Georgia Anne Muldrow on the healing power of music

The avant-garde soul musician on turning to music to distract from the ills of society and the timelessness of jazz.

Musicality leaks outs of every pore on Georgia Anne Muldrow’s body. The prolific musician has released 17 albums since 2006 – the latest being Overload earlier this year. Each release has helped to define her as one of the leading voices of her generation, even though Muldrow has always flown under the mainstream radar. And if you are one of those that is yet to fall under her spell then we implore you to listen – just one spin of Overload is likely to intoxicate you with its sultry, soulful, jazz infused sounds.

But it’s not just her music that’s important, it’s her words too. Being “woke” may now be a part of our vocabulary and synonymous with fighting against the oppression ubiquitous in society, but it was Muldrow that actually introduced the phrase in a conversation with Erykah Badu a decade ago – further proof that she is one of the most progressive musicians working today. We catch up with Muldrow in Los Angeles to find out how music has helped her heal, and what musical experiments are next on the cards.

This year you released your new album and first on the Brainfeeder label – how do you feel this album is an evolution for you?

Finding the art of simplicity is definitely helping me to evolve my ideas. This record is a snapshot of that.

What drew you to Brainfeeder as a label?

Dudley Perkins.

Overload is also an apt title given how many of us are feeling about the state of the world now. How has what is happening in society now affected both your thinking and your music?

Society and the state of affairs has caused me a lot of pain.  And it’s caused my people a great deal of inconvenience and pain so the need for healing is what starts all these songs.

You’re credited with introducing the phrase ‘stay woke’ – which is now part of mainstream lexicon but do you think the phrase has become over used or watered down in its now ubiquitous nature?

I just want people to do it. Try and do it. I don’t care. It’s like taking credit for the blues. You can’t take credit for the blues. I just want folks to care about one another. I don’t care about hashtags.

Do you feel a responsibility as a public figure to spotlight social and political injustice? And do you agree with musicians and celebrities being a mouthpiece for generations?

Consider the necessity for music being created in the first place. Then you’ll find the answer to that question.

How do you feel about the renewed interest in jazz in the mainstream, has it been a long time coming?

People don’t like jazz overnight. It’s a whole lifestyle, a way of listening to the world around you. We’ve always been there, but now we are aided by technology.

You’ve said that Overload was an experimentation of modern music, what more experimenting do you want to do?

An experiment I’m working on right now is singing bebop melody along with experimental electronic music.

Overload is out now

21 December 2018