We caught up with the super talented Netherlands based, Sudanese singer-songwriter Gaidaa, who recently released the smooth ‘Falling Higher‘, acting as the perfect teaser for the forthcoming debut EP “Overture”.
We spoke about lockdown, recalibrating and ‘big boy hoops’!
How are you finding the change in routine since lockdown?
Honestly, pre lockdown I was in a really weird space, so without knowing what was about to happen I was already kind of quarantining and in my own bubble. So at first I was pretty chill with having to stay home. I guess I’m kinda conflicted about the new routine. There’s something somewhat peaceful and liberating about choosing the pace of your day and genuinely having time yourself. At the same time technically the world hasn’t pressed pause on life, responsibilities, bills so that pressure to stay busy and be productive definitely lingers too.
What would you recommend people do in all the ‘spare’ time they are now experiencing?
Maybe this sounds obvious, but legit whatever you want. Especially now that a lot of our world has shifted into a digital space, I think more than ever it’s important to stay connected to the real world and to allow yourself to live outside of whatever device. I feel like people should just do things that make them happy as corny as it sounds. Things that actually feed you and energise you or give you peace. Of course most people will still have some kind of responsibilities, but don’t force yourself to do things. Do things that make you genuinely happy. This is the time to take ownership of our time, recalibrate our headspace and priorities.
What inspires you?
Living life to be honest. Sounds corny, but I find that I feel the most inspired when I’m not thinking about needing to create and not actively putting myself in any type of headspace. I am the most inspired when I just feel, when I experience. This can be going through shitty things too, real emotions whatever they are, inspire me.
Has being in quarantine affected your mental health in any way? If so, what do you do to overcome those feelings?
It’s been an emotional rollercoaster. I had a really hard time seeing people constantly being busy and seemingly productive (granted you only see what people want you to see online) and allowing myself to sit in this new ’spare’ time. It has been really strange and somewhat confronting. For me, and I’m sure a lot of other creatives, I’ve definitely gotten to the point subconsciously, my value is determined by my productivity. I think this isn’t necessarily the time to be the most productive for me. I think this is the time to unlearn the idea that I am worth how productive I am. The hardest but most rewarding thing has been doing a shit ton of emotional work. The same way this pandemic has shown us the flaws in a lot of the systems we have in place, it has confronted me with a lot of things I thought I worked through. I’m definitely someone who’s good at isolation, especially if there’s enough I don’t want to deal with haha. The biggest challenge for me has been being in isolation without truly isolating myself from the people I love. Opening up to people about how I’m feeling and what I’m going through has been difficult, especially during this time. Often I don’t want to burden people, or think no one will understand or want to hear it, but I’m learning to share, to be open and stay connected- not just superficially.
When you get a moment to PAUSE, what do you do for fun?
I started painting again. I’m shit at painting but I really enjoy it. Whether I’m in the garden or in my room, I blast some music and just paint whatever I feel like. I love it because I don’t have to be good at it at all. These days having something that gives me peace and puts no pressure on me whatsoever is a blessing. It’s been hard for me to actively write songs and “be productive”. When it comes to music, if I want to make music I usually just want to sing, not work on something specific. I guess music stuff still gives me some anxiety when it comes to feeling pressure to be good, or to deliver. When I paint, my brain is off. (Also I just started “Scandal”. Yes far too late.)
If you could be anywhere on earth, where would you be and why?
At this point I would want to be somewhere nice and warm with lots of vibes and water and green, which I’m not sure exactly what place, but imagine island vibes and waterfalls and shit. That sounds like the ultimate place to be. Sounds peaceful, sounds real. I feel so consumed into the digital world. I would wanna be somewhere that’s just good for me.
Describe a time where you took your fashion sense too far, or had a style mishap.
I don’t know if I’ve ever taken it too far. I’ve definitely had some risqué moments haha but- mishaps? I guess a moment I would consider a mishap, it’s not even that what I was wearing was ugly or whatever, but it wasn’t me at the time whatsoever. This is right when I moved to the UK when I was like 16. I came back to visit my family and to see my friends and I looked like a different person. All of a sudden my hair was straightened (badly), I was wearing way tighter clothes, had long pointy stick on nails, some big boy hoops, and everyone seemed confused, but I was kinda defensive about it at first. In retrospect I was having an identity crisis and wanted everyone to know I could be a girl too haha. I learned from there to just always do me, and dress in what makes me comfortable (both mentally and physically).
Tell us one thing from your bucket list.
I want to collaborate with my dad. He probably doesn’t even know it but I look up to him a lot and he’s super talented. We haven’t had the easiest path, but creating together (whenever it may happen) I think would be a super full circle and highkey spiritual haha. At the end of the day he’s probably the reason I sing.
Tell us something your followers don’t know about you.
I don’t even know what my followers perception of me is haha. I’m actually kinda curious. They probably don’t know that if I didn’t have a singing voice and had no affinity for music, the conspiracy theorist in me would have taken over my life lol. I would have most likely spent my time making documentaries and have a YouTube channel or some shit dedicated to conspiracy theories. Probably would have also dedicated my life to finding out if I can time travel or not (breaks my heart everyday most likely I won’t).
What can we expect from you for 2020?
Honestly I’m not even sure. I had a lot of plans and like most people most things got cancelled haha. All I know is music is definitely on the way and there’s some dope stuff coming out. What I can say is that although many opportunities have been delayed, I’m still taking some of this time to get better at what I do and grow. Usually Winter is prep season, but yeah guess I’m just trying to see this as an extended prep season. We’ll see what the rest of 2020 brings.