Bay Area-based hip hop artist G-Eazy – a.k.a. Gerald Earl Gillum – is riding a wave of success following the late 2015 release of his second album, When It’s Dark Out. The record spawned a hit – “Me, Myself & I” (featuring Bebe Rexha) – and an extensive world tour schedule to promote it. His rare off days have landed him in the studio, working on features for other artists, as was the case with a recent visit to Vancouver’s Warehouse Studios. “When you get a song that catches on, your phone starts blowing up.”
G—Have you enjoyed making time to get into the studio during this tour?
G-Eazy—It’s nice to get out of the routine of tour. The studio’s where I can get lost and find peace. It’s just hard to find the time.
G—How have you dealt with the new level of success you have reached recently?
GE—Nothing can prepare you for how busy it gets. It’s life-changing; but it’s not all bad. I’m about to help my mom buy a house. She’s never had that in her life. That’s one of my biggest motivators – to help take care of her.
G—I read about her being at one of your shows on the road recently. Has she been with you on this tour?
GE—She tells me what cities she wants to go to and I get her flights.
G—You’ve talked before about shutting out the outside world when you’re in the studio. How do you accomplish that?
GE—It’s just airplane mode; it puts up a block to the whole outside world. That’s the way I focus in the studio and wrap my head around the music. I don’t let anything distract or pull me away from that.
G—Your new album’s a pretty personal one. How did you build the confidence to take that approach?
GE—I had to work up the courage to not only talk about some of this stuff, but to share it with the world. I couldn’t have done that on the last album. It’s about having the right people around you to push and encourage you.
G—Who’ve those people been?
GE—My A&R, Jean Nelson, who’s also part of my management team. He did A&R on some of the most classic albums in hip-hop. He’s got a million Biggie stories; T.I., Lil Wayne, Drake, Minaj, too. He’s worked in these same situations with artists that I look up to. He pushes me in the right way.
G—I want to ask you about the G-Eazy brand. How do you balance creating a story against the media, who are gonna write their own story?
GE—I keep my personal life out of the media as much as possible. I’m not talking about who I’m dating or what I’m doing in my free time. I just go in the studio and make my music. I let that speak for me.
G—You have a BA in Music Industry Studies from Loyola University. Was the music business education that you received influential?
GE—I picked up a few things at school but it was more or less the people that I met that helped me more. I met my manager there, and I built some of my team there too. They were a bunch of kids my age who had similar goals of making it in the music business.
G—Do you think the way that you embrace life facilitated finding like-minded people?
GE—I’m big on collaboration. I’m not an extremely social person. I’m pretty quiet most of the time. But I am big on working with other people who inspire me. I think that’s what’s dope about music – it brings together people with different skill sets, backgrounds and influences to create something together.
In the ten years since Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg started First Aid Kit, they have been going non-stop. The indie-folk duo got their start when their cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” went viral, and have since released four albums, won five Swedish Grammis awards, and brought two of their idols to tears on live television. Following a brief hiatus, and four years after their last record, Stay Gold, First Aid Kit is back with Ruins, a raw account of losing love and finding yourself. In the middle of a North American tour, Georgie talked to Klara and Johanna about the new album and what brought them to Ruins. G—You’ve said in past interviews that Stay Gold was a more put-together, polished kind of album, and Ruins is a lot rawer. What caused that shift? JS—The production of Stay Gold is very lush and elegant, and I think that’s what we wanted at the time. But we started longing for this rawness, this almost lo-fi aspect that we had on our first records. [For Ruins]…our attitude was that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. If we sing a bum note or there’s a little crack
Charlotte Cardin is on track to having her biggest year yet. The electro jazz-pop singer has been nominated for Songwriter of the Year and Breakthrough Artist of the Year at next month’s Juno Awards. Along the way, she has performed at Osheaga—an experience she calls “surreal”, having attended for years growing up in Montréal—and Festival d’été de Québec where she opened for Sting and Peter Gabriel. More recently, she has been touring behind her EPs Big Boy (Cult Nation Records, 2016) and Main Girl (Sony Music, 2017). Through this past September and October, she supported Nick Murphy (formerly Chet Faker), and she’s been on tour with BØRNS since January. This spring, Cardin will headline her own dates. Prior to her full-time career in music, Cardin modelled in fashion which afforded her pocket money and freedom to work on her art. She also competed on the first season of La Voix, a francophone Canadian version of The Voice. But being on television, like modelling, was never her passion. “I never really felt that much pressure when I was on TV. For me, there’s something a lot more real about what I’m doing right now.” She feels more pressure performing her own
Garland Jeffreys’ album, 14 Steps to Harlem, grew out of a soulful period of retrospection late in the artist’s life and career. As a veteran songwriter, Jeffreys started writing provocative, ahead-of-its- time, genre-bending songs in the early 1970s, with lyrics focused on everything from relationships to racial diversity to political turmoil. Now in his seventies, the New York musician is looking back on his life with an album that takes on bold topics and includes a title track inspired by his turbulent relationship with his father. Jefferys spoke with Georgie about his latest release, his relationship with Lou Reed and his somewhat unconventional approach to songwriting. Georgie—14 Steps to Harlem is a great album. Garland Jeffreys—Thank you. I’m very proud of the record. I took some chances in recording it but had confidence that it could be something special. You don’t know a record is good or bad until it’s done – then you know. I worked on the album with my co-producer, James Maddock, who’s a great artist in his own right. G—The title track, “14 Steps to Harlem”, stood out to me. I read that it was written with your father in mind. Did the experience of writing about your dad