Some Q&A with New Zealand's ALY COOK
Thank you so much for spending some time with us here today at Bsquared Magazine. Where are you located now and where are you originally from?
Kiaora I am from and in Aotearoa (New Zealand) I live in the top of the south lsland Who has been your greatest influence along your career?
I have had many, I thing being born and raised in Aotearoa had a real impact working around Maori musicians like the late Tama Renata influenced me in harmonies, I had a girl with a powerful voice I grew up with in my life as a child the late Katy Holland who started me on a road to wanting to be a singer. I loved listening to Neil Young, Peter Paul and Mary, Bonnie Raitt but also liked artists in the blues and jazz field like Billy Holiday and Randy Crawford so I guess I had eclectic tastes and that made me quite eclectic as an artist
What is your latest and greatest achievement?
Well having my beautiful 3 children . Nothing tops that, but certainly being a finalist for Next New Zealand Woman of the Year and opening for Melissa Etheridge, REO Speedwagon and Huey Lewis and the News at the Summer Concert in Taupo, New Zealand. Along with meeting and being on the bill with Roseanne Cash in Poland are highlights for me on a musical level. I work with many artists as a publicist also in partnership with Key2 . My achievements in this area are also rewarding, anytime I manage to get an independent artists into a mainstream media outlet ie on TV or in a woman's magazine or mainstream outlet .I find this rewarding on a personal level, as it's so difficult to achieve. I have managed to make great inroads with this.
What have been some of your greatest challenges?
As a late starter overcoming ageism, I roll back to nearly signing to a major label at 29. I still have the email that says "She looks great, She writes Great songs, She has a Great voice BUT she is over 25 and we don't sign anyone over 25" . Once I got past chasing signing and just making music things really looked up. As an indie artist trying to get media exposure, as I said above is difficult. Video play and airplay for the music. It's very hard to get over the line. Building a fanbase is difficult when you can't get any mass exposure, it's a very chicken and egg situation.
I also occasionally work as a publicist on major tours for example Andrea Bocelli in NZ and Australia and Tommy Emmanuel. So this means I sometimes come in the door to those media outlets with a 'big fish' that they actually want. So this has helped to open doors that I have pushed independent artists through.
What would you say to your younger self if you could?
Play more, work more and don't get held up by empty promises. Keep moving forward. and just BELIEVE! Make a rule for yourself that you 'cast lines' everyday. That is you pitch your music to somewhere or pitch for a festival. It's like fishing, sometimes the line comes up and the bait is not touched, sometimes the bait is nibble and sometimes you land a small fish and occasionally you land a biggie! Set yourself a goal of an amount of cold pitches to radio, festivals etc and never give up. I pitched one Australian festival for 9 years and when I finally got in I did it for 3 years in a row. As a writer just keep writing songs!
What are you most looking forward to in 2021?
Hopefully a better world where we an travel and things can go to some kind of Normal. I'm hoping to write and make more music of course as well as get back to my normal of being able to travel, particularly to Australia and tour! Looking forward to releases upcoming from the Caught in the Middle album there are still more single releases and videos to come. Right now I have The Asquith Session release coming on November 27th . 'I'll Fly Away which I'm looking forward to sharing along with Treehouse Music Ft Aly Cook - 'Southern Christmas Stars' releasing on 'Merry Christmas New Zealand a compilation CD releasing in November. Lots coming up musically in the new year.
Any advice for others following in your footsteps?
Believe in your self ... Have Focus, Persistence and Enthusiasm, keep knocking on doors sometimes they open. Work with independent media like B Squared, as this is all we have and we have each other so when a community or college radio show plays your music or a blog interviews, make sure you spread it to your social media and fans. So that those outlets grow with you.
Do things for others without financial reward. I always find that good things come your way when you do that .
Work WITH other artists. We have around 50 artists we work with their releases. We try to encourage everyone to work as a team and a family. As an example we have a Spotify playlist we are all on it and we all play it . We click and comment on each others posts etc, We do stuff to support each other and that really helps everyone's algorithms .
How can our readers stay up to date with you?
Visit my website www.alycook.com.au
Like On Facebook www.facebook.com/alycookmusic
Follow on Twitter www.twitter.com/kiwialy
Follow on Instagram www.instagram.com/alycookz
Subscribe on Youtube www.youtube.com/alycook
Aly's PR and Radio Service www.key2artistpromotions.com.au