Our special guest prizewinning jazz singer Georgia Mancio talks frankly about
There’s a voicenerd moment when we talk about why Jeremy admires Georgia’s diphthongs!
And we play songs from her latest collaboration with Grammy-winning pianist/composer Alan Broadbent, and Quiet Is The Star
Find out more about Georgia here: https://georgiamancio.com
Social media handles:
Instagram @GeorgiaMancio https://www.instagram.com/georgiamancio/ (click on Linktree in her bio to buy the album)
Facebook GeorgiaMancioMusic https://www.facebook.com/GeorgiaMancioMusic
Twitter GeorgiaMancio https://twitter.com/GeorgiaMancio
YouTube GeorgiaMancio https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJPZqK-hvQS_eaJt39NB64Q
Georgia’s chosen charity is https://SafePassage.org.uk, supporting unaccompanied child refugees to find safety and a new start
BTW Jeremy's recording equipment stopped working halfway through the interview, so the 2nd half of the podcast is taken from the zoom recording - don't judge us!
If you want to find out more about Gillyanne and Jeremy's training resources, check out the brand new Vocal Process Learning Lounge - over 500 training videos and vocal resources for less than the price of one singing lesson
This is a Voice, a podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher. Hello and welcome to This is a Voice series two Episode 10, Songs, Lyrics and Life. And we have a very special guest here but before we introduce her I'm just going to say a couple of things and then we're going to hear her sing. "Vocalist and innovator, the archetype of a modern singer who can stop at will and produce thoroughly musical and textually convincing versions of, er... anything." And that was London Jazz News.
Gillyanne Kayes 0:46
Isn't that fabulous?
And before we meet her, I'm going to play just the beginning of one of her tracks from the new album.
Georgia Mancio 0:57
"Tell the river to run free and find me even if the tide is wrong, it still will rush to see. Tell my children to grow strong and healthy. Even if my body's gone, they will remember me. When the shadows pull too long, the sun will seem to lose its shine. On reflection over time, the face, the smile they see, will still be mine."
And that was Grammy-winning pianist/composer Alan Broadbent and prize winning soloist jazz person, Georgia Mancio. Hello, Georgia.
Georgia Mancio 2:27
Gillyanne Kayes 2:27
Hi, Georgia. So nice to see you. I know you're back in Italy, because you're Anglo Italian.
Georgia we have so much to ask you. There's all sorts of things we want to find out about the first of all, the new album, which is glorious.
Gillyanne Kayes 2:42
Can I just say something about that little clip that you played? Because we were listening to it earlier and I said to Jeremy "Oh, that's wonderful. What you know, we're ending on the fifth there. What a lovely ending to you know, segue into introducing Georgia." And you said, "well, it's not just any fifth because what's underneath it is...
What did I say it was?
Gillyanne Kayes 3:05
I think it was a dominant 13
something like that, it was a 13th.
Gillyanne Kayes 3:10
Yeah, I think that's, you know, because you and I have worked together on on the songs that you've put together with Alan, that 13th chord features a lot. So Alan, if you're listening, I love the 13th chord but not to play it.
Georgia Mancio 3:27
Yes, I think I remember how, you know, put you through the ringer there of "oh, could you just could we just work on this song" and you'd be looking at the harmony. Thanks.
Gillyanne Kayes 3:38
But that's also part of the journey. And you know what, when we maybe talk a bit more in depth about the the process that you go through as a lyricist with a writer like Alan, which is how, how that how the harmonies work and how they underpin what's going on, emotionally in the songs. And they feel like, I said to Jeremy, these songs feel like the lieder of jazz. I don't if that makes sense. Lieder as in German lieder. I think I recall Alan saying that. He was a big fan of Schubert and that melody, was incredibly important to him. And that melody spoke to him in ways that words didn't. And personally, I think that's one of the really special things about the songs. Plus the extraordinary poetic lyrics that you write
I before we go into how you go about finding the lyrics because you read the lyrics to the song and read music. I wanted just in case people haven't picked this up, you two know each other. And I just wanted to find out how you met. Go.
Georgia Mancio 4:53
I'm trying to remember when it was, but I'm not entirely sure because I think recently every time has morphed, isn't it? But to recap, in 2015, I must have been rundown because I got sort of sick, I got a cough that would not I couldn't shift this cough and sort of ironic with COVID. But obviously way before, and on and off, I had to cough and nine months. And eventually, I realised that it was affecting my voice me literally from one day to the next, I couldn't suddenly pitch certain things. And the GP unfortunately was totally unhelpful and suggested I might have reflux and any number of other things that weren't, just didn't add up to be honest with with the with the issues, and eventually I got referred to ENT, and they're diagnosed a cyst, and said it was quite rare. There's about 10% of people who, from a persistent cough can develop a cyst. So if there's like an ulcer, you know, like something literally that you've just, you're constantly aggravating in the same spot. And so he said, because already affecting your your singing, not really my speaking voice, we just, we would have normally advised to do speech therapy, but because you're already beyond that, we would just have to cut it out, which I think is probably the freakiest thing for any singer to hear. And I wasn't at all prepared, as in I didn't know anyone who'd had a similar procedure. And you have all those worries of Did I do something wrong, and you know, everything that goes with it, it was kind of reassuring to know, it was something that was bad luck, really, but it's still the outcome is the same that you you end up having to have surgery and being stuck, not singing for a while. After the surgery, I had some restorative voice care with an amazing lady called Louisa Langston and quite intensive work actually. And then she she left the UK, she went back home. And I was a bit sort of distraught because I didn't feel like we'd quite got to the end of our work, even though I had been sort of singing gigging again. And she suggested Gillyanne. But I don't think you knew each other personally if I'm correct. She just knew you by reputation, have I got that right? Or
Gillyanne Kayes 7:25
That's interesting, because actually, we did. And I think she probably would remember, Louisa I worked with when she was at college as a singer. And she was referred to me because she needed a little bit of help. And that's how I met her. And I've often wondered if that was the reason why she got interested in voice therapy, and went off to be a speech and language therapist and specialising in working with singers. Because that was the Lewisham Voice Clinic, wasn't it I think?
Georgia Mancio 7:56
It was yes and they had a monthly professional clinic for vocalists or professional voice users. So that, you know, you went in with that level of understanding, unlike you know, with all respect, but your GP who, who couldn't really distinguish between your speaking voice and using it to sing. And that's the problem. And even To be honest, even the surgeon didn't quite understand the distinction and told me to to start singing again after two weeks after the op. And considering I had to stay silent for 10 days, complete silence, that was never going to be an easy transition. Louisa got it she she understood, she was very patient and very detailed.
Gillyanne Kayes 8:41
I think what's tricky for singers when you've had a cyst, and it's on a particular part of the vocal fold. Obviously, it's only on one vocal folds, not both, but it interferes with the vibration. And then because of the kind of the length and tensioning of the vocal folds, what then happens is that there'll be an area in your range, very typically, where it feels stiff, you know, everything is stiffened up because it's like after any operation, then you have to shake it free. And what I remember when we first started working together was that there was this dodgy area that you were kind of already navigating around, you know, you were managing around it by kind of backing off, which by the way, was a very wise strategy, but you really wanted to be more on top of it. And that's what the initial work was about. Wasn't it kind of shaking that free? Getting your confidence back in that area?
Georgia Mancio 9:39
Yes. And being sure you were doing it safely. I think. Actually, I didn't explain fully really what happened is by the time he came to do the surgery, the cyst had gone. But there was a lot of scar tissue. And I think that was more complicated a recovery than if it had just been the cyst. That, so this inflexibility was really, it felt enormous to me. But then I suppose you're so hyper aware aren't you of every change in your voice. And it's so odd to go and work with someone who's never heard you before? and say, have to explain, I can normally do this and this, but now I can't, you know, I can't. And yes, there's a lot of fear. I think that comes from damaging further or, you know, just getting getting back to where you were.
There's a sense of loss as well. Because if you were able to do something, and you were able to do it to a very high level, then not being able to do it, there's a real fear that you'll never be able to do it again. And that life will just be so much more narrow.
Georgia Mancio 10:44
Gillyanne Kayes 10:45
I think it's very easy for singers to say, but it doesn't feel like it used to. And that in itself can be a loss. And in sort of my practice, when I'm working with when I worked with you, and with other singers, to habilitate them kind of back ready for work. I'd kind of want to guide people towards Well, no, it might not feel the same. But actually, now we've got is a new you, we're building a new set of sensations, and eventually you will be able to rely on them. And I know from having listened to historical recordings of yours, you weren't doing anything to cause that cyst.
That's very nice to know,
Not from what my ears could tell me.
Georgia Mancio 11:35
And I never I never was I was lucky. I think I never had I never had, you know, laryngitis. Nothing, not, you know, I used to be able to work a lot to two, sometimes three gigs a day, and never get vocally tired, in fact, sometimes get better get stronger. So I wasn't cavalier about my voice, but I wasn't super careful either. And this definitely taught me I think the phrase that is stuck mode is actually the show must go on is one of the most damaging things that you can sort of instil in in any performer actually, because, no, sometimes and not just for vocal reasons, for personal reasons. And we may well talk about them later. But there are times when you have to recognise you need to stop. Yeah, and I think ironically, this year, everybody's had to do that anyway. And you think, Well, for starters, the world doesn't end, you know, it changes, you'd have to adapt. But also you have to recognise don't you when, when you personally may be running on empty, and, you know, so maybe if I had had that cough, after a month, maybe I would have thought I shouldn't be doing this gig, I should have more rest in between, I should not talk, you know, whereas I just carried on a normal life. So maybe in that sense, it you know, it prolonged, prolonged it, prolonged being ill, that, then caused a problem, it's just you just carry on with that mentality of you must always do the gig.
Gillyanne Kayes 13:13
I really appreciate you sharing this actually. Because, as we know, there are loads of singers out there who have voice problems, I had a voice problem myself when I was a young singer. And people can feel guilt, they can feel shame, they feel fear that they're going to lose their work that their you know, their reputation is going to be ruined, etc, etc. plus all the grief for something that you felt you could rely on before because your voice is part of you. And there's that sense of you know, suddenly you can't, you can't rely on it anymore. And that's very challenging, I think for singers.
Georgia Mancio 13:53
Yes. And I think sorry, you're right about the sharing. I did speak to somebody after the fact that she'd had a different voice issue. And maybe at the time, I was too focused on needing to speak to someone who'd had exactly the same to understand the recovery because it turned out to be so much longer than they had sort of indicated. And I didn't talk about it publicly, I kind of felt all of those things that you've you've mentioned. And also I think it was just maybe that sense of you're so focused on getting back getting back that you're moving forward and you don't really want to spend any longer than necessary. And it was probably when when I did your course your your your one day or half day on my singer has a problem. Learning about all the other different types of voice issues that you can have, obviously ones that you might cause yourself or that happened with bad luck like mine. But in the end, the psychology is probably similar. In that you said as you say there's a grief there and a sense of what next and how you adapt and how you take the good stuff from it. And there certainly has been good stuff from it. But, yeah, I think it is important to talk about I mean, really important and that you think was there this strange stigma where if you're an athlete, you wouldn't think twice about saying, saying it's a real oddity. And that's what that was, the only thing I could relate with that show must go on mentality. Because you don't say that to a footballer.
Gillyanne Kayes 15:28
I mean, speaking from, you know, my side of the pedagogical community, I think there's also armchair medics saying, Oh, well, you know, if they had worked with me, this would never have happened. And I think that we teachers, our route can be guilty of voice shaming, you're going to have a voice problem, if you carry on singing like that, you know, or people who maybe go for one session with a new teacher. And the teacher says, Ah, you got a voice problem you know. Well, I'm sorry, but if you haven't looked inside, you don't really know. So I think all of that is in our culture. And although you've kind of developed more in a in a jazz culture, where I think maybe there may be more freedom than there is in musical theatre and classical, in terms of voice use, I think that kind of it sort of bleeds across into the training industry, and it needs fixing really.
That's really interesting. I want to come to the fact that you went through the habilitation process. And I first of all want to say to both of you, congratulations, because what a great job you've both done. I mean, your voice now is so flexible, and also so precise, which I think is amazing. And we're going to hear another track from your album, which later on, which I think is lovely. I want to go to become almost like getting back into performance again, and also the writing that you do. How did what you went through affect your writing? Or did it?
Gillyanne Kayes 17:19
Hmm, good question.
Georgia Mancio 17:22
Um, it's funny, because I must have done because it. In fact, I mean, what happened is just I got notification that I was having, of the date for the op, I think, the day before I was due to record an album, not, not this one, obviously. But our previous collaboration, which was songbook we recorded in 2015. So all happened in the same year, it was such a strange psychology. So I had done a lot of writing before. And maybe at that time, it was a good focus, but I don't actually remember, I think it's a bit of a blur, to be honest. And it might be because I really did try and just move forward once once it was done. But that said it was at least 18 months, two years before I felt Okay, this is you know, I mean, not being married to that. Can I say blooming the steamer you know, I must go home and steam or you know, all the social impact as well was enormous. it you know, it's a funny how it relates to COVID. Because you knowing how knowing that I had to go home or not talk in a break on a gig, because that was more tiring than singing. And the rooms I was working in often, you know, really weren't conducive, if they weren't concert settings. It was just a background gig. So I think it probably fed into writing in the in the sense of writing felt so untainted from all of that stress. But maybe it took a while to process that, but writing the wishes felt less emotion, ironically, less emotionally erratic, it's my writing is emotional and very connected to, you know, to things that happen in my other people's lives. And I really want to get into the nub of all of the messy stuff of life. I don't want to write in a sort of generic way, but I'm able to sort of somehow be less clinging on for you know, gosh, if that gig wasn't good, and you know, you start analysing and comparing yourself and it can be so destructive. I think writing is is more straightforward in that sense. So probably I was able to use it as a release in that sense.
Gillyanne Kayes 19:52
That that is very interesting. And your lyrics I mean, particularly for this album have been described as heartfelt. I don't know we've got a lovely What's the one from if we got that lovely quote from Women in Jazz? Yeah,
"The two artists work in such perfect symmetry our ears and minds and hearts are theirs. They have struck such beauty and perfection." That's an amazing quote.
Georgia Mancio 20:13
It is that was such an amazing review. Yes, Erminia Yardley, great writer and such, she just felt so emotionally connected to the album, I think, particularly at the time that it came out, which was we, you know, we've been a year into, into lockdown. And I think she just felt it sort of helped her release something and understood a lot of the themes and could relate to a lot of the themes.
Before we go to your second song, which is actually the title song of the album, I want to ask you, because you're working in the same field, but in three different areas. So you've got performer, you've got recording artist, and you've got lyricist,
Gillyanne Kayes 20:54
and performance and you know, production Yes, you know, you're a curator of of a festival. True, you know, with the rejoice
ReVoice. ReVoice and Hang
Gillyanne Kayes 21:10
Georgia Mancio 21:12
ReJoice is good. I think I thought rejoice at the time, you made that thing.
Gillyanne Kayes 21:17
And in a way, what's interesting is that you're not just a singer, and how did you move from being a singer into a lyricist? and, and all of that, tell us...
Before we go there before that, I have a very specific question for you. I want you to imagine in your mind, the end of performance, the end of the festival, the end of a recording gig, and producing the final version of the lyrics. Do they all feel the same?
Georgia Mancio 21:47
Oh, gosh, that's a great question. It's not all feel exactly the same. No, I think, the end of anything live. There's that mix of exhaustion, but really happy exhaustion. You know, like when you've done a really good bout of exercise, and you're enjoying that moment, and you're a little bit hyper still. And you're also thinking oh I'm kind of looking forward to having a cup of tea and cuddle with my cat, that definitely has that association with coming from a gig, you know, and the after gig and blah, blah. Ending recording always feels a little anticlimactic, because you're really tired in a different way. But then I don't know it's a bit deader, isn't it, you don't have that you don't have the other people around, you know, at the end of a gig is, is the nicer thing, because then you can connect to the audience. And you know, you I love to do that chat, sell the albums, whatever, but just to talk and get feedback, because, you know, you're at the point, isn't it? You're doing it to connect to other people. And whereas I think with a recording, you're all just thinking is that done? And you're worrying Have I got it, you know, did that piano squeak in the right wrong place? Finishing a lyric? Yes, I think I suppose it's because I'm writing with other people, you know, collaborating? There's always that sense that I'll send something off, say to Alan and and not always be sure it's finished. Because you know, I'm waiting for him to say, yes, no, or can you change that line, that word. So you kind of don't want to get too hung up on that's it, that's definitive? Because sometimes it isn't, and sometimes we've both gone back a while later to change something here or there. Not not often, but we have. So there is sometimes that sense of, Oh, you know, it could still be a work in progress slightly. And maybe the same goes for recording because you know, you've got then all the post production to come all the artwork, everything that makes into a product, whereas a gig is the best to me, because that's it, it's done. And I love that and then you move on and the next night or the next year, whatever has its own flavour, and it doesn't have to keep on reliving, reliving, it's sort of already happened.
It's really interesting is the idea
Gillyanne Kayes 24:16
It's a bit like writing a book in a collaborative way, because it's a collaborative thing. It takes time, it has to gestate, you have an idea you're working with someone maybe with a slightly different energy and a different take
And it's also when you think about a performance, a performance, everything leads up to the performance and it's a single event. And you get that launch up to it, you get the event itself and you get the come down, the sort of release of energy at the end. When you think about a book or a lyric or something that is in development like that. It's a much usually not always it's a much longer slower route and you don't actually get to the... you don't ever really get to that peak point. Yeah, I mean, that closest that you get is the release of it. Yes, like the release of the album or the release of the book. But it's, it's, in a way, it's a much slower route.
Georgia Mancio 25:12
Definitely. And even because when I work with Alan, we're in different time zones, because he's in New York, I'm in London, that has an impact, because sometimes I'll send him something while I'm going to bed. And sometimes I'll be disciplined and switch my phone off. So that I don't see why the answer does he hate it? Or because I think it's good send it go to sleep, forget about it, you know, sometimes, you know, if I send it a different time of the day I am there is that direct, you know, contact. Because he's usually very quick. He doesn't wait for days to you know, make a decision. It's, it's instant. So you know, that can that can impact it. Sometimes you need to have that distance.
Gillyanne Kayes 25:53
Yes indeed. Living with the co-author.
Georgia Mancio 25:59
Do you email each other late at night.
Gillyanne Kayes 26:02
We do actually. We do email each other.
Georgia Mancio 26:05
Yeah, it's good to have it written down as well, to clear your be sure of your thoughts, yeah,
I want to go near to where Gillyanne was about to go, which is lyric writing in general. How, what, why, where, when?
Gillyanne Kayes 26:20
Yeah. Why did you start writing lyrics? Because I mean, it sounds like yours isn't a typical journey as a jazz vocalist.
Georgia Mancio 26:31
I think mine probably hasn't been a typical journey in anything to do with music, certainly. And writing I think, happened almost the same way that singing happened kind of, by chance by, you know, suggestion, by encouragement from people I trusted. And the first lyric I wrote was when I was doing a three month residency in Dubai, in 2001. So this is 20 years ago. And it was with a fantastic jazz trio, or we were a trio. And we were doing, I think, seven gigs a week, we had a day off, but two gigs on the last day. And the pianist I was with a fantastic pianist and writer called Tim LapThorne had written this beautiful, very simple piece, although it was in 5/4. So it was simple, but not that simple when he came to write, and he kept playing it, and I said, Oh, it's so lovely. I, you know, I love it. And he said, Well, why don't you write the lyrics to it. And it was almost like someone, because they'd suggested it, they gave you the permission to, to do it, I really had never thought of myself as someone who would end up writing. And I think it's just because I wasn't in any way dissatisfied with singing other people's songs or other people's words, it didn't occur to me, you know. So I spent a long time on that song because, because like I said, it was in 5/4. So it wasn't as obvious and as simple as I first thought. But it was very simple in that it needed to have very strong lyric that didn't impose too much on the melody. But but was also kind of economical enough to, you know, to stand up in with few words.
Those are very hard to write!
Georgia Mancio 28:21
They are and I had no idea because I hadn't written it's only now that I can see that those songs take me much longer than you know. And with Alan, we've written from the sort of slow ones that you from our last album, to, you know, much more complex sambas or bebops that are quite wordy and twisty that I would have thought would have been harder for me. But actually, in the end, somehow you get a flow from them that you don't you've got a bit more time and space to to have multiple ideas. Whereas as you say, when it's really simple, it's so hard because you, you know, you need to cut all the flack. So
Georgia Mancio 29:03
Yes, exactly. So that's how it started. And then we wrote a few more together, we recorded sine 2010 on an album I did called Silhouette. I wrote one which is the title track, which is a lyric to an another existing instrumental by another wonderful pianist and composer Kate Williams. And then we ended up working together properly and writing together just a couple of years ago, and did an album called Finding Home. And in the meantime, I've just been writing the odd lyric here and there to basically instrumental jazz tunes that I liked. And often those composers weren't around anymore to tell me if it was really not what they were thinking, but just to sort of get some practice. And then
Georgia you've skipped over something very, very nicely that I am going to come back to it. Finding Home.
Georgia Mancio 29:55
2020 UK Parliamentary Jazz Awards the best album
Georgia Mancio 29:59
It did! I still waiting for my slice of pizza. And it was the most unglamorous award ceremony because I don't think everyone was fully zoomed up by then. So there was nothing. We didn't even have zoom Awards. Nothing was just the sort of pre recorded announcement and it felt a little bit of an anticlimax. I think they're twice this year. But nevertheless, that was incredible. Actually, yes, we won Best Album. Because it was an album that really meant a lot to us both me and Kate, we'd we'd put a lot of time and effort and tried to push ourselves out of our comfort zone quite a lot. I think writing wise and performance wise. And it's a big project. There's it's a string quartet and a jazz trio. And then her father who's the esteemed guitarist, classical guitarist John Williams, he was the guest as well. So it was quite a production.
I want to go if you don't mind, I want to play another track.
Gillyanne Kayes 31:05
let's talk about
Gillyanne Kayes 31:07
let's do that because now I'd really love Georgia to talk about some of the themes in Quiet is the Star so if we listen to some of the title track?
and this is the second half of the title track, Quiet is the Star
Georgia Mancio 31:25
"As I close my eyes I see the sky, I watch the birds go by. They seem to tell us: we too can find which way to follow, which ties to bind. And in their flight, in tomorrow's light, so quiet is the star, tonight."
That is so lovely.
Gillyanne Kayes 33:01
Oh, you have such great breath control. I think I remember us talking about slow heartbeat and breathing with that slow heartbeat to set the atmosphere.
I have a comment about this. You know this for me because I'm going to nerd now I'm going to do voice nerd stuff. You're use of diphthongs in this song is amazing.
Georgia Mancio 33:28
Oh, thank you!
You do slow transitions. And I am so pleased to hear somebody do almost a whole song of slow transitions. It's so poised when you do these slow transitions. And you have so many diphthong words in here on the long notes night sky by eyes close bind and light tonight, there are so many of them
Georgia Mancio 33:51
I'm glad I didn't think of this before cuz I would have got completely hung up
But it's so nice because I talk about them in the coaching that we do. I talk about how you deal with diphthongs, fast transitions, late transitions. And I talk about slow transitions and very few people do them and it's so nice for me now because I can use this track as a lovely example of somebody doing really good slow transitions. So thank you
Gillyanne Kayes 34:15
Permission please. So
Georgia Mancio 34:17
I love it.
Gillyanne Kayes 34:19
Georgia tell us...
Georgia Mancio 34:19
The birds by the way, are they Welsh birds or Italiansand I can hear some coming through at the end on my headphones. It's charming all the way through that.
We had the door open
Gillyanne Kayes 34:30
birds sing, birds sing when they hear singers
Georgia Mancio 34:34
Even chickens come to the door and listen when we have singers
Georgia Mancio 34:40
They're saying I can sing better than that, listen to my diphthongs!
Gillyanne Kayes 34:46
Tell us a bit about the themes because I think you've been very much sort of you know, praised it feels that Quiet is the Star has something really important to tell us in it. In this particular time, even though I know some of the songs were written quite a while ago, tell us about the themes and what they mean to you.
Georgia Mancio 35:08
I think the summary would be that line right at the end, the ties that bind, you know, and which, which are the ties that are important, which are the ties that we have to accept, we need to let go of, whether by force or by choice, and, yes, the whole album was written and recorded in 20, late 2019. So before any of us knew what was coming, and which was obviously Lucky for us, because it was done. But it is amazing how it suddenly became so even more pertinent. And, and on a personal note, I had lost my mum, at the beginning of that year, and that's my second parent. So, you know, I was suddenly in a different sort of grieving situation than I had been when my dad had died six years before, because it suddenly, well, it was just different in every way, actually, you know, but trying to make that sense. And I've spoken to a few people who, you know, who call them, well, adult orphans, you know, and how you start thinking more in a way about them, and what maybe they were going through at your age or, you know, more of them as about them as rounded people than just your parents and your connection to them. So, yeah, I think, also that's trying to make sense of these situations that we're thrust into that, probably not many of us are that prepared for, or even when we've had the experiences, we're still not prepared, because every bereavement is different, and every kind of loss is different. And you can be surprised at how, how they, you know, how they take you, or how long it takes to get to the similar situation, or, you know, how short how quickly you get back to the same point. So I think it's part of that thing of writing something truthful and writing something meaningful, personally meaningful, but it's also universal. And Alan is very good at... right from the beginning, actually, he was always very good at suggesting that there be this balancing point. So that you're not writing something that's so wholly personal, that no one else could kind of, it's a bit too secret, almost as someone can't quite delve into that level of your experience, there should be a sense that, you know, and especially now, we're, we're thinking more about other people singing the songs, you want to someone else to be able to put their interpretation on it. And certainly you do as a listener, so why not? Wouldn't why wouldn't you want to do the same for somebody else singing your words, you know, you need to be able to hear them in someone else's voice, which is, you know, not going to be the same as in your voice. So I think primarily, the themes are, you know, about loss and what you what you can gain from the loss from any kind of loss.
That's fascinating, Georgia, because what you're talking about is your own personal emotions, feelings, experiences, but then running it through something that says, We are all a community. You know, there are many people out there who feel like I do, or who have had the similar experience that I've had
Gillyanne Kayes 38:29
It's sharing in humanity.
Georgia Mancio 38:33
I found particularly when I was first bereaved, when my dad died in 2013. It was very, very quick. It was traumatic on lots of different levels, partly because he died abroad, you know, a long way away from where I was from from home for me. So there were a lot of logistical difficulties, everything kind of made it difficult without even just the experience of it being my not my first experience at bereavement but first very serious experience. And I just felt at a loss, pardon the pun as in there didn't seem to be any kind of barometer of how you're supposed to feel, or people would say these platitudes to you which were utterly meaningless and not that helpful. Or worse, sometimes, people were so unbelievably insensitive. You were sort of left shocked, you always find at a point in time, I almost felt like I was going a bit crazy that, you know, I shouldn't be keeping on having these feelings, because it wasn't like it wasn't talked about. And I remember just feeling very isolated by it. And you know, as time has gone on, and I understood how normal all of that is, if I ever I know someone has been bereaved, and I understand by the way that if you haven't been through that experience, it is hard to relate. And you don't always know what to say and that's fine, but then just say I'm really sorry. Are you okay? Anything that's not insensitive or, or a brush off. So I would always now try and say, you know, something to someone, you know, you're not alone and you know, to make them feel like they can talk to other people about it. But as a society, I think we're terrible at it. Really terrible
Gillyanne Kayes 40:20
I think we're hopeless talking about death, I know that, in fact, my dad passed away at once when, you know, when we were working together, and I can remember working on some of your songs, and you know, both of us filling up and and I will say, from, from a personal point of view, how nice it was to work with someone who is a writer and a singer who clearly had gone through the process of understanding what that is like? And, yes, I think it is very hard. Unless you've had that experience, and because we don't talk about it, and we don't share it, yes, then we have no, we have no barometer. And I suppose what I like about these songs is that you're not afraid to go there and choose those things. And I'm sure that they, they will have helped a number of people.
Georgia Mancio 41:22
Yes, I think that it was a similar sense of isolation that I'd had after the voice op, you know, the irony that you don't, you literally can't talk to anyone about it, or you don't feel that you should, because there isn't that sort of, I hadn't found that sense of community, you know, I didn't kind of know where to look for it. And also just sometimes you it's more tiring trying to explain to someone how you feel, you just go inside yourself and kind of keep it inside. And definitely writing has felt cathartic. It's probably why I didn't quite relate it to you know, when you asked me about, did I find writing useful at the time of the voice op? I don't think I made that link then. But I know, I definitely made it later on, in thinking about, you know, when my dad died, and when my mom died, just dealing somehow with this ugliness because there's nothing, you know, when in any way it happens. It's it's pretty seismic, and it's, it's pretty devastating, to come to terms with you know, and use the loss is the loss, whether they're, you know, 93, you know, or
Gillyanne Kayes 42:31
Whether you expect it
Georgia Mancio 42:32
Gillyanne Kayes 42:33
Georgia Mancio 42:36
and eventually, is something everyone will have to deal with. And, you know, you just think considering that we should all be much more versed in it. And if there is any way that you can help reach out to someone or preempt that, you know, by the way, just think about this at some point, and this is gonna happen and have some tools, you just feel like their social skills should be part of our skill set that we have some way of dealing with it. Maybe it's partly because I have no religion. So I didn't have that either as a as a sort of comfort blanket, where you can say, oh, they're in, that whole "you're in a better place" thing, if you don't believe you don't have that either. So you are a bit left with Okay, what now?
I think it's interesting, because there are I think people are not used to the idea of thinking of bereavement, even though literally everyone on the planet will either go through it or die at some point. Yeah. And that means that they sort of don't know where they stand, and they don't have any tools to work with.
Georgia Mancio 43:41
And they don't... and I certainly didn't understand that the impact it has not just psychologically but physically on you the toll it takes you know that that sense of exhaustion and confusion, I remember that, the just not being sharp and not being alert about things having a sort of sense of slowing down, which is like walking through, you know, mud as a thing.
Gillyanne Kayes 44:06
Yeah, because the brain is processing... that the brain is processing the grief. And so you get into this kind of fog. And I think that's quite typical. I remember being very irascible, after my dad died. I mean, more than usual.
Oh, right. Yeah.
Gillyanne Kayes 44:24
I'm just wondering, Georgia. I mean, obviously, you know, your mum was a special person because she was your mum. But there were also certain aspects of your mum that I think have influenced you. And the way you think about life and social justice and social conscience. And I know that you've said to me that Tell the River has has a bit of that theme embedded in it. And I wondered if you'd like to talk about that.
Georgia Mancio 44:49
Yes. You are spot on though. I mean, if I if I got my sense of social justice from any way it would, it certainly is from my mum, because I remember even as a kid going on marches and things with her. And you know, my dad used to have an office in Stockwell. And we, she, she showed us the the Brixton Riots to sort of, you know, highlight what was happening and why it was happening. And I'll never forget, because a policeman came up to her and told her off, you know, are you think this is a sensible thing to do, to show your children? you know, really patronising and probably wouldn't have said it to a man. But anyway, that was a long time ago, I guess. But I think, yes, he or she didn't do it in a heavy handed way. Either way, it was just there. And so I guess I grew up with that sense of, you know, think looking not being blind to injustice, and you know, trying to have a sort of caring attitude and Tell the River was directly inspired by a really a horrible story that just really got to me. And there have been sadly too many before and too many since. But specifically, it was the story of a young African American woman called Sandra Bland, who was arrested, supposedly on a traffic offence in the States. And because it was all captured on the body cam, you could see the arrest, you could see how it escalated to something incredibly vicious very fast. And then she was taken into police custody. And I think two or three days later, she it was ruled that she had committed suicide in the cell. And as far as I know, there still hasn't been any, you know, payback for her family as to what really happened. It was another one of these awful stories that we hear a whitewash before, you know, culminating, obviously in George Floyd, Floyd and that sense of justice At last, but it was just that thing of imagining, well, who is that person? Who was that woman? Who what might she have become? What? What have you taken away? Not just from her, but her, her, you know, her future family, her whole community? And, you know, what? What is that? What does it mean? What, you know, when that's if somebody's life is cut short, in such a way, and more so that they you know, that there's not going to be any retribution for it? You know, and it certainly wasn't the first time and certainly, sadly, won't probably be the last. And I also had that sort of, you know, what can can you do anything at all about these situations, and I've tried, done a lot of charity work particularly for child refugees in the last five years, and you feel like, okay, yes, sometimes there are things you can do practically hands or feet on the ground. But it is hard, you get you to get disheartened. Because, you know, really to affect proper change, there has to be institutional change. And it has to come from a much bigger source than you know, a few people rallying or going on marches. And you kind of need to do everything all at once.
There's something Georgia which is very interesting about music, as a whole, which is music has the ability to do that it has the ability to cut through boundaries,
Gillyanne Kayes 48:11
As a vehicle
and to make people think, and I want to talk about Tell the River, because the lyrics themselves are amazingly strong. And you can listen to the track on so many different levels. And I think that's what I'm really hearing in the album is that you can listen to all of these tracks, on different levels, so you can enjoy the music, you can enjoy your singing, and Alan's playing, which is extremely good. And then you can look at the lyrics and listen to them and take them in. And then you can hear the backstory behind the lyrics. And that gives it a whole new depth.
Georgia Mancio 48:42
Which is really fascinating. So there are many levels that you can listen to this. This music,
Gillyanne Kayes 48:48
I'm just thinking about these lines now that I was wondering about, which is tell the ones that follow on they're worthy. Yeah, till the time they overcome our spirits must believe.
Georgia Mancio 49:01
Yeah. I mean, I knew obviously, at the time, you you don't you don't preface these things with by the way. This is, I mean, we have in the album I've wanted to write, you know, in our book, where we've published all our songs, now we've written you know, what we felt each song is about, and then you know, somebody might never read that, and certainly might interpret it in another way. And that's, as you say, is really important and valid as well. But sometimes I think you really need to be specific as well. So if you if you are going to perform, if I'm going to perform it, I want to preface it and say, This is what it's about, because I want to be sure I'm talking directly about the issue and not and not sort of brushing over it. And that really happened with Finding Home where we wrote a specific trilogy about, you know, my experiences either firsthand or sort of learned experience working with child refugees. And we wanted to say this is about this specifically, let's not skirt around it, and then we can tell into something positive, we can tell you about a charity that will support this issue. If you're interested, you can support it too. And I've been thinking a lot about this in the last couple of weeks with this new backlash about the England football team, taking the knee and I actually feel that we should be doing more as a music community, as a performing arts community. If footballers can do that, and I think they've been phenomenal, actually over COVID, and certainly over Black Lives Matter. I thought, well, why are we not doing that before a concert? And I literally thought it last night, but you know, why don't we start a concert, when we can be going back to doing them now, taking a knee and saying, this is a statement we want to make because we're we're making it in solidarity, and it's an important thing to us, and not be afraid to immediately put out a political statement as a statement of intent for us.
Gillyanne Kayes 50:58
And if people don't like it, and they don't want to come to a concert where things like that are mentioned, then then they can leave. But the point of art is actually to change society as well as to share feelings and evoke feelings and responses in other people. You know, I think I said we're saying in the recent West End thing. Gosh, I forgotten it's
the show must go on
Gillyanne Kayes 51:23
The show must go on. Yeah, yeah, it's, you know, it's not a passion. It's a profession. And as such, we are influencers in society. So I completely agree with you actually,
I want to ask you, Georgia, if you've got any advice for people who are looking to be on a similar track to you, yes, that's a good place to go.
Georgia Mancio 51:48
I think probably the thing I found most valuable is is trying to learn as many aspects of the industry as possible. Because you get such a, such a broader idea of what is going on. And certainly when I did ReVoice, that that happened, it was like a, you know, accelerated course in that. And you know, you learn how much you leave to other people to organise and sort out, and how much you can do yourself, you might not like it, you might rail against it, but you might actually find you enjoy it. But at least you know that then later when you work with somebody else in that situation, you can you can direct them or you can, you know, argue if you don't think that they're doing something properly, or if you know, and I worry a little now with the way, you know, we're coming back into work. And it's been a long time. And you know, we've heard already quite a few horror stories about West End theatre and musicians and cast members being effectively dumped or expected to hold on to their jobs, but they're not being paid. In the meantime, all that orchestra has been reduced. And I think that will, there's an issue with that in our field as well, where there's live streaming as part of a gig now, and are you being, you know, recompensed for it properly. And you know, all of that. So the more you know about these areas, the more you you're sort of informed, and you're not just thinking as this block of, I'm a musician, and I just don't think we can afford to do that anymore. Because we're expected to know so much about you know, social media and, you know, production of an album, that it's good to, to empower yourself with it. And I think it makes you able to collaborate better as well, because you recognise what's what you need from somebody else. And you know, what you really don't do while yourself
Gillyanne Kayes 53:46
You're not just waiting around for the gigs, that I mean, that's the thing, you can wait around forever for those gifts and come back. And they're not going to and you're very much proactive.
There's an element of taking control of your life, in all of that, because the more you know, even if you just know certain aspects of behind the scenes in various areas, there's an aspect of taking control of your life because you go, I understand how that works. I'm not interested in doing it, I get somebody else to do it. But at least I know what I'm supposed to ask them. And also you discover yourself what your own talents and interests are, and you go, I am interested in doing this. What do I need to do to make this happen? And that's also what I see throughout your career is you've gone "What do I need to do to make this happen?"
Georgia Mancio 54:31
Yes. And you said, you know, you when you find out that you actually do really like something that you would never have maybe tried? And I could say that about writing I didn't have I never had that ambition. I really didn't. And people would always say Oh, do you write your own songs, especially when they're outside of the jazz genre where it's not maybe so usual to write your own material, but in other genres, it's much more common. You know, if I hadn't had that start because someone had to helped me a lot, I suggested it, then, you know, that whole side of my career would never potentially never have happened. And same with, you know, ReVoice I wouldn't really want to do it again, not for a while, because it was very all consuming, but I feel really, you know, proud that I did do it for five years, you know, and I, I understood, you know, that whole side of production and, you know, and, you know, I feel like that helps you sort of look for excellence in art in other shows that you do, and to have a broader vision and it makes it more interesting for the audience and more involved with the audience, involving them, you know, and that's, sometimes I think, in jazz, we we forget the audience a little bit, we take it for granted that there are a certain level of, you know, understanding the context of the music, that that's enough. Whereas,
Gillyanne Kayes 55:53
I think that's a very good point.
I just want to let people know how they can find out about you.
Gillyanne Kayes 56:00
So first of all, the album is called
Quiet is the Star
You've got Instagram handle @GeorgiaMancio and you can click on the Linktree in the bio to put together the album. Facebook GeorgiaMancioMusic, Twitter GeorgiaMancio, YouTube GeorgiaMancio, and I have the link as well. And you're on Bandcamp as well. GeorgiaMancio.bandcamp.com
Georgia Mancio 56:24
Yes. And Bandcamp is the best for us. Well, to be honest, my own website is the best because then it's straight no commission, but if not Bandcamp have been amazing over lockdown doing Bandcamp Fridays, where they waive their fees. They're properly musician friendly, compared to Spotify. That's all I'll say about them.
Okay, and your website's GeorgiaMancio.com?
Georgia Mancio 56:46
Excellent. We've come to the end of this, which has been really actually, it's, it's been interesting. It's been thrilling. It's been really fascinating. And we are going to change our rule. We always play out with the jingle. But this time, we're not going to. This time we're going to play out with the whole track the whole title track Quiet is the Star.
Gillyanne Kayes 57:08
So you need to sit down listeners, and breathe gently
Gillyanne Kayes 57:13
and listen to the music and listen to the diphthongs. Georgia thank you very much.
Georgia Mancio 57:22
Thank you so much.
Georgia Mancio 57:24
"As day turns to night, I watch the sky, I see the clouds go by. They seem to tell us: we too will pass, we're only travelling from first to last. And as they flow, in tomorrow's glow, so quiet is the star.
"As I close my eyes, I see the sky, I watch the birds go by. They seem to tell us: we too can find which way to follow, which ties to bind. And in their flight, in tomorrow's light, so quiet is the star, tonight."