Many places in the US are opening up, other places like Toronto the city where electro-RnB infused songstress Geneva resides are still living with restrictions and stay-at-home orders. So as the pandemic sets in for another year, artists are still arting any way they can and we’re still craving new music. Geneva is one of those artists using the pandemic to her advantage and producing fresh tunes. 

Her latest song Smoke & Mirrors with production by Toronto’s SLWJMZ is a mood as the kids say these days. I’d even go as far as to say it’s the mood of the pandemic. Realizing some people aren’t what they may seem, the song laments a friendship breakup with intimate lyrics and a dark and moody vibe. It’s introspective yes, a look at being your true self despite the judgments of others. Yet it feels so outward, too.  

The past year has left many with extra time to reflect, Geneva included. It’s forced us to make conscious choices about who we want to spend our time with. Add to this, the constant politicizing of even the most basic public health measures, the rapidly evolving science of COVID, police violence, and mass shootings. The world feels both hyper-real and very surreal. It’s a time of more questions than answers. We all feel it when Geneva sings “Hard to tell what’s real around here.” She’s talking about proverbial ‘frenemies’. Yet, I can’t help thinking about navigating the wealth of information and misinformation along with the opinions of others on everything these days. It can become very overwhelming. So much around us might just be smoke and mirrors. 

Geneva’s video for ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ directed by Jerisse de Juan.

The video directed by Jerisse de Juan for the song is a sexy take on this surreal world. Smoke billowing and mirrors reflecting the singer on set, all in black and white. It’s a glimpse into Geneva’s inner world. Yet, when I watch I’m reminded of the outside world. It’s been a year in greyscale. A year of smoke on TV screens from neighborhoods burning and from the weed I smoke to numb the pain of all the horror. A year of seeing our own faces reflected back to us on the mirrors that our Zoom calls. How do I have a conversation anymore without seeing myself? 

I believe the best art is created to simply tell a story in the most entertaining fashion an artist can muster. This song tells a very simple story, one of supposed friends’ who betray you. Who can’t relate to that? We all can. In its simplicity, Smoke & Mirrors taps into the unbelievable world we find ourselves in. It’s not trying to be a song about the pandemic. Which is precisely why it’s so fitting for right now.