Music helped former UVic student Hannah Georgas make sense of it all

Music helped former UVic student Hannah Georgas make sense of it all

Juno nominated singer Hannah Georgas performing at Rifflandia on Sept. 16

Hannah Georgas was a student at the University of Victoria when she began having strange feelings about her life.

“I started having a lot of anxiety attacks in school,” Georgas said. “I think that is where I was like, ‘OK this feels like I am really on the wrong path.’ I just didn’t feel right. I felt really confused and all over the place.”

Georgas, who was in her third year at UVic and had moved to the Island from her hometown of Newmarket, Ont., decided to leave school altogether and pursue a career in music full-time.

“Music was the thing I really loved to do and wanted to take seriously,” she said. “It was on the West Coast that I really figured that out.”

Since then, the indie-pop singer has gone on to carve out a solid career as a musician, which includes touring throughout North America and Europe, opening for the likes of City and Colour and Sara Bareilles, multiple Juno Award nominations and a 2013 Western Canadian Music Award.

“I started from the ground up, finding someone that I could make demos with and going to open mic and just surrounding myself with people that were doing music and things just kind of started happening from there,” she said.

Georgas will be returning to Vancouver Island this weekend where she will be performing at Rifflandia at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria on Saturday (Sept. 16). Rifflandia’s lineup this year includes Moby, Fleetwood Mac, A Tribe Called Red, Leeroy Stagger, Zeds Dead and Yukon Blonde.

“I have special memories and love it there [in Victoria] so it nice to come back and play,” she said.

Shortly after leaving UVic, Georgas was working on her first record, The Beat Stuff, when she was given the opportunity to write a song for a Wal-Mart commercial. Georgas and her producer came up with You’ve Got a Place Called Home, which ended up being selected by the store and ultimately helped her move forward with her career.

“There are lots of times where they send … you these opportunities but tons of people are also doing that as well, so I was pretty stoked that the first time we tried writing for a commercial we got it,” she said. “It was really cool and it allowed me to quit my job … and focus on music.”

Last year, Georgas, who now lives in Toronto, released her fourth record, For Evelyn, which is named after her grandmother.

“The record is not about my grandma, but an ode or nod to her,” she said. “The record is very much about a lot of stuff that I go through in my life and the fears that I have and overcoming them.”

Georgas said her grandmother has had a tremendous influence on her over the years and was part of the reason for moving back to Ontario.

“She’s coming up on her 100th birthday this December … I look at what she has been through the last 100 years and see it as like a victory, a wise person that looks at everything that is going on and kind of has clarity and peace,” she said.

Last week I joined the Canada C3 expedition on their 150 day journey around the coast of Canada. I travelled to Kugluktuk, Paulatuk, Tuktoyaktuk and many more incredibly beautiful places in the Arctic. The C3 expedition explores diversity and inclusion, reconciliation and understanding our true history, youth engagement and our environment. I want thank every single person that I had the opportunity to connect w on and off the ship. I have been buzzing ever since I got back. This trip was extremely inspiring and eye opening. I'm proud to be Canadian and I also realize we/I have a lot of work to do. For those of you who don't know what the C3 expedition is all about please take a second to check it out or feel free to message me if you have any questions. Thx again for having me on board. β€οΈπŸš’πŸ™βœŒπŸΌπŸ

A post shared by Hannah Georgas (@hannahgeorgas) on

Recently, Georgas travelled to Kugluktuk, Nunavut and Paulatuk and Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T. as part of the Canada C3 expedition, a 150-day trip by boat from Toronto to Victoria that travels through the Northwest Passage. The journey, led by the federal government is part of Canada 150 celebrations.

“It blew my mind. Every day I performed for the group. There were 60 people on board,” she said. “We would go into different communities and I would play for people. It was insane. It blew my mind. We were celebrating Canada 150, but it was way deeper than that.”

When Georgas looks back at what she’s accomplished in her career so far, she’s proud of her pathway since leaving UVic.

“The road that I was on felt so incredibly hard and as soon as I chose the road that felt right to me it just all came together and made sense,” she said.

Georgas performs at the at 3:15 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit www.rifflandia.com.

nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com