"I’m older, wiser, more confident and I like to think that each record I make uses what I’ve learned and lived. I think I get more honest each time" We chat with Rose Cousins
Canadian singer-songwriter Rose Cousins has taken a close look at herself on her fifth album, the just-released Bravado. It's unflinching and finds her at her most honest yet. We had the chance to delve into the songwriting on the album, and find out more about Rose and her musical journey.
Hey Rose, how’s your day going?
Not too bad today, thanks.
So... where are you right now?
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Tell us a bit about you, what do you do for fun?
Well I usually like hanging with friends and having meals, going to the ocean and for walks. I love having conversations about what’s really happening in people’s lives. I love baking and delivering it to people so I’m not trapped in the house with it.
You released your album Bravado recently, what can you tell me about it in two sentences?
It’s an examination of who we are to ourselves and who we are when we walk out into the world. How duality is employed in our daily lives.
Talk to me about ‘The Fraud’.
It is the song seed for the whole Bravado idea. The song itself an under-the-magnifying glass look at the real story. It triggered the idea of employing bravado sometimes as a tool and sometimes as an excuse.
If I only had three minutes to capture the essence of the album, what song should I listen to?
I’d like to think that any of the songs represent the theme of the record well but maybe 'The Expert' or 'The Reprise' or that combination. I don’t know I really think they are all a part of the thesis and yet each their own.
It sounds a pretty raw record, in terms of its emotions, what’s the one thing you’d want someone listening to take away from Bravado?
Take a listen to the story you’re telling yourself about your own life to see what is based on evidence and what isn’t, what serves you and what might be holding you back. This isn’t a one-time examination it’s an ongoing thing, in my opinion.
I was reading your interview with The Bluegrass Situation, what can you tell me about the songwriters retreat that you’ve been going to for the last few years?
It was born out of my Boston music community family coming together to make music and then taking it to a small island in NH.
It’s the most consistent, comforting and productive thing I’ve done for 10 years in a row. A precious, sacred and purposeful communion. Some years I’ve written three to five songs and a couple of years I didn’t write any but it always gets my brain in the right space to be creative. Many songs are on records I’ve made. I feel very much like myself among my peers and it’s a safe place to try new material out on each other, write together, swim and sleep. A usually rare and savoured slower week in an otherwise normally busy travel schedule.
What’s the key to writing a damn good song?
By my count - which might be off - this is your sixth album, what’s the biggest difference in you and your music from If You Were For ME to Bravado?
This is my fifth full-length record and I’ve made a couple of EPs in between. I’m older, wiser, more confident and I like to think that each record I make uses what I’ve learned and lived. I think I get more honest each time.
I blame Wikipedia for counting six... I usually ask, what have you got planned for the rest of 2020, but I’m not sure any of us know… so, what’s the thing you’re looking forward to doing most when things settle down?
I look forward to the connection that happens in the same room with people. I’m determined to use this time to be productive in self-care and in creating things. Learning how to record at home and figuring out what is most important in the big picture. It’s an interesting time of self-reflection and uncertainty.
Obviously there’s a lot of talk about equality in general at the moment, what’s your experience of being treated differently as a woman in your industry?
I arm myself with the knowledge I need to be confident in any situation, whether it be on stage tech talking to get the sounds I want or simply understanding of how all the facets of my business work. I’m an advocate for how far self-belief and hard work can take a person and have benefited from both.
Can you give us a taste of the kind of music you listen to in your spare time?
I listen to a lot of music all the time, every day. I’m interested in what is new in the songwriter world and I listen to all my friends’ music. I find myself tuning in to music on TV shows I’m watching and sometimes discover new artists that way. I really like the emotional stuff, great lyrics, melody, interesting and varied production.
If you could recommend one artist to hear this week, who would it be?
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
Strong, dark with a bit of cream.
Bravado is available now from everywhere you can stream music, and the best places you can buy music.