If you are among the lucky who have listened to Mos Def’s latest project, The Ecstatic, then you are familiar with this brilliant, piano driven song called “Roses.” The Earth-friendly track passionately suggests that we leave the roses in the ground when we’re feeling down, rather than digging them up just to die. I was so taken by it that I endeavored to find out more about the young lady singing on the track was. Turns out Ms. Georgia Anne Muldrow is not a new voice on the music scene, with several projects under her belt and a new one on the way called, Umsindo.
After speaking with the MC/Producer/instrumentalist I also discovered that the song was originally hers and Mos kind of “borrowed” it for his project. But she promises there is much more where that came from.
TUD: What is the story behind “Roses”?
Georgia: Roses is about creativity and human capacity. It’s kinda for the sistas. A lot of times Western society makes us base our sense of worth on “diamonds are forever” or “a dozen roses” and that’s how you prove your love to somebody. It’s how you can feel love and affected by somebody. But you receive so many gifts and still feel empty. So draw them and let the roses come from inside. I could smell ’em when I draw ’em.
TUD: When did you record it?
Georgia: Last year.
TUD: How did it end up on Mos Def’s album? Because your album wasn’t out yet…
Georgia: We had a mutual friend, and my name came up in discussion. They came over one day and started playing “Roses.” He was singing the song and knew it. He said “I wanna grab that.” I said, “Man, I already got this as a single”. (Laughter) He just wanted that song. He snatched it up real quick. (Laughter)
- Mos and Georgia in the studio.
TUD: Was that you playing the piano on that song?
TUD: It sounds so different from the funky vibe on Umsindo. Were you just in the mood to do that type of song that day?
Georgia: I don’t think it’s that different. In terms of arrangement, yes. But if you listen to it in terms of content, you will see it is very much related to other songs. I have another song called “Daisies.” It’s talking about dealing with death. I think there are themes that coincide. It’s a piano jam. I have a lot of piano jams.
Sometimes I approach an album in a certain way. And this one I definitely did. So I guess I did want this to produce a different feeling. It conveys the unity of all the songs.
My whole mission has been to have something that is really funky, and that’s how I could sneak my message in there. I could be as bold as I want to be without being a complete cornball. But by having the funk being so strong, you can’t shake it. It is affirmative. And that is what music is for. The blackness of it all ties it together.
TUD: What is the meaning behind the title of your album, Umsindo ?
Georgia: Umsindo means sound and noise in Zulu. And in another language in South Africa it means rage. And I did not find that out, till after decided the name. But I think it is a really fitting thing. I choose that as a title because this is Zulu music. It’s about taking a warrior stance. I have taken a warrior stance in my life, as a mother. It’s time for us to stop playing around and see what our priorities are as a people. I wanted music to accommodate that type of awakening and realization for my people.
I wanted some enlightened music that people could C-walk to. That’s what I want to do. I feel the people that know how to C-walk are the people who really know the true sciences on on a deeper level, than say someone who is lounging around. I want to deal with the people are really feelin’ life. This is for the people who are willing to stand up for their community, people, and their family. I’m trying to reach those kinds of people so we can start seeing stuff a different way and start healing ourselves. It’s time for that.
A lot of this Clear Channel BS is happening and the people’s true voices aren’t getting heard. And the tricknology of it says “oh this is what we want to hear.” Well that’s not what we want to hear, that’s just corporate agenda. I’m just trying to create something so there can always be somewhere else for people to go for music. We’ve got little brown babies that can’t dance on beat. I’m into new forms of expression but we gotta get back to the fundamentals.
TUD: In one of your songs you say: “So ashamed of this country. Nuclear bombs don’t just belong to Osama; they’ll soon belong to Obama.” Did you write that lyric while he was running for president or after he was elected?
Georgia: I wrote it when he was running. The song was actually for Hugo Chavez who has done more for the south Bronx then Obama has. The song is about people who use their political power to actually rise up for the people that need them the most. Instead of treating it like a theatrical football game. That’s the way I see the politics of America, as a football game. They were commentating on the election as if it were a football. I feel like there are so many lives at stake. Until we get rid of the word “collateral damage,” there will be a lot of lies of going on.
I am aware. I know where Afghanistan is and who lives in Afghanistan. It ain’t just Arab. All of that is Africa, that’s Kush. Those are my people. Those people are darker than me in Afghanistan. For me as an artist, I can’t turn a blind eye towards that. These past few thousand years, things have gone haywire. We have gone 90,000 years or more with clean water and air. And now all of a sudden we ain’t got clean water and air. Deserts exist where they didn’t use to. Look at the flag of Lebanon, it has a green tree growing. Why would they have a green tree in the middle of the desert? Because it used to be plush with life and greenery! So Umsindo is all about checking that out. And while I am checking out the external forces that are bothering me or intriguing me, I keep tabs on what is happening inside of me. As far as spiritual maturity.
TUD: You’re the first female signed to Stonesthrow Records. How do you feel about the place of women in music, particularly hip hop?
Georgia: If there were no sisters, there would be nothing. All of this is evidence of our existence. We created all of this. As creators, I do believe that we need to step up our responsibility. It goes back to “Roses.” The reality of it is we have to create our own happiness and inspiration. Or look to nature for inspiration, and create it. Because then it will be something that is undeniable. We need to get ourselves together, instead of worrying about how we look- what type of weave we are going to put in, or how white we can look. I see people that get whiter every month.
There is a whole set of expectations from a woman now. Her weave gotta be right and I’m on a whole other side. I got lint in my fro right now. (Laughing).