Meet Joanna Cooke, soon to be performing at Island Street!

Posted by thewinkingprawn on June 24, 2016


On 14th July Joanna Cooke will be performing live at Island Street Bar & Grill, so we had a chat to find out more about her soul, jazz and blues inspiration…


How did you get into music?


I first started singing/performing in talent shows, cabarets and local productions at the age of 12 and really enjoyed the buzz and the community/school spirit of togetherness that went with it. Learning lines, being up next on centre stage... I was, and always am, riddled with nerves, but perhaps the day I'm not nervous I'll change my job.


How would you describe your music style?


There are lots of styles mixed into one with me – soul, jazz, blues and pop, so perhaps you can't put me in a category just yet. 


What or who inspires you?


The way melody can make us feel has always been at the heart of my inspiration.  I connect with music through the tone a person has or how they blow through a sax or how that note is played on the guitar.  One note can be manipulated (or not) but if it’s played with feeling in the delivery then I think that is just as important as the notes themselves.  I was played Howling Wolf Records as a child and all the bottleneck blues artists like Robert Jonson.  These were men who sung and played with feeling from the pit of their stomachs and it had a big impact on me.  Later on, when I left my hometown at 18, I had access to the Internet and couldn't get enough of Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Aretha.


What’s been your best moment as a musician so far?


Releasing my first record and being proud of it! Then recouping the costs and still making a profit that we can now put into the next one. Some of the best moments are when little ones draw you pictures of you playing, or people write notes to say they thought we were great but the table next to them should have been listening and they should pipe down. 


If you could emulate anyone who would it be?


I admire the success of any artist who has made it into the music industry and sustained a successful career. I would strive to emulate anyone who has or is doing that. 


What can we look forward to in your performance at Island Street?  


We love playing this venue; such a relaxed vibe and the people love dancing!  I have to say I love performing my own material, to get it heard by whoever is in the room.  We also like to make the covers that we do into something you might not immediately recognize as that song; changing up the arrangements and making it our own.  People seem to like that, which is great and makes each gig interesting for us! 


What’s your favourite thing to do in Salcombe when you’re not singing at the Bar and Grill?


Salcombe Dairy Ice Cream was a real treat when I was young, so you would find me eating an ice cream (with clotted cream on top) and enjoying the boats. 


What’s your favourite cocktail (so we can be prepared)?


Mint julep please!