Interview: CoAnn

While it feels like yesterday, it has been 5 years since Eclectic Pop first spoke to Courtney Randall. In the time since then, a lot has changed for the up-and-coming singer-songwriter. Now going by CoAnn, her self-titled EP has debuted today (August 10). In time with its release, CoAnn has discussed her EP, artistic process, and new stage name, among other things, for her interview with Eclectic Pop.

It's been over 4 years since your first interview on Eclectic Pop, what has changed the most for you as an artist, since then?

CoAnn: Wow, has it really been that long? Things have changed a lot for me in my carrier as an artist. In 2015 I attended the ACAP “I create music” expo and it was there that I learned of Berklee Online, an extension of Berklee College of Music. I decided to put the release of my EP on the back burner and focus on my education.

After applying and auditioning, I was accepted into the school and in 2016 I started my degree in professional music. Taking classes through Berklee has been a game changer for me. I have come to learn so much about the industry and my artistry and have developed a career plan for myself. Without Berklee Online I would not be the artist that I am today and I will forever be grateful for that.

Has the style of your music changed in any way?

My style of music has always changed with each song that I write. However, I have always drawn influences from mid-century rock/pop, jazz, r&b and indie. I would say that the older I get, the harder I have to push myself to open up with my lyrics, however being honest remains the most important aspect to me with my songwriting. I always want to be transparent, I want for those who listen to my music to be able to connect and relate to my writing.

Since your last interview, you have transitioned to a new stage name, how did you settle on it?

Yes.. I guess you could say I decided to use a stage name. Deciding on what name to identify with as an artist took me four years. I have a unique situation where after releasing my music, there was an artist with my same exact legal name who released original music as well. It started to become confusing with account names, etc. and I honestly felt like I lost my identity. I wanted people to associate me with a name that was unique and my own. After many, many, thoughts and ideas I settled on “CoAnn” short for Courtney Ann, my given name!
[Image by Kim.Rose.Art]

As a singer/songwriter what has been your most rewarding experience as an artist, so far?

I think one of the most rewarding experiences was making my first music video for “Paralyzed” with one of my good friends, Cinematographer Peyton Scot. He was so incredible to work with, he really listened to me and brought my vision to life. I recorded "Paralyzed" four years ago and to finally have given the song a visual story was so exciting and I am so happy with it. We are currently working on my second music video which he won’t show me yet, but I know it’s going to be incredible! I can’t wait for everyone to see it!

Let's talk about your new EP, how long has it taken you to craft?

The EP as a whole took me eight years however, most of that was procrastination out of fear of releasing it to the world (but here we are!) The last interview we did I had written three out of the five songs on the EP; “Smiling Down On Me”, “Still The One”, and “Once Again”. I wrote and recorded the three of those songs within a few months. It was then a few years later that I wrote and recorded “Paralyzed” and “Worlds Apart”.

The two of those songs were written piece by piece over a few years. Each verse of the two songs are related to different experiences and it was a really cool experience to see how well the pieces fit together. The music for my EP was finalized four years ago and I’ve just been holding onto it since then, waiting for the right time, the right name and the final piece of the puzzle was the album artwork. I was so torn as to what to do for my album artwork. I wanted something simple, something that would represent my artistic style and I had no idea what that would be.

After a late night of scrolling through Instagram I found Kim.Rose.Art an incredible artist and her sketches were breathtaking. I knew right away that is who I wanted to design my album artwork. So she drew a sketch of me based off of a photo that my mom took! I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!

When did you start writing the songs for it?

I started writing for my EP when I was fourteen. I had dabbled in songwriting a bit, but only for fun. James Lugo, my vocal coach/producer asked me one day how I felt about writing a song. To that I responded “why not”, and we wrote “Still The One”. From then on, I haven’t been able to put the pen down.

[Image by Kim.Rose.Art]

Is there a song from your new EP that holds a particularly special place in your heart? If so, why does it?

I think that “Smiling Down On Me” will always be the most emotional and personal song that I have ever written. Growing up my family experienced a lot of death of loved ones. It was really confusing and hard to process at a young age and all I really felt was grief and loss.

As I started to become a teenager and thinking back, honoring those who passed, I started to really feel a connection to them and their lives, I wanted to acknowledge that their spirit will still live on. I didn’t plan to write “Smiling Down On Me” it just wrote itself.

I had written the melody for the song and had some simple guitar chords and a click track on my iPod that I would listen to when trying to write the lyrics. I was sitting down one day outside of a coffee shop, listening to my click track and this woman walked by. She had a warm smile that reminded me of my Nana. I felt this connection to my Nana in that moment and through tears I penned “Smiling Down On Me” in under ten minutes.

A few days later I went into the studio around midnight and recorded a “rough track” (I sang through the song once just to have it recorded). At that time my Papa was not doing well and I wanted him to hear the new song that I had written. My mom was able to play “Smiling Down On Me” for him, minutes before his passing. I am so grateful for that.

I have tried to go back and record “Smiling Down On Me” as a final recording for my EP but it has never sounded the same. When you listen to my EP you may notice that “Smiling Down On Me” sounds a little different than the other songs.

That is because it was recorded several years before the others, and on a completely different microphone. The connection that I have to “Smiling Down On Me” is surreal. I don’t think I will ever hold a song so close to my heart.

Out of the songs on the EP, which one came together, the fastest?

As I mention above. While it took me months to find the inspiration for “Smiling Down On Me” I wrote the lyrics in less than ten minutes and it is the only song that I have not tweaked the lyrics on to some degree.

What do you hope people experience when they listen to your music?

I hope that people experience joy more than anything. I hope that they can connect to my music in their own way, that it may relate to their lives and their unique experiences. I hope that they may find an escape in my music, and that they are able to hear what they need to hear. I hope that my music may better their lives, if even in the smallest of ways.

Eclectic Pop would like to thank CoAnn for taking the time to do this interview. For more information about CoAnn keep scrolling!



Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / YouTube: @CoAnnMusic

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[Featured Image is the EP art for ‘CoAnn’ designed by Kim.Rose.Art]