During the period leading up to the making of Overload, singer/lyricist/producer Georgia Anne Muldrow was in her own state of overload. She was caught between two spaces: one that fed her creatively, and another that threatened to undermine it. Yet both would play a key role in the creation of her new record.
During her downtime, Muldrow started trading music and providing features for producers in France, the Netherlands, and the Philippines, giving each production the same mindfulness she’d given her own material. Her daughter often entered the room while she was playing a track, and would start singing along. “Now that’s a song I like,” she’d say. Then Muldrow’s long-time partner, rapper Dudley Perkins, would peek in. “That sounds like a song that could do something,” he’d offer.
Muldrow soon wondered if some of these songs made more sense for her own album. “[The producers] were like, ‘Yeah! We wanted to work with you,’” Muldrow says with a self-deprecating chuckle. “So it started coming together like, ‘What are we going to do with these songs?’” At the same time, the outside world was spiraling out of control; at the same time she was working on music, Muldrow had to contend the daily onslaught of terror and hate-driven politics, and stare at social media feeds filled with images of young black men being murdered by police.
“I was in a low state with all the things that’s going on,” she acknowledges. She found solace in reading about history, hoping to find tools to help combat the feelings of oppression and helplessness. It didn’t work. “I’m checking out all these different books, but me having this education isn’t stopping people from getting murdered in the street,” she says. “It’s not stopping that. It’s the overload. I’ve read about non-violent protest. I was into that. And now it’s just like, ‘Well, no, that doesn’t work.’ We’re inside of this ancient war, and I will not live in those conditions.”
Instead, Muldrow chose love—love of self, family, and community. She rooted herself deeper in her gift, purpose, and spiritual practice: the music. Perkins, her muse and secret weapon, helped take the budding album from a sprawling dream to a streamlined statement. “I had a group of songs that I really liked, and I put it together and made a whole epic story,” Muldrow says of Overload. “Dudley helped sequence it, take some songs away and add some.” Long-time friend, singer Aloe Blacc, assisted with everything from mastering and artwork to morale. “He really helped me keep my head up about the project, because sometimes it’s like, ‘What’s really going on? Why am I even doing this?’”
Then out of the blue, the painter Martin Norwood gifted Muldrow a stunning oil portrait of herself. It blew her away, and became the album’s cover art. “It was like a sign from the universe to keep going,” she says.
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