hip hop beats are a nice bonus. The song writing and that gorgeous voice are what makes Hannah stand out from the crowd.
I had the pleasure of catching up with Hannah as she and her band made their way to Halifax late last week. Hannah was charming, friendly, and just lovely.
Q – How’s the tour going so far?
It’s been great. We are driving to Halifax right now. The driving has been really nice, I love the East coast, and this is the best time of year to see it.
Q – How do you manage music control in the van?
Usually the driver gets to pick the music. I actually just made a road playlist that includes Deerhunter, Camera Obscura, Blur, and Drake. I’m obsessed with the song “hold on” right now.
Q – I love your track, Shortie, and all of the rap terms you squeeze in there. Do you listen to a lot of rap music?
Oh, yes. Big time. I grew up on rap music. Stuff like Q-Tip, Tribe Called Quest, Snoop Dog, Method Man. Out of Canadian rap I really love Shad, and not only because he is my friend. He is incredibly talented, and smart, and I just love what he does.
Q – When did you figure out that you could sing?
I was one of those little kids that sang all the time. I guess I realized I could sing sometime during my time in the school choir. When I was in grade 9 I took singing lessons and from there I joined a vocal jazz class at school. A few friends and I started a band that was eventually picked up to be the house band for the Toronto Rock at the ACC. I didn’t take singing too seriously until I moved to Vancouver for University.
Q – What is the music scene in Vancouver like?
It’s wonderful. It is a relatively small community where everyone knows everyone. People share knowledge, recommendations, and tips. It’s like a microcosm of the Canadian music scene, actually. I came out here for school and decided to try my hand at music full time and Vancouver really embraced me.
Q – How involved are you in the production side of your career? In terms of packaging, design, etc?
I’m intensely involved. I love to collaborate with people who I love and who I respect. For example, my latest album art was done by a dear friend. My last album was produced by my friend Graham Walsh (of Holy Fuck). I like to reach out to people who I think are talented.
Q – What inspires your songwriting?
I tend to write from a personal standpoint so a lot of my songs are inspired by my every day life. Things like going to see live shows, I always get excited by other artists.
Q – Have you ever been called out for personal lyrics by the people who inspired the lyrics?
Something like this actually has happened a few times. “Hey, is that song about me?”. No, it isn’t. Ha!
I don’t know, I don’t listen to music in that way in my personal life. I always listen to songs and relate the lyrics to my own life rather than to try to guess who the song writer is writing about. I try to keep it pretty general with my lyrics but I guess they haven’t been general enough a few times. (laughs).
Q- Where do you stand on the separation of art from artist? Should we judge music, for example, based on the musicians life and actions?
Sometimes it’s hard not to get the personal life confused with the work of art. It’s hard these days because of tabloids and the way that pop music is marketed. Personalities can turn you off, definitely. I’ve definitely been guilty of judging a musician based on something they did, and that’s not right. It’s an interesting thing to think about. We’re all human and making music, making art, we tend to put it all out there. I try not to judge.
Q – Your iTunes sessions release is great. Your cover of Rihanna’s Stay is wonderful and it somehow made me even more sad than the original. Sad in a good way. How did you pick this song?
I’m obsessed with it – that’s how I chose it! I’ve been listening to it a lot. It is so simple and perfect and it evokes a lot of emotion. You’re right it does make you sad, but in a good way.
Q – Do you do any other cover songs?
Yeah, I’ve covered City In Colour, Chad Van Galen, and Fleetwood Mac.
Q – Do you sing karaoke?
I used to do karaoke all the time, but I think I’ve only gone once this year. For some reason I get really nervous doing karaoke. There is a breakfast place that also does karaoke, in Vancouver, that I used to go to a lot. I usually pick an Annie Lennox song, or something from the Cranberries.
Q – What was the first concert you ever attended?
It was actually Janet Jackson! It was during her Velvet rope tour.
Q – Who do you listen to from Hamilton?
I love the Arkells! They are good friends of mine and are a really great band. Actually, Tim from the Arkells was in my high school band. We go way back.