Staying on top of new music trends is very important for a young artist looking to build a career. Especially in these times when followers demand a constant stream of new content. Our new discovery Lola Coker is putting in the hard work to keep her growing fanbase fed.
The passionate singer-songwriter from New Jersey may be young in years but her list of accomplishments is long. Just in the last year alone, Lola Coker has won Outstanding Soloist at the National Jazz Festival 2020, Best Vocal Performer at the Princeton Jazz Festival 2019. Currently about to graduate high school, she is set to attend Rutgers University this fall studying Neuroscience.
Lola Coker has been consistently putting out her own cover versions of some of the most popular songs out there. On July 17th she is set to release her latest mash-up with a well-made video to match. For this one she blends “Party Girl” by StaySolidRocky, “Them Changes” by Thundercat, “Human by Christina Perri, and “I Like Him” by Princess Nokia. Her smooth laid back vocals add an elegant touch to the songs that draw the listener in close. The video highlights the positive energy that Lola exudes. There is something there that just draws fans to her.
We had the chance to chat with the rising star to get a deeper look into her development. Check out the interview here:
First off, what is it that draws you to music?
Music is just a great way for people to express themselves whether they’re musically inclined or not. Growing up I was exposed to many different types of music and luckily I was able to hear how versatile and unique music can be. There are no walls in music, there are so many genres and sub-genres but the fact that our brains can come up with so many new sounds and combinations is incredible. Music is such a beautiful form of art and the possibility of contributing to that beauty is what draws me in.
How would you describe the Lola Coker sound?
I feel as though my sound leans more towards r&b/soul and jazz if I were to encompass it in a genre. Personally, it’s hard for me to tell others how I sound, all I hope is that I sound good. I’ve heard people describe my voice as smooth a decent amount of times so that may be so. I just know that my goal is to be a different and desired sound. I want my voice to make people feel, whether it mean happy, sad, reminiscent, or hopeful.
Which artists have had the biggest influence on you?
There are so many artist that I see or hear that are so impactful in so many different ways. Some of the bigger ones are Beyonce, Chloe and Halle, and Erykah Badu, and Amy Winehouse . Beyonce is such a given to me, her work ethic, her drive, her journey is all so inspiring and incredible to me. Growing up she’s been the most consistent influence on me. Not only is she no doubt vocally talented but she makes sure to keep pushing herself to grow as an entertainer to this day. I’ve been watching Chloe and Halle’s journey for the longest time, before beyonce discovered them. Making covers on YouTube was an idea and a drive pushed by them. Personally I love harmonies and doing interesting new things with music and they have been doing it since their cover days up until now. Finally Erykah Badu and Amy Winehouse’s sounds and vibes are immaculate. Their music gives me chills, so simple but so genius at the same time. I want to be able to make people feel how these artists and so many others make me feel.
Even at a relatively young age, you seem to have no issues being on the big stage. Tell us about some of your accomplishments.
I would do a lot of vocal competitions in middle school. Some were on stage and some were smack in front of a few of judges (both equally intimidating) I would never finish a performance and think “I nailed that” but those competitions went pretty well a decent amount of time. The first competition I remember was pretty big and it was called MAMTG. I remember doing my performances and then watching other people perform and thinking there was no way I’d win anything. But at the end of that competition I ended up winning a 1st and 2nd place trophy. The trophies were so big. I had played club soccer most of my life and had gotten a decent amount of trophies, but these felt like the real thing. I remember thinking “these are double decker trophies, I must be the real deal”
My final middle school show weirdly enough is an accomplishment that fuels me to this day weirdly enough. My school did the production of “The Little Mermaid” and I played Sebastian. I got so into that role and the feedback I received was so encouraging. To this day people from my school or community bring it up and although it seems small it’s an accomplishment that holds a special place in my heart.
Another big one is winning states with my jazz ensemble group my junior year. I’ve been in the group since my freshman year in high school. There’s about 16 of us in the group and we practice every Wednesday night in order to compete with other insanely great groups. My senior year, when we went to nationals, my group placed second which is great but additionally I won a solo award so that was cool. That day was a bittersweet day for me.
You stay on top of social media trends very well. Tell us about your impressive new mashup video.
I live on TikTok and one of my favorite things about TikTok is the music culture. It seems like the TikTok users are now the people who decide who’s going to be on top charts or not. Most of the trends are alongside a song, so you hear the certain segments of particular songs over and over again for a while. I was pretty much inspired by this camera walking trend and the song that people do it with, “Them Changes” by Thundercat. The beat was just so refreshing and cool to me I knew I had to sing the song. I wanted to make it interesting though and I thought it’d be really cool to sing the top TikTok songs of the time on top of it, so I did. The funky vibe of the song met with a kind of r&b jazzy flow was something new. I wasn’t sure if it’d work but I thought why not. I pry myself to explore and be different so that’s what I attempted to do, and surprisingly enough TikTok is helping me to do so.
Share some advice for other young artists hoping to get noticed.
I think you should keep at what you’re doing and if you are persistent it’ll pay off. I also think a pay off doesn’t necessarily mean becoming the next Beyonce overnight. One should be patient and appreciate and focus on the journey. if you can make some kind of feeling or wave with your art, you’re doing great and you’re on the right path. Also, celebrate the things you may think are little, any step in the right direction is worth celebrating.
Give us a look at the future of Lola Coker?
I’m hoping to start creating original stuff. But I’m going to continue making new musical content. It may be covers, or mashups, or remixes, or who knows what else. All I know is it’s going to be different and worth hearing.
Keep up with new music on SPOTIFY.
Keep up with what’s next from Lola Coker: