by A dear friend of mine recently introduced me to the music of Danielia Cotton. After giving a listen to Devil in Disguise, I said “Wow.” I felt I was transported back to 1969 when I first saw Janice Joplin live in concert .
A recent interview with KickMag.net reveals all. Below are some highlights.
Danielia Cotton’s smoldering semi-rasped vocals have been inevitably compared to Etta James and Tina Turner. But those comparisons only tell half the story of the rocker from New Jersey whose grasp of the guitar puts her in a rare lineage of women like Rosetta Tharpe, Bonnie Raitt, Melissa Etheridge, Tracy Chapman and most recently Valerie June. Cotton’s raw honesty meets at the intersection of soul and rock and tells the story of a multi-ethnic Black woman claiming her space in a genre white washed by industry politics. Growing up in a musical family as one of a few African-Americans in a small town influenced her candor about identity and drove the need to express those frustrations in her art. As a powerful performer and songwriter she has received acclaim from the mainstream press and blogosphere for her stage shows and made songs like “Strange Fruit” her own. She is currently preparing for the release of her 4th studio album, The Real Book, which is a selection of cover songs she possesses with the intimacies of her inner world. Cotton recently spoke with Kickmag about The Real Book, growing up in Hopewell, New Jersey and the plight of being a Black woman rocker in a not so post-racial America.
You have a bluesy rock sound how did you come to that?
My father played guitar and he gave one to me and it really stopped me from being a depressed child. Blues is the base of a lot of music, for rock, country and R&B. I think everybody pulls from that storytelling thing that I think every genre has some. And growing up in a small white town those kids were not listening to Stevie Wonder. There probably were some but not the ones I was hanging out with. My older brother was very much into rock, he would play like Todd Rundgren, Yes and Zeppelin. Our rooms were next door to each other and I could hear everything.
You call your new album of covers, The Real Book, is that a take on the Fake Book that jazz musicians use to learn jazz?
Yes it is! We’re doing covers that we chose very carefully because I would only chose stories that I could live in it was a process just to pick the right tunes. Kevin came up with that because we really did pick them and make them our own like some of the guys never heard the cover we did of Bruno Mars’ “Gorilla.” A lot of my guys don’t listen to the radio and they thought the song was mine and I was like no, it’s a cover. And it has the cover design, which is really beautiful done by David Calderley who did the famous Moby album with the big A thing on it. It almost looks like a jazz cover album the cover has the feel of an old jazz album. It’s a nice deviation from what I was doing it’s a very adult album for me.
When does The Real Book officially come out?
We will drop the album officially on October 21 and we will do a soft release on August 19 to sort of premiere the music.
For more on Danielia Cotton, visit her web site at Danieliacotton.com