In 2018 singer-songwriter Hannah Georgas thought about releasing a special covers EP of female artists to celebrate International Women’s Day. While those plans got delayed she’s making good on her goal in 2019 with a four-song EP entitled Imprints.
“I thought it would be nice to cover songs that have a lot of meaning to me, that I’d listen to a lot over the years,” she says. “A theme started to come up with female artists that have made a huge impact on me. I wanted to cover the female artists that I loved. Once that idea came about it was pretty obvious the songs that I wanted to do.”
The effort is a highly interesting and lovely affair featuring songs made famous by The Cranberries, Janet Jackson and Tegan and Sara among others. Georgas, who will celebrate the release with a show at Toronto’s Lula Lounge on March 8, says it was relatively easy in deciding what songs to tackle.
“All of the artists came about at different times in my life, some at an earlier age and in my teens,” she says. “So it was just different time periods with these artists and they all had an effect on me in a different way.
“I think when you’ve listened to a song so many times when I fall in love with a song, it becomes my own in a way. With these four songs it didn’t seem too difficult but maybe songs I’ve done in the past it’s been a little bit more difficult to reinvent or figure out how to make it your own.”
Imprints opens up with a rendition of The Cranberries “No Need To Argue” featuring Lucius vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig making guest appearances. It was a choice both Georgas and producer (and Lucius member) Dan Molad quickly agreed on.
“We were talking on the phone and I just said, ‘I love The Cranberries so much!’” she says. “We basically said at the same time our favourite song of all time that they have was ‘No Need To Argue’ and we just bonded over that.”
Georgas says the cover meant a lot to her given the death of Delores O’Riordan last year as well as seeing the band perform at Toronto’s Massey Hall almost two decades ago.
“One of my childhood best friends and I got together to go see that concert because we were obsessed with The Cranberries in my elementary school years,” she says. It was a pretty meaningful and impactful show. It was pretty awesome.
“I really wanted to make a point of asking friends of mine to guest on the songs. These artists are artists that I’ve either toured with or made a connection with or who have come across my path in music.”
Perhaps the best of the bunch is a brilliant, sparse cover of “Back In Your Head” by Tegan and Sara. The singer says it took some time to find a way into the song but the result, with some help from The Weather Station’s Tam Lindeman, was quite worthwhile.
“I had a different version of it that was upbeat and definitely took a different approach the first time I tried it. I redid it in Toronto at a place called the Woodshed which is a really nice studio. They have a gorgeous piano there and I played it through really simply on the piano.”
Besides the EP and concert, Georgas spent part of 2018 working on a new studio album with The National’s guitarist Aaron Dessner as producer. The as-yet-untitled album should be released later this year.
“It’s definitely a progression of even as far as songwriting and where I’m at,” she says. “It’s a nice progression and a compliment. You’re not going to listen to it and go, ‘Oh my gosh this is so different!’ I feel like there’s a lot of depth to it and sophistication that I really like. To work with him (Dessner) was a really special thing for me. I just love the music he’s worked on and I love The National. So it was really very inspiring to make the record with him.”
Finally, Georgas is happy to be celebrating International Women’s Day with a show and some positive energy. “I think this is a nice thing to plan to just inspire community and lift each other up,” she says. “I’m basically bringing friends of mine together to come and perform a cover of a self-identifying woman or a female artist or a non-binary artist who has made an impact on them. Just basically to support the community.”