Hannah Georgas Explores Loss and Change on All That Emotion

Photo Credit: Vanessa Heins

It’s impossible not to be enveloped by the intimate, searing voice and songwriting of Hannah Georgas. Georgas has been taking listeners on an emotional, and sometimes existential, journey since her debut EP, The Beat Stuff, in 2009. Steadily moving from small regional stages throughout Canada to stadium openings for Sara Bareilles, The National, City and Colour, Rhye, and more, the Juno and Polaris Music Prize nominee released the heart-rending For Evelyn in 2016. Inspired by her grandmother, For Evelyn took Georgas’ expressive lyricism and unflinching quality even deeper on tracks “Ride Back,” “Walls” and “Lost Cause.” In 2019 she switched it up with the release of digital EP, Imprints, featuring the sexy remake of Janet Jackson’s “That’s the Way Love Goes” with Emily King. Now, Georgas returns with All That Emotion, a  stripped, stark and luminescent album written between the spaces of loss and change.

“I realized that a lot of the songs were a result of the things that were going on in my personal and work life at that time,” explains Georgas a few days before its release. “I had finished my album cycle for For Evelyn and was settling into my new place in Toronto after having moved from my home in Vancouver of 13 years or so. That change was sinking in a little bit. I was going through a breakup at that time as well and I was trying to sort out some new pieces with my team in music. All of these changes were being expressed in what I was writing and reflecting upon. I wanted to explore the idea of change and how when it is happening it can feel uncomfortable and challenging. It’s hard sometimes to see the good in it but more often than not it ends up showing you something really beautiful in a way you never thought.”

The making of All That Emotion was like nothing she had done before. Recording tracks “in concentrated periods of time with breaks in between,” A.T.E was the first album Georgas recorded outside of Canada, in upstate New York. The long drives from Toronto to NY allowed her dedicated time to just focus solely and freely on one moving song after another, and helped create tracks like “Pray It Away” and “Same Mistakes,” both of which grapple with despair, heartache and brewing resentments. Georgas describes the time as both therapeutic and refreshing. “[Song writing] always felt like a clear way to express how I’m feeling,” she says. “A lot of the time when I sit down to write I’m wanting to express something that I’m trying to work through. I think as I get older, I’m learning that I really want to get better at accepting who I am and that I make mistakes.”

But love at its best also appears on the album in the relatable and lovely, “Dreams;” for Georgas, love songs become territory that sometimes feels more vulnerable than the brutally raw tracks she does so strikingly. “I think it’s harder to write about love sometimes,” she confesses. “When you’re in a relationship it really makes you take a hard look at yourself sometimes – the things we do to protect ourselves from getting hurt and things we are insecure about. ‘Dreams’ explores the idea of breaking down those barriers and being more open. It’s about finding happiness within yourself and realizing that we’re deserving of love. It’s about learning how to not push the great things away.”

Completed before the pandemic hit, Georgas could never have anticipated she would release it during a global time of isolation, loss, and change – yet the album feels incredibly well-timed. And she’s finding that she also needs this music more than ever. “I got together with my band for a rehearsal just the other day. The last time we had played together was in February of this year,” she says. “It felt so refreshing to play together again. It feels surreal not to be heading out to tour the album. I almost shed a tear in rehearsal because it reminded me how much I really do love playing music.” She hopes the album brings listeners the same comfort, during this strange and surreal time, that she felt while making it. “I know for me, some days have been easier than others, and music really helps me get through stuff,” she says. “I hope [All That Emotion] inspires people and gives them hope.”

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