"The life I live is the only one I've got, so what's the point if I can't live it up?" asks Hannah Georgas on the luminous "Naked Beaches" from her new record For Evelyn. It's a reminder to herself and listeners to seize the day and stop worrying about what can't be controlled, but it also epitomizes the clarity and confidence she demonstrates on her third LP.
Produced by Holy Fuck's Graham Walsh — who also produced Georgas' self-titled 2012 record — and featuring collaborations with Andy Shauf, Ryan Guldemond (Mother Mother) and Joseph Shabason (Destroyer, the War on Drugs), For Evelyn is a vivid pop record that mixes richly moody and playfully energetic songs. Recorded last summer with Walsh in Toronto and mixed in Brooklyn by Nicolas Vernhes (the War on Drugs, Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors), the end product glides between animated horns, piano ballads and danceable beats, with Georgas always in control of her rich sound.
"I feel like I'm constantly growing," she notes. "Even in this whole recording process, and as I continue to write and make music, I feel like I'm more mature and getting better and honing my craft."
Since she released her 2008 debut EP The Beat Stuff, Georgas hasn't stopped growing: the folky sounds of the EP got louder and more pop-driven on her 2010 album This Is Good, and two years later, Hannah Georgas glistened with electronics as she entered an expansive synth-pop world that she continues to explore in her latest recording.
Proof of Georgas' maturation also lies in the thoughtful lyrics of For Evelyn. Throughout, Georgas looks inward, and we hear her struggling with her anxieties and fears — with a staunch determination to conquer them — while recognizing the important role her family plays in her life. After living in Vancouver for over ten years, and moving around during the making of For Evelyn, Georgas recently landed in Toronto and feels settled, remarking, "at this point it's like, 'Wow, I have a home again.' That feels good." She's also much closer to her large extended family who continue to impact her music.
For Evelyn is named after Georgas' 98-year-old grandmother, a woman she describes as an "inspiring and selfless lady," and on the lead single "Don't Go," we hear Georgas contending with the realization that her mom won't be around forever. And this isn't the first time that Georgas has been inspired by her family — another song, "Ode to Mom," appeared on Hannah Georgas.
"No matter how hard you try, you are influenced by the way you are raised, and I'm fascinated by that. I can't help but be influenced by my family," she explains.
"I didn't initially go into making the recording thinking I was going to name it after [my grandmother]. It came to me at the end of the summer last year, and I thought it would be an interesting thing to acknowledge her. I was also thinking about how insane it is to live almost 100 years on this planet and experience all the changes that go on in our world and how I've seen her in my life and the influence she's had on me."