Playing empty NYC bar leads to big break, a Wal-Mart jingle, for Hannah Georgas
Vancouver-based indie musician Hannah Georgas was playing to a mostly empty New York City bar when she got what might be her big break.
TORONTO - Vancouver-based indie musician Hannah Georgas was playing to a mostly empty New York City bar when she got what might be her big break.
There weren't many people listening that night, but she won over one very important new fan, who asked her to write a jingle for Wal-Mart.
That jingle is now in a commercial, which is getting Georgas more attention that she's ever gotten before, and even some notice from country-pop star Taylor Swift.
The song - with some jangly guitar, glockenspiel flourishes and just a couple lines of vocals, "don't ever feel alone/ you've got a place called home" - is the backdrop for two different ads.
In one, a mother and daughter share a sentimental goodbye as the teen prepares for life at college. In the other, a mother and son share a slightly more awkward moment as mom hands over a framed family photo to hang on his dorm wall.
"It's going to be airing on TV for back to school for eight weeks all through North America, it's been on YouTube and lots of people have been commenting on the song, it's just been a great response," Georgas said in a telephone interview.
Georgas wrote, recorded and mixed several versions of the jingle with Ryan Guldemond of the band Mother Mother, with the longest take stretching out to about 50 seconds.
Based on the response from online posters, Georgas and Guldemond are now going back to the studio to turn the jingle into a full song, which will likely be posted on Wal-Mart's official website as a free download.
Georgas, who has currently only released a five-song EP but is putting the finishing touches on her debut full-length album, is going on tour across Canada in October and hopes the attention she's getting from the commercial sells a few extra tickets.
She adds she had no qualms about commercializing her music or writing for Wal-Mart, even if some musicians believe their compositions are sacrosanct and should never be used for corporate purposes.
"It's another way for an artist to get their music out there and for people to hear it," she said.
"People are asking, 'who is this artist that's singing on this song? We want to find it' and they go and look at my MySpace and other stuff I've done - think it's great."
Although she counts indie rock bands among her favourite acts, Georgas said she was thrilled when country-sensation Swift Tweeted to her more than 1.1 million followers about the mother-daughter commercial, saying it made her cry.
Georgas returned the favour by Tweeting some Swift lyrics on her account.
"I thought it was great, I think it's awesome," Georgas said with a laugh.
"At the end of the day she's great too, she's got a good message."
"I work part time at an afterschool-care program and every single kid loves Taylor Swift, and if any kid is going to be listening to music, then let it be Taylor Swift."