Hannah Georgas will warm your heart

Singer songwriter Hannah Georgas is not interested in the everyday. She knows this because she tried it out, not because she decided to rebel. In the three years since Georgas moved to Vancouver from the island, where she was studying at the University of Victoria, her career has taken off. But she's earned every moment: Georgas has that charm about her that makes you want to root for her, and the songwriting prowess and unique voice to back it up. For instance, this interview occurred only half an hour before her set was to take place at Vancouver's Rio Theatre. As she walked from backstage, she smiled at me and introduced herself, before joining me cross-legged onstage, across from one another, like an intimate powwow between friends. It's the small details that make Hannah Georgas endearing.

"I love doing this so much, and it's what I want to do," she says. "I did feel pressure to go to school to try that out. It's not that my family didn't want me to do that, or they didn't feel like it was a logical solution. I did all those things: went to school, worked three part time jobs after high school. I was not happy. I feel like I'm young right now and I really love making music, so I've put my heart and soul into it."
Georgas was raised in Newmarket, Ontario, beginning piano lessons at the young age of six. Her earliest influences came close to home. "My dad was an amazing blues piano, rock and roll piano player. He just inspired me," she explains. "He was always rocking out and playing at our house. I have three sisters, all really into music." 

Exposure has come in several avenues for Georgas. CBC Radio 2 seems to have adopted her into their regular rotation. At the other end of the spectrum, Georgas lent her voice to a Wal-Mart jingle last year, which opened a few doors. She elaborates, "I went and played a gig in New York, and it was a very sparsely attended show. But I had a fellow after the show come up and ask me if I was interested in being a part of a back-to-school for Wal-Mart commercial. I got the skeleton of what the commercial was about, and I asked if my producer Ryan was interested in writing with me. He agreed, and we wrote the song together. It became part of this commercial that aired for eight weeks. Then it was posted on Youtube and people reacted, and asked 'Who is singing this song?' It kind of pushed Ryan and I to write a full song for it, and it became its own beast."

The reaction to the commercial is not surprising to those who have heard Georgas's voice. Like some of her influences such as Annie Lennox, Sarah Harmer or Bjork, she clearly puts a lot of herself into her vocal performance, but the actual sound coming out is unique and distinct in ways that separate those artists from others in their genre. A Hannah Georgas song is just that: its own sound, often a mix of upper register fast tempo lyrics, contrasting with emotionally gutteral vocal bursts, all the while laced with personalized lyrics verging both on quirky and melancholy, while somehow fitting into a catchy beat.

Recently, Georgas and her debut album This Is Good were long-listed for the 2010 Polaris Prize, which nominates albums based solely on artistic merit. "It's encouraging and flattering to have that kind of acknowledgment, that's huge. It's based on the quality of the music and the record solely, separate from how many are sold and anything like that.  Having people in the industry talking about it, it's cool."

Georgas, in the span of the interview, keeps returning to the word “music” and does not stray from that focus at all. When I mention the idea of image in terms of marketing, she proves this point: "I'm trying to put out good music, all the image and art that comes around it, is not high priority on my mind of what I'm trying to put out physically. I just have fun with that other stuff." She then goes on to say, "There are people's art that I really love and inspires me. If I can incorporate that, that's cool. Like fashion, it's something I have fun with, but is not priority. I want to focus on my music and let that be the image."
Her no frills attitude pays off. In terms of her album's themes, she says, "I don't think there was a concept behind the record. Just, I have these songs I really want to get out into the world. I want to record them, and they feel like they all flow well together. And it just became what it was, it wasn't this huge theme or underlying message that summed up everything about the record."

Georgas is a real musician, and although modest, she's still confident. "I take pride in writing my own material and that's pretty much what I've been doing since I was really little. Music is a way to communicate what's going on with me and how I feel about things, and it's just always been that way, I'm on that path of wanting to continue until I can't do it anymore. That's the most important thing."

//JJ Brewis
Art Director

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