Geneva is a Canadian artist who just released her first EP titled “Exhale” — available on URBNET Records here: https://urbnet.bandcamp.com/album/exhale-ep.
“With subtle nods to hip hop, electronic and jazz-infused R’n’B, Geneva’s raw songwriting capability and rich, sultry vocals shine over production by Jazzfeezy (T-Minus, Boi-1da) and Burd & Keyz (Kardinal Offishall, Meek Mill, Pusha T). Step into Geneva’s dreamy realm and discover another Toronto gem worth knowing about.”
Play her EP below and check out my interview with her!
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OG: So, what have you been up to lately?
I just released my first EP “Exhale” which is pretty exciting since I hadn’t yet put out more than just a single before, with the exception of a mixtape called “LoveSick” a few years ago. I’m in the process of locking down some remixes and thinking about what I’d like to do next in terms of producers to work with, what direction I’d like to go, what sound I want to explore. I might throw a release party sometime over the summer.
OG: General inspirations for how you live your life?
When I feel overwhelmed or get bummed out thinking about where I want to be in life versus where I currently am at times, I remind myself it’s all kind of meaningless in the grand scheme of the Universe and I find that strangely comforting in an existential way.
Like, it’s great to be here and you have to make it worth your while, but it could all be washed away in a heartbeat. Make it count, but don’t stress too much about the trivial shit, there’s really no point. Enjoy the ride and make sure you appreciate life and people around you. Love people. Compost. Be a good person. Try your best.
OG: How much time per day do you spend on music?
Damn, so forward, I like that. To be completely honest, not enough. I wish I had countless hours to languidly practice my craft and hang out in studios, recording scratch vocals over endless demos to my heart’s content, but there are only 24 hours in a day and I’ve been finding it tough to squeeze everything in. I don’t want to complain though.
Time spent on music can vary; and what the activity is can vary too. If it’s writing and recording phase, that can look very different from when you’re gearing up to release something but ideally you’re singing every day, creating every day. I started a 100 day project called @100Melodies on Instagram but I fell off pretty hard. I’d like to get back on the train and finish it, even if I’m hella late. I was just writing and shooting a quick vid of a song snippet or concept I’d come up with on the spot. It’s good practice to keep you on your toes.
OG: Can you tell us about your artistic process please. Pot? Patting cats? Pacing?
A little bit of herb can definitely help loosen up the creative process and get you open. I tend to write when I am feeling something emotionally, or when someone sends me an instrumental that gets me hype. I write really fast, the songs usually just kind of pour out of me and I don’t tend to do much editing. That’s actually the fastest part of the whole process for me, just writing the songs. I try to be as honest as possible; my songs are usually quite personal, close friends tend to know exactly who I’m singing about on a particular track, they’re like “Oh, this one’s about so and so!” I’m not very good at hiding things.
OG: Any advice for someone who would like to do something creative for a living?
I know women can have a hard time ASKING for what they deserve so I’d say to value yourself and your craft, don’t undercut yourself. Also: Things manifest in ways you don’t always expect. You might end up working as a barista, or a nanny, or driving a forklift to supplement your income…there’s creativity in the every day hustle.
I never completely trust people who make it look like they’re making their living off music on Instagram or whatever, but you know it would be impossible. They probably have a trust fund or parents paying their rent, or maybe they sell drugs or work at McDonald’s. Real talk. Life is expensive and you can’t live off $5K a year in this city, know what I’m saying? That being said, to the homies that are, it makes me SO FUCKING PROUD!
OG: How do you feel about Cannabis?
I don’t mind it, I think it’s cool how laws are shifting and more people are slowly accepting it as a normalized thing. It doesn’t make sense to criminalize weed and clog up the judicial system when you have tobacco and alcohol being sold readily with far more serious consequences.
OG: How do you feel about edibles?
They have their time and place. I tried half a gummy for the first time a week ago or so but it didn’t do anything. Guess you have to eat a whole one!
OG: How much coffee is too much coffee?
I’m a definitely an AM coffee person, occasional afternoon one. More than that and I’d probably feel too wired!
OG: What hip hop tracks come to mind when you think about drugs?
Devin the Dude – Doobie Ashtray. People Under the Stairs – Acid Raindrops. Drugs Again – Eddie Mayhem. Pursuit of Happiness – Kid Cudi.
OG: What’s a groupie?
I actually made up the term “mroupie” for man groupie years ago! It’s kind of cute when it’s at a harmless level, when these guys always check for you and listen to new stuff you put out right away. It’s kind of a nice little boost! I imagine if people are getting weird and stalkerish that’s another story. I haven’t had anything overly bizarre happen in that regard, I’m too underground to attract too much attention like that.
OG: How do you feel about Feminism?
Strongly. I think it’s really important to understand what it actually means, so many people seem to equate the word with man-hating when it has nothing to do with that. The media has really obfuscated the true meaning.
I also think intersectional feminism is important, women of colour and the LGBTQ community are critical demographics that must be factored in to the equation. Sometimes I feel shocked we are still fighting this battle in 2016 but clearly there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.
OG: What do you think the secrets to happiness are?
Following your heart, being true to yourself and who you are, loving others, minimizing stress and learning to manage it in healthy ways, yoga, sex, eating good healthy food. GOOD MUSIC! Setting goals and reaching them, traveling, reading, always growing and evolving. Drinking water, sunshine and laughter are also very important.
OG: When do you think humans should be really brave?
When we’re afraid. When our opinions might be different from those of others’. When you have to stand up for people because you know it’s the right thing to do, even if it’s not the popular choice. When it comes to following your dreams you have to be the bravest. When you have to make hard decisions in life, or face adversity. You sometimes just have to focus on getting to the other side of a situation.
OG: How important are beauty, money and fashion?
Society places a lot of value on these things but they’re not what really matter. I am a substance over flash person; I don’t really care how much money someone has, if they’re a douchebag they’re a douchebag. Having independent thought and being able to question the status quo is more valuable than any of these things in my opinion.
I appreciate beauty but there is more than the Western beauty standard; what we see in the media is not a true reflection of our world, it shows a very narrow standard for beauty. These superficial things can only get you so far, you have to feed your spirit too or you will never be happy. Possessing these things can’t nourish the soul.
The beauty and fashion industries have an agenda; they want to make you feel ugly so you buy shit. It’s capitalism at its ugliest. When we think we’re flawed and have to “improve” ourselves, those advertising companies pushing all these products on us, that are mostly toxic and bad for humans and the environment incidentally, sell more. Women’s low self-esteem fills their profit margin. “The Beauty Myth” by Naomi Wolf breaks it down way better than I can here. Personal style > fashion always.
OG: Anyone you’d love to work on a project with?
Oh man, tons of different producers. Ghislain Poirier, Diplo, Kaytranada, Sweater Beats. I am a huge fan of Anderson Paak and Frank Ocean, if I did a song with one of them one day I’d probably sail away into space. There are so many people it would be cool to work with. I’d be psyched to get in the lab and write a song with Stacey Barthe, she’s dope and so underrated.
OG: Women you think are amazing?
That unnamed woman who made her statement about Brock Turner and all women brave enough to speak up, teachers, community activists, thought leaders, scientists, stay-at-home moms, working moms, my mom, women who aren’t moms, all the boss ladies of the world — salute!
OG: What advice would you give to your 19-year-old self?
Don’t waste your time trying to love shitty boyfriends who cause you grief. Drop that motherfucker like a hot potato and move on! There are plenty of other hotties who are way better so DO BETTER! And to all the other girls reading this out there…trust my word!
Push to achieve things. It might feel like there’s tons of time and that you’ll be young forever, but it goes by faster than you could ever know and it’s important to value your time and energy. Time isn’t infinite. All that shit about Carpe Diem is true.
Don’t be afraid to cut off a shitty friend. You might want to be nice and forgiving but there really are people in life who can’t respect you on the level they should, and it’s ok not to bother with them extensively. You’re not obligated to keep people around that don’t make you feel good.
OG: How many cats are too many cats for one human to live with?
Awww cat lovers! I honestly love cats, I used to have a cat bestie as a kid named Sam but I’m allergic as hell so I can’t have any now or I’ll die.
I feel like 3-4 cats are ok if you have a big house; more than that and you start to go into Cat Lady territory. My mom lives on a farm and the one cat always seems to be having more kittens so if you know anyone who wants a free kitten…
OG: Where do you think Stoner Heaven is?
Somewhere with fries and a beach. Probably Los Angeles, Venice Beach perhaps.
OG: Where should stoners visit in Toronto?
OG: What do you want in return for dedicating your life to music?
You know those songs or albums you always bump and will bump forever? Music that is meaningful to you and really sticks with you? I want people to feel that way about something I create. Just make something raw that other people can feel on a certain level. That would give me great satisfaction.
OG: What’s next for you?
I’d like to get to work on new material pretty soon and keep it moving. I have a few collabs I owe people and once I get those off my plate I’d like to start exploring some new production. It would be cool to work with someone locally so we can build the sound together more cohesively. You have a more hands-on vibe for the sound of a project.
Oh…and laying on the beach some time soon would also feel pretty good. That is another current goal.
Thanks so much for your time Geneva! I find it super exciting when an artist doesn’t limit themselves to one sound — can’t wait to see what you do next!!
You can find Geneva on Soundcloud, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Toke it easy,