Artist: Elizabeth Cook
Hometown: Wildwood, Florida
Latest album: Aftermath
Personal nicknames: Shug
What’s your favorite memory from being on stage?
Forgetting that I’m on stage and then coming to and being like, “Oh my god, I’m on stage!” That, and one night in Phoenix, this group of young girls stood at the front of the stage and sang along to every one of my songs.
What was the first moment that you knew you wanted to be a musician?
I didn’t really know that I wanted to be. I was a kid singer — so, I came to it from a funny angle. I fought it for years and tried to do other things, but never found a really gratifying way to fit into the world. I got asked to open for Todd Snider once in Wilmington, North Carolina, at this outdoor amphitheater. He threw a one-man acoustic folk show party riot throwdown. I’d never seen anything like it and really haven’t since. But I thought if this is on the table — I will try it.
What other art forms — literature, film, dance, painting, etc — inform your music?
All of it. I’m always collecting details that ping me in some way… and it can be something that I see, read, taste, touch or hear.
What’s the toughest time you ever had writing a song?
I wrote a song about my mama’s funeral. And of course it’s not something you want to write about, because it’s not something you want to even happen in the first place. But it did. And I was really dreading this event, and the responsibility I felt in the throes of my grieving. I was resenting the whole process. But then, it turned out to be a really beautiful day and it was helpful and healing. And I owed it to the world, almost a right to the wrong for my attitude towards it in the beginning. The song is called “Mama’s Funeral” and it’s on Welder.
What rituals do you have, either in the studio or before a show?
I have a “hard hat” bag! I can get really fussy and anxious right before I go on and dig neurotically for things I think I need. So I made this little bag… it has all the comforts from Advil to throat sprays and drops, a neck and hand massager, extra guitar picks, my lucky rock and some dice.
Photo credit: Electropogram