Taking a break from her day, the indie-pop blonde bombshell from Brooklyn, Courtney Cooper, answers some questions for The Other Side Reviews. Chatting about her new album WAVES, bad habits and her collaboration with Norwegian producer Jacoo. This is what she had to say:
OSR: Cliché, I know, but for a quick introduction can you tell us about yourself. Who is Courtney Cooper?
CC: I’m a Brooklyn based singer/songwriter and just released my album WAVES on August 24th. It’s a soul-infused indie-pop with electronic undertones.
OSR: Were you always interested in music?
CC: I was! From a very early age, I sang in my temple choir and also played the flute, though I didn’t really think of it as something I wanted to do professionally until high school.
OSR: There are has been a three-year break between your first full-length album, The Light, and WAVES. How do you feel, if at all, this gap contributed to a change in your writing processes and approach to making music?
CC: I’ve grown so much in the last few years on a personal level and it’s definitely had a huge effect on my music and writing. During that time, I moved from LA to NYC as well, so there were a lot of changes all around. I think the biggest change is really how much I’ve grown into myself as far as being comfortable in my own skin, and I think that really comes across in my recent music. WAVES is a genuine and honest representation of who I am in this exact moment.
OSR: Do you feel there is a great change in the style and concepts behind The Light and WAVES? If so, how would you define this difference?
CC: I had a really difficult childhood that left me with a lot of darkness. When I was writing The Light, I was finally beginning to shed my past and live for myself, but I was still finding myself. Now that some time has passed after shedding the dark side, I can truly be myself. When I was writing WAVES, for the first time I really felt like this is me; I am who I am, take it or leave it. I started writing music for me and getting back to why I do music because it truly is my passion; it brings me so much joy and soothes my soul. As opposed to times in the past where I’ve written more bubblegum pop because people in the industry were telling me that’s what I should sound like.
OSR: What was it like to collaborate with the Norwegian artist and producer, Jacoo?
CC: Collaborating with Jacoo was great! He is such a talent and has a great ear. Since he is in Norway, our collab was virtual, but he was very easy to work with.
OSR: If you could describe your latest album in one sentence, what would that sentence be?
CC: I’d say WAVES is a soul-infused indie-pop album with tropical ocean inspired vibes.
OSR: What experience are you hoping a listener will, well, experience when listening to your music?
CC: I hope the listener feels transported into a perfect summer day with great vibes.
OSR: If you think back to the first song you ever wrote. How did you feel when it was released to the public – scared, nervous, excited?
CC: The first songs I ever wrote were for my final project in the music production and engineering department at Berklee College of Music. I wrote and recorded my first three-song demo. Strangely, I wasn’t really nervous or scared to share because, at Berklee, you’re constantly sharing your music every step of the way with your peers and teachers giving you feedback, which has been a hugely helpful tool in life post-school. I don’t get nervous at all to share music, just 100 percent excitement!
OSR: Do you think it is important to connect with an audience when making music instead of merely pumping out songs?
CC: At this particular moment in my life, I think it’s most important as an artist to connect with myself. I think if you’re being genuine it really comes across in your music and people can relate to that. As far as writing goes and pumping out songs, if you’re going through something emotional or transformative in your life, the best thing, for me anyway, is to put it into writing. In the same respect, if I’m not feeling it, I’m not going to sit there and pump out a song I don’t connect with.
OSR: Say you had a time machine. Which era would you travel back to and why?
CC: Seventies. I would have loved to experience NYC during that time, especially the Studio 54 era. My longtime music mentor has told me so many amazing stories from the music industry at that time; it seems like it was a lot of fun and everyone was so free-spirited.
OSR: Do you have any bad habits and what are they?
CC: Oh boy…I pull and play with my hair when I’m nervous or anxious.
OSR: Is there anything about yourself you wish you could change? If yes, what is it?
CC: I’ve always had a hard time finding contentment and happiness. I’m constantly pushing myself and setting very high standards and goals. I never really feel satisfied, and I guess maybe it would be nice to just be content with myself.
OSR: What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
CC: I’m actually already working on my next project. I’ll also be doing a few shows and releasing two music videos supporting WAVES.
OSR: As a female artist do you have any advice for other female singer/songwriters trying to enter the music industry?
CC: Stay true to yourself! In the past, I wasted a lot of time changing the way I looked and sounded because industry exec’s were saying things like I should dye my hair dark and sound more pop. For a few years, I was really lost as an artist, and I wish I had never listened and stayed true to myself because I find myself going back to my original sound almost full circle.
OSR: Thanks so much for chatting with me, Courtney. I wish you all the best with your future projects.
CC: Thank you so much for the lovely opportunity!
Thanks to Courtney for chatting with us. To enjoy more of this lovely artist’s awesomeness, you can check out her latest album on Spotify.