Popping Up: Hannah Georgas

Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey — Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.

Canadian singer Hannah Georgas wowed critics with her 2010 debut album, This Is Good, which earned her a spot on the long list for the Polaris Music Prize that year and two 2011 Juno Awards nominations. Her music was featured on hit shows like Degrassi: The Next Generation and MTV Canada’s Peak Season, but after two years, Georgas is ready to make waves in America with her self-titled sophomore effort.

“I think I was just really excited to go and record the bunch of songs that I had and didn’t want to think too hard about the other stuff,” she said. “I still have a lot of groundwork to lay and more work to do. So I was more than excited to get in the studio and just continue the journey.” With the help of Holy Fuck keyboardist and sound guy Graham Walsh, the resulting album retains the basic elements of her debut while adding a digital twist. Or, as Hannah describes it, “personal singer-songwriter stuff mixed with kind of an electronic background and production.” Last month, Georgas’ “Somebody” was featured as Single of the Week on iTunes. Get to know the singer below.

FULL NAME: Hannah Georgas

AGE: 29

HOMETOWN: Newmarket, Ontario

SOUNDS LIKE: Feist-meets-Florence vocals mix with electronic melodies (care of Walsh) to propel lyrics that are reminiscent of fellow Canadian folk artist Kathleen Edwards.

INFLUENCES: “It’s a wide, wide range. Growing up, I listened to ’90s dance music and Janet Jackson and Lauryn Hill, Annie Lennox and stuff like The Prodigy,” Georgas said. “I have three sisters, and they’re really into dance pop music, which was a big influence. And then I got into a bunch of singer-songwriters who were doing their thing and making their music – writing things that were really emotional that I could latch on to. Right now and for a long time, The National is a band I really love.”

A DIFFERENT APPROACH: Working with Walsh in Toronto changed the way Georgas recorded this album. “These 10 songs were written in a shorter span of time,” she said. “The last record I made was done with the songs I had written over the course of four years. I started writing my record last January and made a promise to myself to write every single day – whether nothing comes out of it or it’s practicing every day to get the ball moving. So I wrote from January to August and made the record with Graham and moved to Toronto to work with him.”

PLAYING SINCE PRESCHOOL: Georgas has been playing the piano since she was five. She later moved on to songwriting and admits to writing lyrics a year later. “As soon as I started figuring stuff out on the piano, it became a gateway for me to start writing,” she explained. “I remember writing lyrics when I was six. Then I went as far as I could with the piano, and then joined bands in high school. I ended up moving away from Ontario when I turned 20. Three years in, I knew I wanted to focus on my own thing and give my project a try. Then I moved to Vancouver and have been living there ever since and keep pushing to make my music, keep writing and working with the right people.”

GO, CANADA: “Once I started to embrace the music scene and put my whole heart into it, I felt like everybody, especially my crew, was really supportive. That opened my eyes up and made me think, ‘Wow, there’s really a great Canadian music scene here.’ I started making friends with people who were making great records, like the drummer and guitarist of Wintersleep played all over my record. And I think they are doing great things. Ryan Guldemond of Mother Mother produced my last record, and [that band] is doing great things. And Graham Walsh and his band destroy. So it’s pretty wonderful to have all these bands who are coming out of Canada and are kicking ass.”

CURRENTLY PLAYING: After recently watching Lost In Translation (one of her favorites), she has Roxy Music‘s “More Than This,” which plays during the film, on repeat. She also loves We Become The Pitiless Censors of Ourselves by electronic artist John Maus – a record Walsh introduced her to during their recording sessions.

WHAT’S NEXT: Hannah is currently on tour in the US and will head back to her home country for a line of shows before opening for Mother Mother. “That’s my job for the rest of the year – to get the music out there and play the music live.”

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