World, meet Gaidaa. In fact, meet Gaidaa how she met herself after formulating her debut EP, Overture. In her press release, she quotes, “To me Overture is not only my introduction to the world, but essentially my reintroduction to myself, my rediscovery and re-creation of Gaidaa. It’s about realizing that we are far more complex and hold more depth than we think.”
Once you listen and virtually meet Gaidaa’s remarkable voice, you’ll yearn for more. This Netherlands-based Sudanese singer had us falling for her after each listen. We’re so grateful for having a chance to catch up with Gaidaa to see how she’s doing and learn about all about her EP.
The Young Folks: First off, I always have to ask. How are you doing right now with everything going on?
Gaidaa: I have no idea, to be honest. Just trying to keep my peace and stay sane. There’s a lot going on all around the world, everything feels super overwhelming and somehow out of reach. There’s a lot of uncertainty. At the same time, I’ve also never felt more free than I do now, I did a lot of emotional work in the last year, and specifically the last 6 months. It’s weird. Everything’s really chaotic, but I feel like I’ve gotten to the point where I’m learning to channel the chaos instead of letting it drown me as dramatic as that sounds, haha.
TYF: I read in a previous interview that you quit uni to pursue music. Was that a difficult decision for you to make, or was it something you knew you were passionate about?
Gaidaa: It’s definitely something I knew I was passionate about, but it was still a very difficult decision. I come from a background of Sudanese immigrant parents who held a lot of value to education (still do). My parents had a hard time with my decision and tried to understand why I had to drop out. Why couldn’t I just do it at the same time? They wanted me to wait until after I would have gotten my degree to pursue fully. It was hard trying to convince them that it would be fine and that I needed to focus my attention on my music now because I had nothing to really show for it, just my word and my feeling. So I didn’t convince them. At some point, I just had to risk it and accept that they weren’t gonna like it, which they didn’t. I now attend a school that is kind of like an artist academy, I guess, which really gives me the freedom to focus my energy on music 24/7.
TYF: Congrats on your EP! What’s it like for you to release new music during COVID?
Gaidaa: Super weird, haha. Honestly, at this point, I’m grateful to still be able to release, to be honest. At least in a COVID world, the internet hasn’t stopped yet, so we’re all still able to listen to music, and I can still connect with people in that way. It’s weird cause never did I think this would be the climate that my project would come out in (I guess no one did), but at the same time, it’s almost perfect. It feels like there’s a new cycle coming or starting, and it feels good to shed this layer of me now.
TYF: Can you tell us a bit about the process of putting Overture together? When did you decide this is something you’re going to make, and when did you figure out you had everything ready to go?
Gaidaa: It’s been a long process, and not necessarily a linear or clear one. I don’t think I ever really had a moment like ‘okay it’s EP time, let’s go.’ Ever since ‘A Storm On a Summers Day‘ came out with Full Crate in June of 2018, shit just kind of escalated. From that point onwards, I started going to more sessions, making more music, meeting more people, and experiencing more life. It just happened organically. Overture was actually supposed to be released last year, August. We thought it was really done, but the universe said, “nah.” As always, the universe was right. It’s been messy, but it’s been the most natural process. It’s just been me living my life, and then an EP happened. I think the tracks are even almost exactly in the order they were written in as well.
Now that your EP will be out for everyone to hear, what do you want people to take away after listening?
Gaidaa: I have no idea, to be honest. I guess people can take what they want from this, I’m curious what they do! I just hope that people are able to think the same way this project allowed me to delve deeper into myself and reflect on the things I struggle with and strive for. Creating this project allowed me to tap into a vulnerability I was always afraid of and still struggle with, but plan to delve into even more. It’s okay to be vulnerable, there is space for it. Maybe it sounds corny, but the more vulnerable I allow myself to be, the more equipped I am to handle this world and its things. I’m a better me when I’m not scared of myself. If anything, I hope people take that from it!
How do you go about finding inspiration during this time?
Gaidaa: Crazy enough, I feel more inspired these days than I have in a long time. At the beginning of the EP recording process, I couldn’t even listen to new music that was coming out cause it genuinely gave me anxiety. I started associating listening to new music to the fact that my project still wasn’t finished, and people were expecting something. I needed to finish songs, and I was just thinking about all the wrong things. Nowadays I find comfort in listening to what’s out there, I paint, I have super interesting debates and conversations with my friends and family. The weather has been really good, so just going to the park and catching some sun inspires me sometimes. I don’t know. There’s enough in this world to be inspired by.
Even though it’s hard to imagine at the current moment, what’s one thing that you definitely want to do once we beat COVID?
Gaidaa: I’m kind of in a weird position cause I live in The Netherlands, and quarantine is essentially lifted here or has been already. People have been out and about already. To be fair, I’ve only been seeing the same people, but I’m able to see my friends and be out in the world. I miss my family since they’re living in Qatar, and we haven’t been able to see each other for a while, so that’s probably the first thing I’d do as soon as I can. Apart from that I just wanna travel to somewhere warm and dance with people in the sun!