Since the 2012 release of her self-titled album, Hannah Georgas has been one of our favourite indie artists. Her ability to sculpt enveloping atmospheres of sound that lift you into narrated musical dream worlds has grown only more powerful on her latest album. For Evelyn is a deeply personal and introspective album resulting in a mature and cohesive collection of songs. As Georgas reflects on the fear of losing her mother, the pain of her father’s death, her struggle to believe in herself, and her admiration for her grandmother (for whom the album is named after), her soft upper register delivers the lyrics of loss, self-doubt, fear and precious moments of joy with undoubted sincerity. Produced by Graham Walsh (Holy Fuck) and mixed by Nicolas Vernhes (The War on Drugs), For Evelyn is a foggy haze of a soundscape thick with warm horns, fuzzy synths and Georgas’s tender, distant vocals. Powered by Georgas’s emotionally charged vocals, her fearlessly honest lyrics and the beautiful craftsmanship of the album, For Evelyn was named one of SBTS‘s 10 Best Indie Albums of 2016.
Hannah Georgas recently shared with Stories Behind The Songs the story behind the creation of For Evelyn:
“In the fall of 2014 I started working on this album. At the time I was living in my apartment in Vancouver and had just finished my last album cycle. I made an effort to write as much as I possibly could for 6 months. I wrote a lot of songs during that span of time but 20 or so made the cut. In the spring of 2015 I moved to Toronto and began the recording process with my producer Graham Walsh. We worked on and off on the album up until the end of 2015. I went through a lot of transition during that whole process. I had been living on the West Coast for 12 years and decided it was time to head back east. I think this album reflects a lot of change and introspection that was going on in my life at the time.”
Now Hannah Georgas dives further into the album and shares the stories behind each song on For Evelyn with Stories Behind The Songs. Here is an inside look Behind The Album, Track by Track:
I had been working all day on an idea and I was feeling like it was kind of going nowhere. I took a little break from that path and started messing around with a saxophone preset on my keyboard. The lyrics just spewed out of me while I was playing this sax riff. The song was finished in under an hour I think. It’s always amazing when a moment like that happens in songwriting. It feels like it’s a little gift that has been given to you from an outside source.
I recently moved to Toronto from Vancouver. Over time I began to feel the distance of being away from my Mom. She was a major reason why I decided to move back to Ontario. My dad passed away 5 years ago and I had been thinking a lot about how I’d feel if I lost my mother. It’s such an overwhelming feeling to imagine. I wrote this song that was inspired by that feeling.
I named this track after my Grandma because I feel like she is someone that has been through so much in her life. She has surpassed a lot of challenges and shortcomings in her lifetime. She has lived almost 100 years now and has experienced so much change. I feel like if you are ever fortunate enough to reach that point in your life, fear and uncertainty would no longer be an issue. This song is about my personal struggle with fear, depression and anxiety. It’s about trying to recognize the fears we have and face them with love and peace.
In my life I have encountered a lot of people who have told me I’m not good enough. I’ve had people tell me to not attempt a career in music because it is too difficult and it’s something I should rethink. Over time, I’ve realized that I’m always going to come across people who aren’t going to understand me or support what I do. I had a difficult time with that feeling growing up. I always knew that I wanted to make music since I was little kid. I was so passionate about it at a very young age. I waffled a lot though because I had a hard time trusting myself. It definitely took me a while to have the confidence to believe in myself and to do what makes me happy. As soon I began to follow what my gut was telling me, my path revealed itself right away.
This is a song inspired by my dad. He suffered from Type 2 diabetes for many years. It slowly deteriorated his health and it was a really hard thing for me to watch growing up. I built up an immunity towards his situation and prepared myself for the worst. I was always worried that every time I came to visit him it could be my last. I went through a lot over that period of time and I was really angry. I think about it now and I feel so awful about what he had to go through. I was young and had a really tough time communicating with him my pain towards everything. This song is a reflection of all of those feelings and preparing myself for his passing.
This song is about knowing in your heart that a relationship isn’t working but having a hard time accepting the fact that it should end. It’s actually the worst feeling in the world breaking up with someone that you love. I think it’s almost worse than death. When everything is so fresh and the wound is deep, your mind just goes down terrible paths. Or at least mine does that. You think about that person moving on without you. You think about the good times and forget all of the awful things that happened. It’s hard to see things clearly when a break-up is so fresh. I had a really hard time with this specific break-up. I wanted to write about a relationship that meant a lot to me and what it felt like going through the aftermath of trying to move on.
I have been having these moments in my life where I’m overwhelmed with happiness. I have been trying to be more conscious of those moments that come my way. Whether it’s going for a run, having a great conversation with a friend, laughing my ass off about something, having a good cry… It’s those moments that make life really beautiful and I wanted to write about that feeling.
I have a dear friend that whenever we hang out we inspire each other to have fun and get a little crazy. I was messing around with a synth line on my OP1 and lyrics just started pouring out. I used her as an inspiration when I was writing this song.
I find it so fascinating that I can feel so on top of my game one day and then all of a sudden feel worthless the next. I feel like we’re all emotional and sensitive creatures. Life is never going to be perfect and we’re always going to have good and bad days. I wrote this song when I was really feeling emotional and sad. I wrote it all on piano and loved the demo version I made. I had a hard time with this track when it came to producing it. I wanted it to be like the demo and flipped it upside down a lot during the recording process. That happened a few times to me during the process of creating this album.
“Angel All The Time”
Well into the recording process I went back and started revisiting old demos I had on my computer. I found an idea that I had forgot about and thought it would be good to finish it. I produced it on my laptop at the place I was living in Toronto at the time. I showed Graham one day what I had been working on and he got really excited about it. We spent one evening rerecording it live off the floor and ended up including it on the album.
Check out For Evelyn in the SBTS list of The 10 Best Indie Albums of 2016
Hannah Georgas has been featured in the Stories Behind The Songs Playlist Series. Listen to Hannah Georgas on SBTS Standouts – The June Collection, SBTS Standouts – The November Collection and Sandbanks Music Festival | SBTS DJ Set.
Follow Hannah Georgas:
Twitter: @hannahmusic Instagram: @hannahgeorgas