Atwood Magazine spoke to Gaidaa about her debut EP ‘Overture’, its sonic and visual palette, and the process of self-discovery that walked hand in hand with the creation of the EP.
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I like trouble because some things ain’t the way they seem” is the statement with which Gaidaa opens her debut EP, Overture, released on July 24th. What may disguise itself, only after the first few seconds, as a simple R&B project clearly isn’t what it seems: Overture contains multitudes. It is colourful, energetic, diverse, always ready to take another left turn and leave you transfixed with what you’re listening to.
As written on the EP’s cover, Overture is Gaidaa meeting Gaidaa. And now she’s meeting the world.
Gaidaa’s music has a kaleidoscopic soul. Her voice punctures every moment, calling you to listen and float through every note. Released today, her live EP COLORS Live in NYC, made in partnership with COLORS highlights the depths of her potency and magnetism. It’s rare to want to be embark on a journey with an artist as much as you want to with Gaidaa after a single listen.
Atwood Magazine spoke to Gaidaa about her debut EP Overture, its sonic and visual palette, and the process of self-discovery that walked hand in hand with the creation of the EP.
Listen: Overture – Gaidaa
A CONVERSATION WITH GAIDAA
Atwood Magazine: It’s been a few months since you released your debut EP, Overture. What was your journey from releasing your first single to releasing the EP like? What did you learn?
Gaidaa: It’s been crazy honestly, it was an absolute rollercoaster haha. I don’t even know what I specifically learned, the whole process unintentionally was me coming into myself and understanding who I am and who I want to be, what I’m capable of. It was a pretty cathartic journey, for me the EP very much represents the things I learnt while creating it. Throughout this process I slowly found my voice, still don’t know what I’m doing but I now I know I can do it.
Why did you name your EP Overture?
Gaidaa: I’d actually always wanted to name my first project Overture. I used to always name anything I was making whether it be a magazine for school, a short story I would write; my Tumblr name was literally overture. I think I looked up cool words once when I was like 14, and ‘Overture’ came up and stuck with me ever since. Overture is the beginning piece of an opera, but it also means an introduction to something more substantial, it just felt really fitting. Overture is exactly that, my first introduction to the world, but also to myself. Gaidaa meets Gaidaa, Gaidaa meets the world.
Considering Overture is your debut EP, what story do you think it tells about you as an artist?
Gaidaa: I’m not really sure, I genuinely would love to get into peoples’ heads when they listen to my music, because I think it’s easy to interpret my music as you like. I think it just tells the story of someone who was really lost trying to look in, and in the process of digging found themselves, eventually finding a certain peace that had never been tangible before.
You’ve talked about how Overture became more than a project, it was a re-creation of yourself. What did you discover about yourself when making this project?
Gaidaa: I learned that I am really specific about certain things. That I love alone time. That I don’t need much to be happy. That I have amazing people in my life for real. That I can sleep literally anywhere (like legit anywhere, any context… give me a floor, a bathtub, you name it). That I’ve been a pushover in the past and I don’t want to be anymore. That music is not just my passion it is who I am. That I should listen to myself more. I don’t know… a lot of things.
Something I adore about Overture is how sonically diverse it is, it refuses to fit into a certain genre box and it’s so colourful - how did you go about constructing the EP’s sonic palette?
Gaidaa: I don’t think that was a conscious decision, the project just consists of people from different walks of life, that I organically crossed paths with. I didn’t sit with only one person to make this. I think literally every song was recorded in a different place in a completely different context, but I quite like that about it haha. I’m quite a chaotic person, and I love so many different types of music so I guess I just subconsciously took that on as well. It’s just a mix of things I love. I am experimenting more and more.
Considering how diverse the songs are, who/what were your main influences in the creation of the EP?
Gaidaa: Maybe this sounds kinda corny, but genuinely just life, my friends, the people I was making music with, and whatever my spirit was telling me I guess. For a very long time during the process I legit couldn’t listen to any new music, because it genuinely gave me anxiety about not finishing songs and needing to make something amazing or whatever. I just couldn’t handle it, I was always comparing myself. So I drew inspiration from the moment, if that makes sense. The songs all started as freestyles, I listen back to what I say and the song tells me what it’s about itself, I just have to decipher it and make it make sense.
Are you ever musically inspired by things/art forms/events that aren’t musical? What’s been a surprising source of inspiration for you?
Gaidaa: All of the time, usually that’s how I am inspired actually. I’m a shitty painter but I like to do it because it clears my head. Being out in nature, laughing with my friends, just getting out of my head and my daily space. Whatever clears my head makes space for new ideas, then I can tune in again.
I love the cover art, its colours and textures. It’s interesting because it’s so expressive and yet we can’t see a face. Can you talk me through the decision behind the cover art and how you think it represents Overture?
Gaidaa: Why, thank you! Originally, we were going to do something else entirely, but obviously the pandemic hit. It was really difficult early on to plan shoots or anything so, I thought it would be really cool to do a painting. Initially, we were using this artist Shaina and her paintings as reference, and then I thought why don’t we just reach out to her. To my surprise she was already into the music and really down to collaborate. My best friend Segraphy and Pepijn (a dope graphic designer from my hometown) came together to make the cover happen in the end. It was supposed to just be a really simple reflection of the word ‘Overture’ and what this EP ultimately means to me — finding who I am. I found my core values and what matters to me during this process, but it is just the beginning. I have a foundation, but there’s still so much more to figure out. I’m faceless on the cover because I guess I am still figuring that part out.
The line, “I like trouble because some things ain’t what they seem” opens the album. What’s the inspiration behind this song?
Gaidaa: “I Like Trouble” is also the first song that was written during the whole EP process, and kind of marks the moment I decided to stop convincing people that what I am pursuing was the right thing. This is during a time when I was really at war with myself and my parents in taking the step to really pursue music, and at some point I just said fuck it! “I Like Trouble” is about letting yourself take up space, and being heard and letting go of all the opinions that everyone wants to throw at you all the time. It’s about taking risks, choosing your own voice, and being okay with people being mad about it.
When was the last time you were surprised by something that was not what it seemed?
Gaidaa: I feel like nothing really surprises me anymore these days. I feel like every day some crazy shit happens, so I’m not sure. This year has just been pretty exposing in the sense that everyone’s true colors – including my own – have really come forward.
I absolutely loved “Falling Higher,” it was the song that got me into you as an artist and your project. The visuals for the song are absolutely striking. Can you talk to me about the creation of the song and the concept of the music video?
Gaidaa: I appreciate that thank you. The song was recorded in New York in the midst of an amazingly chaotic week of meetings and sessions and my first US performance ever with COLORS at National Sawdust . It was my second time ever in NYC and I remember the first time I was like “next time I better be here for music” and lo and behold that’s actually what happened. The song was really inspired by the fact that I felt like my dreams were unfolding in-front of my eyes, but I also had no idea what was going on, I could barely grasp it. We were originally supposed to shoot the video in NYC as well, but obviously the pandemic cancelled that one. We ended up shooting it in my hometown of Eindhoven (The Netherlands) and the surrounding area, which actually made me really happy. The idea of the video was to really focus on the feeling of an urgent dream, showing how I try and find my way through it all. The beat gives you a sense of urgency/rush shown through stuff like the domino stones, and paper airplanes. Objects that go fast, and can’t be stopped once they start falling. They also signify the signs and path that’s shown by the universe for me to follow if I open my eyes to it. The oranges, of course the fruits of my labor!
Watch: “Falling Higher” – Gaidaa
Now that Overture is out, what can we expect next from Gaidaa? What do you hope the EP brings to your fans?
Gaidaa: I don’t really know. Some more music videos, some more music at some point. My first US concert was recorded by COLORS and we’re releasing a collaborative live EP of that show with them this month. I’ll say though, It’s interesting to have dropped my debut project in the midst of this pandemic. A lot of things that were lined up obviously couldn’t happen anymore, so I’m really just taking it day by day. I hope that people are enjoying the music though. I always say this, but if there’s anything I would want people to take from the project, it’s to look inwards. Look in, allow yourselves to be vulnerable, open up and you’d be surprised at the world you’ll find there.
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