Gig preview: The State of Georgia at Unity Works, Wakefield

The State of Georgia
The State of Georgia
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It’s the day after rehearsals for a show to launch Georgia Jakubiak’s new album and the singer, who performs under the name The State of Georgia, is feeling tender.

“We had a full band practice last night with everyone,” she explains. “It’s an eight-piece band, I’ve got three backing singers, a keyboard player, a guitarist, bassist and drummer, so I stood on one leg for about three hours playing piano, playing the sustain pedal with my foot, and then afterwards my foot had just completely gone.

“That’s what happens if you’re seven months pregnant and try to release an album and do everything.”

Roses & Swallows is Jakubiak’s third album since leaving the Wakefield indie band The Research. Its predecessor, Synesthesia, came out three years ago.

She says she’d continued to write after the birth of her first child and took him into the studio with her. “I had him in a sling – I think he was about two months old when we started recording,” she recalls. “Then it’s just taken a while to get back into the studio and find the money to pay for it.”

To complete the album she ran a successful online funding appeal to fans via the website Kickstarter. “Towards the end I still had a few songs to finish in the studio, that was expensive, then it needed mastering and then I needed to get the CDs made and I wanted to do a video for the single that I released so it just adds up and it ends up being thousands of pounds,” she says. “I don’t think people realise how expensive it is – and I think it was good to get people involved as well.”

The State of Georgia

The State of Georgia

She describes Roses & Swallows as “a lot softer than some of my older stuff”.

“I think motherhood calmed me down a little bit. There’s a song called Mother on there, and Stay Awake, they’re both about motherhood. There’s lots about family as well – there’s a song called Brother, a song called Father and a song called Mother – but it’s quite a pop record. I think I’m probably less angsty and angry than I was before.”

The album’s centrepiece is Queen Boudicca. “It’s kind of my feminist anthem,” Jakubiak chuckles. “It’s all about womanhood. The slow bit is a woman talking to her husband and feeling ignored and then it changes into a more heavy section which is about standing strong with your female army because I think women these days are expected to do everything, you’re juggling quite a lot of things and you end up feeling quite overwhelmed by it all. You’re trying to have a career and have children and be a wife and still look good and be glamorous and all that stuff. It’s kind of about battling the world.

“The analogy is about drawing your sword and facing the battles of life and strong women like Joan of Arc and Queen Boudicca, leaders and female warriors.”

I think women these days are expected to do everything, you’re juggling quite a lot of things and you end up feeling quite overwhelmed. You’re trying to have a career and children and be a wife and still be glamorous. It’s kind of about battling the world.

The video that accompanies the single No Man’s Land was filmed at Unity Works in Wakefield. “The song’s about a friend of mine who lost her partner last year and I admired how she went through that and was dealing with it, I wanted to write something about that,” Jakubiak says.

“I’d been listening to a lot of Sia and I wanted to do something a bit more abstract [for the video] with the dancers, and also because I was quite pregnant I thought there was no way I’m going to be dancing about, so we found those dancers and they listened to it and interpreted it and did the choreography. It was really nice to have them being creative, it made my job a bit easier.”

The venue for the video shoot is close to Jakubiak’s heart. “I did the first year of my degree there and it’s been pretty much shut since then until they reopened it [in 2014, after a £4m restoration project]. It’s quite a special place for me, it’s the first place I went to when I moved up north from Cornwall, it’s where I had my interview for university and I hadn’t been back until I did some recording last year with The Ainsley Band, so when Ash [Scott], who does my videos, said ‘I think we can use the hall’ because he knows Dean Freeman who runs it I said, ‘Yeas, that would be great, let’s do it’.”

The State of Georgia launches Roses & Swallows at Unity Works, Wakefield on Friday April 1. For details visit https://www.facebook.com/thestateofgeorgia?ref=hl

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