Lindsey Cohen is a seventeen year old high school senior
with a big voice and a great attitude. Her debut EP Grace Under
Pressure was released a few months ago, and already people are
taking notice. Cohen is a triple threat Ė singer, songwriter, and she
has brains. Cohenís voice is deep and velvety, showing strength but also
vulnerability in her songs like the current single "Daisies," the upbeat
title track and the adventurous cover of Black Keysí "Little Black
Submarines." Grace Under Pressure is a strong first impression
and reflects great things to come from Lindsey as she gets older.
Soon after Cohenís debut show at Phillyís World Cafť Live
and as the EP starts to spread, we sat down to chat with her about her
Letís start at the beginning. Why did you get into the music business?
My dad plays the guitar. He loves music, so I grew up
listening to a lot of the music that he played and listened to Ė bands
like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello, and
Sheryl Crow. I started singing to accompany him while he played the
guitar. It all stuck for me. I started taking voice lessons when I was
eleven, and writing songs when I was fourteen. It really kept
progressing from there. Last year I recorded an EP. It all started
because music is something Iíve always been around.
are you doing when you arenít playing music?
Iím in school. Iím a senior in high school this year, which
has been really fun. A lot of studying, hanging out with my friends, and
I do school clubs and things like that.
Are you thinking about college at all?
Yeah, Iím going to college next year. Iím going to
cool, I visited there, itís beautiful.
Yeah Iím really excited.
Whatís one word you would use to describe your music?
I guess personal. That would be a good word because pretty
much all of my songs are about personal experiences that Iíve had. I
write about things that happen to me or feelings Iíve had, but things
that I feel other people could relate to. I really like music as a form
of expressing, especially because Iím a pretty shy person. I sometimes
feel that I can say things in a song about things that happen or how Iím
feeling that I couldnít really say to a personís face. At the same time,
these are feelings that I think a lot of people also have.
know on your website it says you wrote ďGrace Under PressureĒ about the
stress of junior year, so has it gotten easier to balance everything?
Yeah, I did. I mean, I always have to really try to plan my
time and be really efficient. Iím pretty much done with high school now
so itís kind of calmed down a bit and I can really focus on music which
has just been really awesome but during the school year itís a lot of
balancing. I keep a planner and I like crossing things off it and really
having to manage my time. Iíve gotten more used to balancing it.
is some advice that you found was helpful that you could give to any
high school kids, or really anyone trying to break into the music
I would say to work really hard at it and practice a lot.
For me itís constantly writing and constantly practicing. Listening to
music and putting a lot of time into, it which would probably be key if
I were giving advice to someone.
Whatís your favorite part of doing shows and touring?
I really like reaching other people. Something that is
really exciting for me about performing is being able to share my music
with other people. I like it because for me itís a great way to
communicate and express myself. Everyone is different, but we all have
similar experiences and feelings. I really like being able to share my
experiences with other people, so that they can relate to them and think
about their own experiences. Thatís something I always get really
excited about when I perform.
you had to say anything to your fans, what would it be?
Theyíre really great fans. I love getting great support.
Itís been really fun to connect with people and see them at shows.
Youíve been doing a bunch of shows. Whereís the best place youíve
performed so far?
I really liked performing at World Cafť [in Philadelphia]
last night. It was really awesome and a really, really nice venue. All
the people that played last night were really awesome, so I had a great
time. In New York, I really liked playing at Arleneís Grocery. I play
there a lot and I feel very comfortable there. Thatís where I play the
most of any venue. The sound guys are really great so I love playing
you know everyone there and how it works?
Yeah, the guy who works at the door and the guy that works
the sound. Itís very comfortable to play there.
write a lot of your own songs. When do you do your best songwriting?
I usually write pretty late at night. Usually when Iím
thinking over things that are happening in my day and when the things
that are bothering me really start to bother me. I will usually write at
least the first draft of songs pretty late and then keep revising them,
which might happen at different times, but I really like writing at
Whatís your favorite part about living in New York?
I love having all these things around to do and places to
go. I feel like thereís always something happening in New York; like
museums or going to the park and shows at night. When you go down to the
lower East Side there are shows going on and people playing all over the
place, which is always really exciting for me. I really like the
constant rush of New York.
Whatís the best concert youíve ever seen there?
Well I have a couple favorites, but one of the most
memorable as a musician was when I was five. My mom took me to my first
concert. She took me to see Sheryl Crow at Radio City Music Hall, which
I still remember. I stood on top of my chair and sang along the entire
time. It was something, just the feeling of being there and seeing [the
performance] was something that really inspired me to want to do music
and perform. Last year, my dad and I went to see Fiona Apple play at
Terminal 5, which was really awesome for me because sheís one of my
favorite singers. I love her songs and it was amazing to get to see her
play them live and see the emotion of her music. When you see a person
live, itís really awesome.
When you see a person perform live, do you take what you see there and
put it into your own shows?
Yeah, a lot of the time I look at how people act on stage,
or the way that they have the flow of their shows. You can learn a lot
from watching other people play, which is really cool.
put out your EP a little while ago, whatís your favorite song on it?
Thatís a hard question for me, because it changes a lot for
me based on my mood. I canít really say that one is my favorite over
another one, probably because theyíre all very personal to me. Theyíre
all experiences that Iíve had, so itís hard for me to pick one song. I
usually like "Persistent Boy" because I think itís a fun song and itís
fun to play. I also like performing "Grace [Under Pressure]," because
thatís a song that was really present when I was producing the record.
Itís how I still get sometimes when Iím balancing school and all that.
It really changes a lot though.
You covered The Black Keys on the EP with "Little Black Submarines." Why
did you choose to put that song on the EP?
My dad was playing it on the guitar one night and it was
one of the first times I heard this song and I thought it was really
cool. I started looking up the chords and playing it on the piano. When
I started listening to the song off the Black Keys album, I really loved
it because of how bluesy and raw the emotion was. My producers and I
thought that it was something that would be really cool, we could really
make it different when we recorded it. I just really love the song. Itís
one of those songs where when [you] listen to it, you really wish that
you would have written it, because itís such a great song.
this was the next best thing, since you couldnít write it.
Yeah. It was really cool to record, because of all the
music and sounds. I learned a lot about how those kinds of sounds work.
I got to see the way it was produced, which was really awesome for me.
type of audience do you feel you cater to as a singer and songwriter?
I guess younger adults or college age, people around my age
and a little older. A lot of my friends come to my shows, Itís hard for
them to get in because a lot of the venues that I play at are 21 and
over. I can go and play there but I could never see a show there. Itís
hard for people my age to get in, but maybe people that are around my
age or in college or a little bit older would be my audience.
Does it make it more nerve wracking when your friends come to shows?
Yeah a little bit. Itís funny, sometimes itís easier
playing with people you donít know. At one of my more recent shows, my
friends were there and it was really fun because they were there
supporting me. They hadnít really heard the songs before because the EP
wasnít out yet and they hadnít been able to come to any of my shows
before that. It is more nerve wracking, but itís also really exciting
for me when my friends can come.
you had pick one artist or group that you could perform with, who would
Probably for me, Fiona Apple. I really love her music. I
listen to it all the time. I just love how powerful and emotional her
songs are. How it comes through in the way she sings on every song. You
really feel how sheís feeling. I also love how every time you listen to
her music, you notice something new in the words or music or in the
production. Itís really exciting to listen to her music. To meet her and
get to perform with her would be really awesome.
Well hey, maybe someday, right? So where do you hope to go in your music
career in the next few years?
I havenít really thought about where I want to go. I
definitely want to keep reaching people with my music and introducing
more people to it. I want to keep writing songs and making EPs and
records and hopefully keep up with it.
would you say inspires you as an artist to make your music and your
Iíve always been inspired by the things around me. I write
about things that happen in daily life that bother me and I feel like
other people can relate to. My experiences really inspire me to write or
want to sing. All the different music I listen to always inspires me to
want to write and perform.
Are there specific bands that you take note of and try to implement
things that they do in your performances?
Right now Iím a big fan of the Broken Bells. I saw them in
concert a little while ago, which was really cool. They have a cool
sound that they put in their music. Thatís something that I really want
to try doing, using different sounds and putting a little of this and
that here and there throughout my music. Iíve been playing around with
my keyboard. Iíve always loved the emotion and lyrics of
singer-songwriters like Fiona Apple and Sara Barielles. I always liked
the creativeness and the quirkiness of Regina Spektorís lyrics, which I
also think are really beautiful. Whenever Iím writing songs, I like to
think about my favorite songs by them.
Whatís been the best place youíve traveled to?
My parents, my sister and I went on this really cool trip a
couple of years ago to Peru. We went and visited the Amazon River, which
I loved. It was so different from being in New York, what with all the
animals and vegetation. Going on hikes and stuff there was amazing, and
the nature was so pretty. Thatís probably the coolest trip Iíve been on.
Iíve been there, itís gorgeous. I know youíre involved in a charity, why
donít you tell me what itís about and how you got involved in it.
Itís called Malaika For Life (http://malaikaforlife.org/).
These women in Africa make these beaded bracelets that are like bangles.
They come in all different colors. They sell them to raise money for
malaria medicine for their communities. What I think is really cool
about it is that this gives these women the ability to fight against the
disease that is such a big problem in their communities. Iím really
interested in it because I am interested in global health, itís
something I really want to study. It really bothers me that people die
from preventable and treatable diseases like malaria, so I really love
the cause because it gives people access to the materials that can save
them from the disease.
you could choose any word to describe yourself what would it be?
I canít think of an exact word but I guess I could do a
description. Iím a pretty quiet person, but I found out that I actually
have a lot to say. Itís like the song "Speechless" on the EP, that kinds
of sums up who I am as a person. I can come across as quiet to people
who donít really know me, but I really feel like I have a lot to say. It
just takes me a while to get to know somebody before I feel comfortable
saying it. Thatís one of my favorite things about writing, that I can
feel comfortable saying those things. Itís a way for me to reach out and
CHECK OUT LINDSEY
COHEN'S VIDEO FOR HER NEW SINGLE "DAISIES"!
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