ArtsLink: Cottrill more Comfortable with Mic Instead of Crown

By Jason Young on April 27, 2012 from A&E Blog via

Brooke Cottrill doesn’t want to be a princess.
I bring this up because Brooke is a junior at Bridgeport High School, and prom is coming up May 12, and my wife assures me there are certain moments in a girl’s life when she does, in fact, want to be a princess and expects the world to behave as a fairy tale would. With my extreme masculinity I was unaware of this phenomenon, but apparently special occasions like prom and weddings can bring out this desire in women.
All kidding aside, I am sure Brooke has similar aspirations for prom night and her wedding as most girls her age do; however, I am certain that she does have one aspiration I haven’t seen in a lot of 16-year-olds.
“Songwriting is my passion because it takes my two favorite things in the world—writing and music—and puts them together.  And it’s just the greatest feeling to write something and have people listen to something that’s all yours, not a single bit of it belongs to anyone else, and say, ‘Hey, that’s really cool!  When can I get that?’”
The world is now able to do just what Brooke has dreamed about. She just completed her first album, No Princess. The 12-song album is her singer/songwriter debut and is the product of a more than two-year labor of love.
“I gave up spending a lot of time with friends just because there was nothing else to give up, and I worked on the album during every free moment that I had.” 
Until I sat down with Brooke and collected all the details, I had a very narrow understanding of what it took to produce a CD full of original music. The actual composition of the song, in Brooke’s case, is the quickest part.
“Songs typically just come to me, and I finish them within 20 minutes.  There are a few that take months, though, but that is rare.  I just write whatever I’m feeling at the time.” 
Once the pen has finished with the paper, that is where the real work actually begins.
“Some mixes were really easy to finish, and some took a lot of time to figure out. Plus, it depends on when everyone could come in and record their own parts.”
Brooke had a lot of help from family and friends on her album, which is absolutely necessary in helping a young artist jump-start her career.
Her father, Brian Cottrill, produced, mixed, and played bass and guitar on the album. Bob Workman supplied the drum tracks and Davin Seamon played Hammond organ on some of the songs. Brooke provided the piano tracks and vocals.
“Bob, Davin, and my dad are fantastic musicians and really helped make the album sound wonderful, and I’m extremely grateful to those guys and the amount of time and effort they put into this.”
I have worked with Brooke on several productions at Bridgeport High School and a lot of positives can be used to describe her. She has a wonderful and mature voice and is constantly positive, but up until being blown away by her debut album, the thing that stood out to me the most about Brooke was her sublime and eclectic taste in fashion.
It was no surprise then that she described the overall sound of this album as versatile.
“It has a pop/rock style, but there’s some punk influence, metal influence, piano/acoustic influence, etc.  I like to think of it as generally a somewhat piano-based rock album, which not a whole lot of people do, but the songs are very versatile.”
Brooke wrote the album’s title song, No Princess, when she was in the 7thgrade.
“It’s a song about not doing what everyone else does and being yourself and not caring what anybody thinks about you.  That kind of defines me as a person.”
So, I really wasn’t kidding: Brooke doesn’t want to be a princess. That is too complicated. What Brooke wants is simpler and ultimately more fulfilling.
“One thing I really want to do is inspire people, or connect with them, at least.  I want people to hear my songs and think, ‘Yeah, I’ve felt that way before,’ or even, ‘Oh, I totally feel that way right now.”’ I want people to feel empowered by them, to take something from the songs and relate it to themselves.  That’s always the biggest feeling of fulfillment a songwriter can get: is someone telling them that they get what they’re trying to say.  It’s amazing.”
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