JAY MOUSSA-MANN TALKS TO THE SOULFUL LO-FI SONGWRITER ABOUT HER DEBUT ALBUM RELEASE
Georgia May is a lo-fi soulful vocalist born and raised in Newcastle, with Nigerian roots. Her sound is defined by soothing timbres, exposing contrasting emotions of lust and heartache with a poetic lyrical narrative.
Her debut album arrives this month; Mood Daze includes tracks which nod towards R&B, trip-hop and Afrobeat influences. Collaborating with international beatmakers, the album was designed to take you through an emotive journey of soul searching, resolving in serene sisterhood. A gorgeous, heartfelt album showcasing a variety of beats, styles and musical tones, the release demonstrates Georgia’s breadth of talent.
To create the album Georgia worked with a number of talented producers. “The process was fairly straightforward, I usually received the beats from producers first then would write the lyrics for one or two of the tracks. I would have a lyrical idea and melody then the producer would work around that or I myself (as on Hesitation) would produce a beat to go underneath.”
While creating the album Georgia discovered a number of talented beatmakers, both from the region and internationally. “Soledad Brother, who produced Soul Sister and Deadline’s instrumentals, is based in Macon, Georgia in the U.S. I’ve found Soundcloud really useful as a platform for connecting with producers.”
Georgia’s collaborations took her as far afield as Germany where she found Aeson who created the instrumental for Euphoria, as well as local producers like Holy Smokes (Know Better and Fire) Thomas Dixon (Guessin) and $.O.N.N.Y (Mood Daze).
Throughout the album the instrumentals span genres from Afrobeat and hip-hop to R&B and trap. Underneath Georgia’s stunning vocals lies palpable emotion; on each track the listener can sense an underlying thread of stories about friendships and people. “Often my tracks start out as drafted letters or poems. Soul Sister was written about my best friend, just to show her how much she means to me.” Georgia is inspired by musicians such as Erykah Badu, India Arie, Ray BLK and Mahalia, and her album is reminiscent of the power and weight of releases like Lauryn Hill’s critically acclaimed debut.
OFTEN MY TRACKS START OUT AS DRAFTED LETTERS OR POEMS. SOUL SISTER WAS WRITTEN ABOUT MY BEST FRIEND, JUST TO SHOW HER HOW MUCH SHE MEANS TO ME
It’s clear that talking about her heritage is important in her music, and Georgia is actively engaged in curating gigs which celebrate African artists in her work with Newfro Music in Newcastle. “Newfro Music is about celebrating artists of African heritage in the North East. I think Soul Sister is the main track that highlights our heritage; when I talk about my best friend and her ‘contrast roots’, ‘bonny brown eyes’ and ‘locks of variation’ which are just hints of her African beauty.”
Reflecting on the name of the album, Georgia explains that the subject matter revolves around the idea of not always feeling okay; Mood Daze can reflect good days and bad days alike. “It’s definitely one of my more experimental tracks to date,” says Georgia. “I sing about Oya the Orisha breaking waves, Oya is a Nigerian Yoruba goddess of winds, lightning and violent storms, death and rebirth! I’m half Nigerian and Oya is the name my mum gave me to represent my heritage even though my Nigerian dad wasn’t around to raise me. I think overall [the song] is about life being sweet and feeling alive.”
Georgia wants to see her album and future projects engage with a greater audience, specifically in Africa. “I want to be able to tour in Nigeria and for my people to hear and play my music and enjoy it! I want to gig again!” Lockdown has been an unusual time for many musicians. Like so many, Georgia has appreciated the time to work on her album, but she misses performing. “I have dreams of performing at Shambala Festival and Afro Punk and I would love to be featured on Colors YouTube channel and NPR’s TIny Desk.” After such a huge project, far from taking a break, Georgia is ready to start on her next album and new projects. “In the near future I plan to collaborate more with other vocalists to create some interesting content and work on group harmonies.”
Georgia May releases Mood Daze on 3rd July www.georgiamay.uk