COCO O. ON KEEPING THE MUSIC FLOWING THROUGH THE GOOD AND THE BAD
photos / Michelle Genevieve
Listening to Coco O—one half of the Danish duo, Quadron (along with producer Robin Hannibal), makes me feel like I’m gliding across the floor at Studio 54. Her voice reverbs against my wall like a 70s runaway soul train.
The world was introduced to the group in 2009 and they instantly became fanfare amongst the world of music, picking up some famous fans such as Jay-Z, Adele, and Mark Ronson, Tyler, the Creator, amongst others.
In between their next album, Coco embarked on a solo project full of heartbreak, strings and her powerhouse voice to ease her broken heart.
We catch up with Coco O. about her history with music, her new EP Dolceaqua, and navigating the world while trying to keep the music flowing.
When did you realize you could sing or that other people loved your voice?
When I was in 6th or 7th grade I had a school performance where I got to sing a verse of a Bill Withers song and I remember the energy in the room shifted when I started singing. That’s the first time I felt the power of performing.
Who did you look up to growing up?
I always adored Michael Jackson, he was my first musical crush but when Lauryn Hill came out with “Miseducation” I really admired how cool she was. She had the voice of an angel AND was a badass Rapper and she really had something to say.
What is a song that you always have on repeat growing up?
So many. I really always adored Georges Michael’s “Jesus to a child” it broke my heart when I was told at a young age that it was written for his lover Alselmo who passed from HIV only 6 months after they met and fell in love.
What have you learned most about yourself from navigating the “industry”?
The is gonna sound like a cliche, but the one thing I really learned is to trust my gut feeling. There is no right or wrong to navigate from when you deal with labels and managers. Each artist has a different dream and journey to get there, for me it’s all about learning to how to love the process since you can never know how people will respond to the product (the music, videos etc.)
How have your family and friends reacted to your success?
Everyone has always been really supportive. None of my close friends in Denmark are in music, so sometimes especially when I was living in LA they had a hard time understanding exactly what I was going through and what touring is like, I think people tend to think life on the road is a bit more glamorous than it is in reality, but thats cool, I
dont understand completely what their jobs are. all about either, haha!
What influences you the most (it can be anything)?
On my latest release “Dolceaqua” I was really inspired by the mellow softness of Bossa nova, so I went to Brasil and jammed with a bunch of local guitarists and wrote the songs. Generally traveling is a great influence of
new sounds and ideas.
Do you have any mantras you say to yourself when you are having a bad day or feel stuck?
I like to tell myself that “its only music” and I shouldn’t take it so seriously, so what if people hate my next release, there be plenty more for them to love, again, its all about loving the process:)
What is your background? You grew up in Denmark. Is that where your family is from?
Yes born and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark. My father is half Tanzanian, thats that’s I get my tan from:)
Did you have any creative breakthroughs when you moved to LA?
Yeah! I think I learned to open up more, and not be as shy as I was before. People in LA dont have time for that, so I learned how to be able to perform on the spot even though I still find it intimidating.
How have you changed the most since you started getting positive feedback and fandom from your music?
I think the biggest change is that its harder to have the same naive approach to writing music, when you know there is people out there expecting and waiting for something. and some people might want it to be more uptempo and some people might want the opposite. I really have to shut the pressure out of my head and focus on my musical intuition and just hope that people can follow where im going with the music.
What are some of your dream goals?
My goal right now it to create a sustainable way for me to be able to continuously write and release music. I realized how important it is for me to share whats in my head and my heart with people, so I wanna find a way where I can keep the flow going no matter where I live and what I’m doing with my private life. I just need to release music in order to feel happy. That’s the main goal.
If your latest album Dolceaqua was to have a muse, what would it be?
Unfortunately, it would be my ex boyfriend whom I wrote these songs to. I went on a trip with him to the small village in Italy called “Dolceacqua” on that trip we fell deeply in love, so I named the EP after that. It was a terrible breakup, but it felt good to make it more physical with the music I feel like its really helping me to let go.
What is next from and for you?
Im trying to finish the next batch of music and just keep the flow going:)
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