Who is Ashley Cooke? The singer-songwriter joined us to chat about her journey to country music. Get to know the rising star here…
This week we are sharing an artist with you that you should already know! Since the very beginning of her young career, we have proudly championed the talented singer-songwriter, Ashley Cooke. Today, we are sharing with you all about her journey, straight from Cooke herself!
“I grew up kind of all over the country, to be honest. I started playing music and writing songs when I was eleven years old,” began Cooke. “In moving around all the time, music was kind of the only constant I ever had.” Although she coins, Parkland, Florida as her ‘hometown,’ the singer’s childhood helped her find her way into music at an early age.
“I started writing songs kind of as a coping mechanism and I loved poetry even as a kid. […] I started writing poems down in journals and really was obsessed with lyrics, and poems, and rhyming and that kind of stuff,” shared Cooke.
Despite her parents not listening to country music when she was young, she knew it was the right fit for her when she discovered it. “Lyrics have always been my passion and my love for music, and honestly that’s kind of how I found myself in country too,” said the singer, adding, ” I really got to find country was, one, through Taylor [Swift], but also through the songwriting and the storytelling that came from that genre.”
Both Swift and Rascal Flatts were some of Cooke’s early influences in the country genre, both inspiring her to write music that made someone feel something.
At eighteen years old, instead of pursuing music, the singer headed to Nashville for a different reason. She attended Belmont University to study communications and marketing, a degree that would later help her in her blossoming career.
The Turning Point:
During her senior year at Belmont, Cooke entered a contest called ‘Country Showcase,’ on a whim. According to the singer, the contest was a huge deal for emerging artists. “It’s like the end of senior year milestone goal, where they choose 4 artists to play, and you play 2 originals and 1 cover song. […] People like Brad Paisley, and Florida Georgia Line, and Chris Young have won this competition.”
Cooke went on to win the competition, catapulting her to focus solely on music immediately upon graduation. Armed with a desire to cut her teeth in Nashville starting in 2019, she found herself without gigs to play, when the pandemic hit in 2020.
Like many of us, Cooke went home to Florida to quarantine with her family. It was then that she discovered a little app called TikTok. “I started posting on TikTok genuinely out of boredom during the pandemic,” shared the singer.
“The first video that I posted was called the ‘lay me down challenge.’ […] I was one of those weird anomalies where my very first video went viral. It got over 2.7 million views, seemingly overnight.”
She spent the rest of quarantine using her degree to really learn the platform and give her new fanbase the music they were all begging for. “For the first time in music history it feels like, labeled artists were on the same playing fields as unsigned artists because we all had the same ways of sharing our music and breaking new songs.”
At the end of the pandemic, as an independent artist, Cooke met her now manager, Rakiyah Marshall, and started releasing music and booking tours that all artists would dream of, including Cole Swindell tour and a Jimmie Allen feature.
Flash forward to today, Cooke is a newly signed Big Loud Records recording artist! “I only signed my record deal with Big Loud three weeks ago, ” the singer shared at the time of our interview. It is truly incredible how much Cooke has worked hard to accomplish in her young career.
Most recently though, the singer announced that she is going on tour with Brett Young, who is also featured on the new version of her hit, “Never Til Now.” “I wrote the song with my friend Matt Roy, who also has written a bunch of other stuff on my project,” shared Cooke, when asked about the song. “We wrote the song just me and him, powering it out in my living room. He pitched the idea originally, and I was going through a really tough break-up at the time. I was like, ‘honestly, all I want is the kind of love that you are talking about. It just catches you off guard, real, not cheesy, just someone that loves you and is there for you.’”
Originally, Cooke posted a TikTok video of her simply pointing to the romantic lyrics slide by slide. Little did she know, the song would soon go viral and fans everywhere were using the beautiful song as their first dance and wedding song.
Because she always heard a feature on it, Cooke asked her produced Jimmie Robbins, who would be a good fit. He suggested Brett Young, and the rest was history. “I felt like adding another voice to it would really elevate it.”
Cooke’s staying power is only going to increase over the next year and many more to come. She is here to stay and we are proud to have named her a 2022 Artist to Watch. Catch the songstress on tour with Young, as well as, at most major country music festivals this festival season. We also anticipate more new music coming soon!
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Ashley Cooke’s music is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.