Music as a form of therapy: We chat with Cole Phoenix

Last week, when Brisbane singer-songwriter Cole Phoenix released her new single Stone Woman, we were immediately drawn into her powerful and electric sounds.

So fresh off the new track’s release, we caught up with the artist herself to chat new music, the ancient Greek myth of Prometheus, music as therapy, and a whole lot more.

“Art not only appeals to the ears or eyes, but it heals the soul”: We chat to Cole Phoenix fresh off the release of her new single Stone Woman.

HAPPY: Hey Cole, how are things? What are you up to right now?

COLE: It’s my Dad’s birthday today so about to go celebrate with a family dinner. A lovely break to be home for a bit. Not that I don’t love the touring – it has been awesome visiting new places to chat about my new single Stone Woman recently released October 4th and hitting the radios. The hosts have been great to meet and I’m so excited to be sharing my new music.

HAPPY: It’s been a week since Stone Woman dropped, how has the initial reaction felt?

COLE: I’ve really appreciated the support from my fans on social media – and the comparisons have ranged from Amy Winehouse, Adele – even Whitney Houston – to Nancy Sinatra and Gladys Knight… so no complaints whatsoever as they are all inspirations of mine! It’s hard to predict if a song will match your intentions since when it’s released it takes on manifold meanings and comparisons but I’m so pleased and relieved to find that the feedback is reflecting the initial hopes for this song – Motown made modern.

HAPPY: The single is pretty powerful. What was going on in your life when you wrote this one?

COLE: I wrote this song a long time ago but felt that today’s timing was right to bring these lyrics to the studio and collaborate with Ryan and Monte to chisel Stone Woman and breathe life into the lyrics and soul into the melody. I believe this isn’t a song for women alone but a song for empowering and encouraging people to be strong and to be adamant for who they are – as the lyrics demand “let me show you who I am” – to inspire confidence to take a stand against any abuse… Good timing now but still a message that’s timeless.

HAPPY: Was it inspired by anyone in particular? A musical hero, or even someone in your life?

COLE: I’d rather not point a finger at a particular person and also I’d rather not colour the song that way when it can take on as many meanings as it has listeners.

HAPPY: Seems like music comes from a pretty therapeutic place for you. Has music always been like that in your mind, or is it something you came into as an artist?

COLE: Music is definitely therapy – it’s a medium to release emotion, it’s cathartic to listen to. As a writer and singer it’s a medium to express emotions. It’s a compulsion as an artist and for others it can prove an epiphany. Art not only appeals to the ears or eyes, but it heals the soul.

HAPPY: I understand there’s a video in the works too. What can we expect to see when Stone Woman hits the screen?

COLE: I thought of retelling the Ancient Greek myth of Prometheus. Prometheus was a god punished for gifting fire to humankind. Everyday, an eagle – the emblem of Zeus – would devour his liver (believed to be the core of emotion), his liver would regenerate overnight and the same torture would begin again. Don’t expect to see any liver in this clip though, didn’t direct it to be gratuitous! The retelling is about STONE WOMAN breaking the cycle of suffering, breaking the chains and befriending the eagle. Yes you can expect a real eagle – an Australian Wedge Tail Eagle named Sydney to be precise! And a stellar feathery costar she proved to be – we bonded when I broke away from the stone – as you will see if you watch Stone Woman.

HAPPY: Who did you work with on the clip?

COLE: I directed Stone Woman with Nicolas Jacobi. Such a pleasure working with DP Jason Brewer and his crew too. For the costume I collaborated with designer Angela Hadnagy we had some fun with the costume fittings also with Melanie Sommer and our dogs too. I shared some of the fun with my fans via social media! Samantha Gaspari worked with me to create a “strong as diamond” look for Stone Woman. Nicolas and I are currently corresponding with our editor in Vancouver, Andrea Joynt, to get this visual allegory for Stone Woman ready to rock n’ roll !

HAPPY: Where to from here?

COLE: After Stone Woman’s release and the music video premiere, my EP will be released in December with gigs in the works (I’ll keep everyone up to date through social media if they connect with me @thecolephoenix – I’m on twitter, Facebook, Instagram).

A children’s book is in the works too. I’ve written all the text and I’m just waiting on my illustrator’s magic – shoutout to Charlie L’Amour! (I wrote a story starring my Frenchie Frankie so look out for FRANKIE’S TALE :))

Also two songs I have written with Ryan and Monte are in consideration for a film that is being produced by Sunil Perkash (the passionate producer behind “Enchanted” with Amy Adams and “Salt” with Angelina Jolie). Again, connect with me and I will keep you posted on the progress and share more of the journey. I’ve already posted BTS of the making of these songs which we recorded at the renowned Paramount Recording Studios… as well as teasers for the upcoming music video for Stone Woman.

HAPPY: Thanks for the chat!

COLE: Thankyou for your interest and interesting questions!

Stone Woman is available now.