WPGM Commentary: Gaidaa On The Making Of Her New EP ‘Overture’

I’m Gaidaa and I’ve been working towards my debut EP Overture for a while now, so it feels really good to finally have it out. For years the word ‘Overture’ has come back to me, and I’ve named countless stories, pseudo magazine covers and even my tumblr ‘Overture’ and had already decided to call my first project this.

Quite literally ‘Overture’ means the beginning piece of an opera, or an introduction to something more substantial. To me ‘Overture’ is to reintroduce and recreate Gaidaa, not only to the world but to myself. It’s been a pretty hectic journey since I decided to follow my dreams haha.

The first song on the project is actually also the first song that was written. “I Like Trouble” was created very early on in the journey. I remember I was given the opportunity to open up for fellow Sudanese artist Bas when he had his Amsterdam show, but I literally had no songs, and didn’t want to freestyle my whole set the way I usually would.

My now guitarist Maria and I finally linked up after a year of trying to hang out jammed and ended up coming up with the main ideas for “I Like Trouble” and “Ride My Way”. After writing the song we performed it acoustically for months actually. Eventually i took it to Full Crate to help me turn it into a real song.

The song itself is definitely inspired from how I was feeling at the time. I felt like I constantly had to defend the things I believed in and wanted to do and wanted to try. I was also really in a space where i had to convince my parents that pursuing my career wasn’t just some bulls**t.

So this song is about being okay with making noise, taking up space, ruffling up the feathers, making your own decisions and making a mess on the way. The word ‘trouble’ often has negative connotations but the way i see it trouble is a gateway for change and growth.

Stranger” is about catching yourself in the midst of this change and growth and not necessarily recognising who you see. It’s also kind of a confrontation of the fact that we are ever changing and ever evolving. There’s a lot of layers to us as beings, and sometimes we forget that our identities aren’t 1 dimensional, we’re influenced by a lot of things.

Sometimes it’s hard though, you might be okay with knowing that theres many sides to you, some that you might not even know yet, but it can be confronting when everyone is constantly asking you who you are, when you’re still figuring it out yourself.

Jarreau and I had started creating the song, and i knew Saba was gonna be in town, so I hit him to come thru, and he did. Legit I barely even explained what the song was about to me, and he hit it on the spot. Yeah big shoutout to both Jarreau and Saba for this one.

One of the earlier songs “Ride My Way” was also one that was performed acoustically for a while before actually being recorded. It almost didn’t even make it onto the EP. When we recorded it the first time i felt like it was really cool but was too produced up or something. I basically shelved the song until I performed it for the first time with my band.

I fell in love with the song again, and we recorded it fully acoustic. A lot of people think this is a romantic love song, but if it’s a love song to anyone it’s to myself lol. “Ride My Way” is basically a letter from myself when I’m in a healthy headspace, to myself when i’m not.

The song is my reminder to take it easy, not to focus on the little things that stress me, and to just enjoy life and the things it comes with. When i wrote this i was definitely in an anxiety driven headspace where every little problem held so much weight, and it was pretty draining. “Ride My Way” is my reminder to breathe.

Morning Blue” was a pretty heavy song for me since it exists out of a pretty intense situation. The song initially came out with the ‘Colors Blue for Sudan’ campaign that was done to raise awareness to what was going on in Sudan at the time.

Sudan and its people were on the streets protesting and going through some horrible things. I am Sudanese, though born in the Netherlands, the last couple of years I’ve been revisiting and actively reconnecting with my roots.

Not being in Sudan it was easy to feel useless, and helpless. I guess this was my way of trying to do something. Sudan’s people have managed to peacefully topple a 30 year dictatorship, but we still have a long way to go.

The way “Interlude 47” got onto the project is kind of weird, and I don’t really have a clear explanation actually. But in short, basically the EP was supposed to be finished already and I really felt like the project was missing something, but there was no time at this point.

One thing led to another and I basically had a moment with God or something, it was very spiritual, I can’t really explain it. This song I had started recording months ago came back onto my path, and it just really aligned with how I was feeling.

“Interlude 47” is a preview to the song it will one day be haha, but it’s about knowing that there is some kind of guiding spirit or whatever you want to call it, which you must trust, to know that things happen in order for you to learn from them. As soon as we surrender to the idea that the universe got us, there is a lot of peace of mind.

My best friend ambushed me on a call with my management cause I was too scared to bring the song up, and now it’s on the project haha. So shoutout best friend.

For a while I actually had no idea what “Still Water” was about, as weird as that sounds. I knew it was about something and I liked the song, but I didn’t fully connect to it until quarantine times in March.

I realised this song is about the in-between, when nothing exciting is happening, and nothing dramatically bad is either, and you’re just left with yourself, when everything is still. It’s important to nurture yourself in those spaces too.

Initially often my in-betweens would become lows. I wouldn’t know what do with myself, or I’d become too confronted with myself, and run, I couldn’t just sit in my stillness. I’m very different now and the songs meaning has evolved with me. “Still Water” is about going with the flow and enjoying the silence.

Falling Higher” is a super special song to me cause it was written in a time where I couldn’t believe the things I was experiencing and was in awe at everything that was going on around me. The song is literally about feeling like i was ‘falling higher’.

I was in New York for the second time ever, and I remember the first time I went (two years before that with my mom) I was like next time I’m in New York it better be for music; and it was! I was in New York doing sessions, meeting my management, going to meetings, I felt like holy s**t i’m living my dream.

Initially I wasn’t gonna be able to finish the song in New York cause I had to fly back, but super last minute, my trip got extended and I was asked to perform at COLORS’ first ever live show in New York. The day before recording the song, I had my first show in the US, so I was pretty shook.

“Falling Higher” is about feeling like the world is throwing me all over the place, and I have no control of what’s going on, but finding out I’m being thrown in the direction I’ve always wanted. It’s about my dreams coming true in real time.

I think “Say Yes” was the most fun I ever had recording. Joshua J is literally one of my best friends in the world, so when we met up, we were just hanging out, we weren’t actually trying to make a song.

The EP was already finished and about to be uploaded actually, and it was just me Joshua, Maria (guitarist), and Segraphy (my art director/best friend) who was simultaneously making my EP cover on discord in the hallway haha. We’re just hanging out, and then all of a sudden it’s 5am and we’re like “did we just accidentally make a song?“.

We called my manager and he was like “yo I need you to send us this in the next two days it’s going on the EP“. So we literally didn’t sleep for like two days straight and just wrote and recorded and worked on production, and bam, then it made the EP.

The song is the last one created in the journey as well and it reflects how I feel these days. It’s about making ourselves open to receiving good things in the world by making the active choice to no longer make fear based decisions. “Say Yes” is about allowing ourselves to listen to the clues and tune in to the things the universe might be trying to tell you and to just be more open and receptive.

Hopefully this is enough of an introduction haha. Excited to continue the journey.

Listen to my Overture EP below!

Words by Gaidaa // Follow her on Twitter + Instagram

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