Caddy Cooper is a country, blues and folk singer songwriter from Western Australia who is currently resident in the UK, Caddy's latest album Outside the Wire has received rave reviews and radio plays worldwide. We recently met with her to discuss her inspirations and plans for the future.
So Caddy, you trained as a classical soprano, played parts in some pretty heavy weight musicals and now with your breed of acoustic blues, country and folk, story telling seems to play a central role in your life.
It always has. One of my most inspiring and visionary drama teachers often said that cavemen began singing, crafting instruments and dancing because stories have always and will always require forms of expression beyond speech.
Storytelling runs in my blood. Growing up, my parents played an awful lot of the great singer songwriters; Carole King, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Eva Cassidy. I figured out pretty quick that my friends at school thought it was totally uncool so I went in the opposite direction and fell in love with the the elaborate storytelling of musicals. But you can't run from what's in your soul and telling other people's stories just didn't quite fit right. At 25, I decided to make a profession out of my songwriting and everything just fell into place. I'm so blessed to do what I love!
On Outside the Wire, there a folky quality that whispers throughout and reveals itself poetically through "Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter", but there is also a lot of country, blues and even some reggae. Did you set out to make the album this diverse in terms of genre?
I'm a songwriter and I tend to write in whichever genre will best accommodate the story I'm trying to tell. Pair that with the fact that I have the attention span of a five year old and it's pretty clear I would find it really restrictive and difficult to release an album with just one genre.
There are a lot of subjects too!
(Laughs) Yes, when I finally had sometime to reflect on my travels, the stories that held the greatest weight and interest for me were all about people's resilience and ability to carry on with their wonderfully intricate lives despite things like war, poverty, adversity and major change. It's nice to write someone else's story rather than your own every now and then.
The infamous second verse of Get Onboard (first track on Outside the Wire) is a fairly dark and profound twist to an otherwise upbeat song: What inspired that?
Get Onboard encompasses the message of Outside the Wire. In 2014, I made the decision to say yes to things that frighten me for the sake of a more passionate and fulfilling life; to step outside my comfort zone at take the bull by the horns. The song is about making a start on achieving your goals right now. The second verse of Get Onboard is one of the many guises of that ideal. I've met a number of people facing situations similar to the one detailed in Get Onboard over the past few years and often, victims feel that the courage to leave is just too much, it's too scary and too unpredictable so they stay and the problems worsen. I wanted to make a point of the fact that no matter how bad things get, we always have the choice to change it!
As I may have hinted earlier, my favourite track on Outside the Wire is the spectacular, understated and achingly beautiful "Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter". After many listens, I know the story is about a soldier in a 'boy meets girl' scenario but why involve this particular story of the ANZACs?
The ANZAC centenary commemoration was in April this year. It's a hundred years since ANZAC soldiers landed on the beach at Gallipoli and faced one of the most poignant war tragedies in Australian history. My Mum and Dad live in Albany now which is where all the ANZAC ships came together before setting sail to meet their fate. I heard the story of Fay Howe the lighthouse keeper's daughter who allegedly fell in love with a soldier before he sailed away and they never saw one another again. Fay Howe(pictured Left) isn't around anymore, but she was a real person; Alive when traditional folk and sea shanties were a dying art form but still fairly common place in Australia. Her story moved me so much, I had to write a dedication to this tangible part of history.
You said in a recent radio interview that your first album Snapshot was 'a long time coming', but your second release Outside the Wire came in quick succession. Was it easier this time around?
Snapshot was the culmination of years of unreleased work. I hadn't been brave enough to take the leap and get recording until then so, yes, it was a long time coming. Subsequently, the tour for snapshot was really intense. After visiting nine countries in 2014, I began to feel that I was spending so much time experiencing; there seemed to be no time left to reflect. And by July, I hadn't written a single song; terrifying for a songwriter and really unusual for me. When I came back from Afghanistan, I could feel the creative fires burning again and it felt right to share some stories. The album poured out of me in a matter of about five days. An album a year feels like the natural rhythm for me now so I guess that's what I'm aiming for.
So nine countries and saying yes to things that scare you in 2014. What lies ahead for Caddy Cooper?
The Outside the Wire tour has been intense but wonderful so far. I have absolutely loved playing some new venues and returning to other little gems from last year. As much as last year was all about getting out and experiencing everything new, this year, I have been really enjoying coming home. I love my home and my creature comforts and last year's experiences have really taught me to appreciate what I have. Things will quieten down on the tour front just a little over the summer as I'm in the studio at the moment putting the finishing touches on a Live EP and there are plans in the pipeline to record another album or two by the end of the year. But the gigging heats up again in the Autumn so I'm enjoying the natural ebb and flow of what life throws at me.
Details on tour dates, album releases and general Caddy updates can be found via www.caddycooper.com or the following social media
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