Things Aren’t Always As They Seem in Geneva’s “Smoke and Mirrors”

Toronto’s electro-infused R&B songstress Geneva commands attention from listeners with not just the earnestness of her lyrics or the candid nature of her sexuality, but by effusing knowledge of the self by unapologetically embracing who she is.

Her intrinsic, powerful performing talent has remained strong in each endeavor throughout her life. Geneva boasts years of unrestricted experience as she expands her growing list of capabilities and accomplishments. As a songwriter and performer, Geneva’s electrifying output has only grown more ambitious with each release.

Flipping the page to the latest installment in her ever-growing music catalog, “Smoke & Mirrors” is the ambient single that hones in on a reflective framework induced by moody elements. Geneva’s alluring vocalization pulls you into the enticing essence of her sultry timbres. Exuding an extensive range where she effortlessly hits each note in an eloquent manner, we’re fully absorbed in the unapologetic persona that she portrays through vibrant instrumentation produced by Toronto’s superlative SLWJMZ.

Each musical component seeps into your speakers as the array of synths, drum patterns, and pads illuminate a mysterious atmosphere that thrives in complexity for Geneva to share an intimate narrative with listeners. The thesis of the intoxicating melodies radiated from “Smoke and Mirrors” reflects proverbial snakes slithering in the grass. Inspired by shady individuals and skewed situations that deteriorate the illusion of trust, we hear the intricately crafted lyrics scripted by Geneva play into the facades that have rivals masquerading as friends.

Undoubtedly being the bright light in the burgeoning Canadian music scene, Geneva is innovative with the dark soundscapes she brings to life. Fixating ourselves on the rich harmonies that overflow into the final chorus, Geneva’s high octane panache fits the scheme of the fully-loaded arsenal she can call “Smoke and Mirrors.”

Congratulations on the release of “Smoke & Mirrors.” We love the theme of the song and the soundscape that directly ties into the elements you portray. Could you please take us into the moment or story that inspired you to write a song of this caliber?

Aw, thank you so much! I'm so glad to hear you love the song -- it's obviously a really personal one, so knowing other people are relating to it is just the best feeling. I first started writing "Smoke & Mirrors" in January 2020, so it took a little time to materialize; it's really cold and dark around that time of year where I live (Toronto), so it's kind of this introspective time, even pre-COVID. I used that more somber, self-reflective energy to fuel the mood of the song. In terms of what inspired the song, there is definitely a specific scenario, or scenarios, I referenced to channel the emotions I'm conveying in the song. I am someone who loves really hard and goes hard for people around me, but that energy isn't always reciprocated, and it can be disappointing when it's not. There's that expression you can't always expect from other people and it's kinda true like we automatically do that and then disappoint ourselves when people don't behave how we would in that same situation. At the time I wrote "Smoke & Mirrors," I was witnessing behavior that was just really not jiving with me and I had to walk away, like despite wanting to keep things "cool" you just have to keep things real sometimes and tell people what's up if they're disrespecting you or knowingly crossing your boundaries. I think this is a good litmus test for who you should be keeping around you though; like for me, I need people around me who I can keep it 100 with, if it's not that, it's then I'm good to part ways with it. Life's too precious to keep lukewarm ass people around you.

What inspired you to make “Smoke & Mirrors,” the first single release of yours in 2021? How does this song shape what we have in store from you?

"Smoke & Mirrors" is an interesting release because it's a standalone single not attached to a full album...but it has enough panache to pull its own weight. I have a full-length album in the works at the moment, but I knew I had to give people a taste of what I'm up to lately, I've really focused on quality over quantity the past few years. The new music is really fresh, really modern sounding, but at the same time it's steeped in all the music that's inspired me, all the 70s and 80s funk and soul vibes, electro, house -- I call my music "futuristic throwback," and I feel like it's going to really be exemplified in this upcoming body of work. I've been working on refining my craft as a songwriter, so really zeroing in on how to make, like, underground pop hits if that makes any sense LOL. "Smoke & Mirrors" serves as a good appetizer to what I have coming up on the menu. Heartfelt, honest songwriting, catchy lyrics, head-nodding bops! There is a Circle Research remix of "Smoke & Mirrors" coming early summer that I'm really excited to share with you too, it's somehow completely opposite of the original in the best way possible. I don't even know how it's the same vocal, it's crazy. How was your experience working closely with producer SLWJMZ in order to give this song its compelling desired sound?

SLWJMZ is so talented! Not only is he a producer, but he's also amazing on keys, so he brings that musicality and creativity to his production. The biggest thing you can ask for in a producer is for them to just read your vibe without a ton of verbal communication and for them to inherently understand the sound you're going for as an artist. When we first started working on "Smoke & Mirrors," we just vibed out in the studio on that dark January moodiness. I am a big fan of Three 6 Mafia, 90s gangsta rap...I had an N.W.A. cassette in high school that I fell in love with. But anyway, that rumbling bassline and the drums on the track kinda emulated that harder influence. I think the vocals are a nice contrast to that heavier sound. The team I worked with for this song are all top-notch pro's so they are a huge reason it sounds as good as it does. I'd be remiss not to mention my vocal engineer Yuri Koller and mixing engineer Jay Dufour, both of whom's work on this song is just astounding. These guys are both legends in their own right. And Greg Mindorff the mastering engineer has been my dude for years, he's amazing.

Let’s talk about the music video for a moment. What can listeners expect when they flip on the screen and prepare to take in the visual component? What was it like on set filming the cinematic showcase?

Honestly, I hope they take a moment to really take in the video and its artistry -- so much time and energy went into creating this! I think it's really unique and original and I'm really proud of the whole team who worked on it. Director Jerisse de Juan had the vision for creating this really stripped-down, minimalist aesthetic for the video -- very sensual, voyeuristic, and intimate. I think we achieved that mood and I think it matches the song really well. I have been working with Jerisse for years, she also directed my last two videos, so I feel like as a team we just keep getting stronger and stronger. Shooter + Editor Robie Nepomuceno has also been with us on this ride and has also been integral in terms of continuing to evolve artistically in terms of the output. In terms of the set, looks can be deceiving! We managed to pull off this shoot with a small team, in a small-ish space, for what would be considered a small-ish budget as far as music videos go. We were able to achieve this level of quality by sheer creativity, tenacity, and dedication to the vision! And lots and lots of talent and time, of course ;) The vibe on set that day was dope, I hand-picked everyone who was there that day, and I think everyone was gunning to get the best-finished product possible which is exactly the energy you want when it comes to creating. I'm really excited to hear what your readers think of the video!