Vancouver artist Hannah Georgas looks headed for fame. With her first full-length album, This is Good, released only this spring, she's already had radio airplay across the country, her music featured on TV shows and in a Walmart commercial, and cover stories in Exclaim and the Globe and Mail's arts section. Yet Georgas seems to be taking it in her stride, remaining down-to-earth and happy simply to have the opportunity to be playing music.
Catching up with her at her mom's house in Newmarket, ON, she's looking back at her musical roots by going through her parents' record collection. "Whenever I come home, she's like, 'Come, look at this stuff, I need to get rid of this,'" Georgas says, pulling out names of some of her childhood favourites---Michael Jackson, the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, blues and boogie-woogie records that belong to her father.
While recording This is Good last year, Georgas had to cope with her father's death, but managed to channel her emotions into the record. "My dad was not doing well for a really long time and I felt like every time I'd go back to visit this could be the last, so I'd been trying to be strong about the whole situation for years. I was lucky I was actually making my record at that time and that I had the people I was around to give support."
Georgas is in Ontario for CBC's Song Quest contest, where representatives from each province write a song around a selected theme. This year's was "road songs" and BC listeners chose the Freedom Highway, a highway covering a treacherous stretch of land between Bella Coola and Anahim Lake.
"There's a really cool story behind the road," says Georgas. "I tried to incorporate that story and relate it to a personal experience," she says, relaying the story of how local citizens began building the road themselves when the government refused to fund it.
"I tend to write from a really personal place," she says, "even if something's not about me I'll take it personally and write about it, and make it affect me."