"The sentiment of 'Define You' is the way I would want someone to treat me in love and how I would treat them" Introducing Coco Reilly
In a town dominated by country music, Coco Reilly is branching out from that. Her debut single, 'Define You', has definite elements of Nashville's core sound, but lends itself to other influences. Enough from us though, Coco can explain all.
Hey Coco, how the devil are you?
Hello! I’m fantastic. Thank you for asking.
What have you been up to today?
Just enjoying the joyful buzz of releasing music for the first time in a long while. It feels really great.
How did you get started in music?
I started singing as soon as I could talk. I played the flute for about 7 years in school and started writing music then. At age 12 I received my first acoustic guitar for Christmas and the rest was history. I pursued music when I was a teenager and quickly tired of the business side. I took a decade off and decided to start taking it seriously again about 3-4 years ago and now, here we are.
Tell us about your debut single, ‘Define You’, in two sentences?
The sentiment of “Define You” is the way I would want someone to treat me in love and how I would treat them. Musically, it is a warm, feel-good song with a subtle psychedelic undercurrent.
How would you describe your musical style?
I would say that I hope my music comes across warm and thoughtful.
How do you go about writing your songs? What’s your process?
I bring the finished songs to my band (Jerry Berhnardt + Dom Billett, and for this record, featuring Will Brown and Ian Ferguson) and then let them take creative liberties with their own instruments. I’m very careful about who I let into the inner circle, so when I bring people in it’s because I already trust that our minds work similarly enough that they can help me execute things I’m hearing that I may not have the technical skill to do on my own. Not only do they execute it, but they do it better than I could imagine and it’s a pleasure watch them work and learn from them. I think of each band member as a type of brain extension to fill my weaknesses. For example, I trust them so much I let them record a lot of the bass and drum tracks without me because I had to work and we were on a tight schedule. I would walk into the room after working and without a click track, they would nail the feel perfectly. That is a really special connection and I’m so grateful for it. It’s a perfect give and take. I love to just let them go wild and not micro-manage so everyone feels creative and free and then if we need to go back and trim some fat, or refine things afterwards if it doesn’t feel right to me yet, they don’t have their egos in it or get their feelings hurt. I lost my patience for ego battles a long time ago, I have zero tolerance for it. We all just want what’s best for each song and the album as a whole. I always say that asking other people to interpret your creative vision is like handing someone a brush and telling them to paint what you see in your mind. It’s nearly impossible for anyone to get it exactly right, but for me, this band is as close as it gets.
When should we expect to hear more music from you?
I believe I’ll be releasing a type of EP/Sampler in the late summer and then a tentative plan to release the full length early 2019.
How important is it to you to be a successful female in what is still quite a male-dominated industry?
Gender doesn’t really cross my mind in the context of success. However, I’m an advocate for equality. I don’t think in terms of us vs. them. I want all humans to have equal rights across all platforms, in or out of the music industry. If I am successful in my pursuit of music, I will be happy to be making a living doing what I love and I hope to be doing that on a level playing field. I did recently see that music festivals pledged gender equality in their lineups by 2022 and I thought: “Or how about just put more women on the bill next year?” There’s no shortage of us! It’s not really rocket science and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have to go through checks and balances. But hey, every little step counts.
What’s your take on the #MeToo movement?
I support any movement that holds human beings accountable for hurtful, illegal or abusive behavior. Period. I’ve seen some people look for things to pick apart with the start of every new movement but the fact is that at the core, these things start with the intent to improve our culture, the human experience and to alleviate suffering and I should hope no one would try to argue that that would ever be a negative thing. I understand that nothing is immune to the complications of nuance, but in general, in my opinion it is better to start a movement that will expose unacceptable behavior than to ignore it.
When was the last time you were starstruck?
You know, I’ve never been the type to get starstruck! I’m not saying that to sound cool. I have artists or people I respect deeply for sure. Maybe the closest I came was bumping into Paul Simon on an elevator in NYC when I was young. That day I had been listening to 'Everything Put Together Falls Apart' at work on repeat. I didn’t want to bother him saying something stupid, so of course, I did. I just shook his hand and said: “Your SNL Thanksgiving episode is one of the best.” He was very kind and laughed.
What can you tell us about living in Nashville?
Pros: The people and sense of community. Cons: I don’t do well in humidity. Overall, I’ve enjoyed my 3 years here immensely!
How’s the non-country scene in Nashville? Does it take a bit of a back seat?
I’m not sure if it takes a back seat because I’m standing in the middle of it so it feels like the main scene from my perspective. I think it’s probably thriving now more than ever. The beauty is that there’s a lot of collaboration and respect between all of the genres in this city, so as I’m sure it’s technically the smallest percentage of the music happening here everyone is so supportive it doesn’t feel like it’s left of center in a negative way or less than.
What was the last music you were listening to?
The Load EP by Michael Nau.
What’s the deal with touring, are you out on the road? Or planning to be?
I did a little touring last year but I hope to be back on the road full time by 2019 or sooner if the opportunity presents itself. I will be playing some festivals and shows through the late spring and summer.
What does the rest of 2018 hold for you?
I’ll be refining the record. Currently adding some finishing touches and then mixing but after that I’ll just see where the wind takes me.
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
“Do you always give such long winded answers?” My answer would be: Unfortunately, yes. But I’m working on it.
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
Black and in ridiculously small increments. I’ve always wanted to be a cool coffee drinker but I can’t get past a few sips without tweaking. I do love it though!
Thanks so much for your time Coco.
Thank you for yours!
If you want to find out more about Coco then you can visit her website. You can also take a look at her Facebook page, follow her on Twitter, or see what she's up to on Instagram.