Having turned heads and earned comparisons to pop sensation Dua Lipa with her debut single 'Better', Melbourne-based artist COTTA today unveils her newest effort, 'Didn't Call' - a showcase of the up-and-comer's brand of infectious celestial indie pop.
The new release was inspired by a pandemic-induced communication mishap, COTTA explains:
"I'm in a long distance relationship with my very wonderful, very supportive boyfriend who lives back on the Gold Coast. Naturally, and particularly in a post-'Rona world, time between visits can be tough! We try to FaceTime as much as possible to stay connected but he missed my call one night (through no fault of his, or his very old iPhone's, own) and I started humming this melody. This is no diss track, by any means - I'm very much in love - but I thought it was a cute take on what can happen if your call goes unanswered."
'Didn't Call' was produced and mixed by Oldland in Brunswick East and follows on from COTTA's performance at the AFL 2020 Grand Final and a sold out launch for the release of her 2020 single 'Better'.
Question: How would you describe your music?
Cotta: I like to think that I write and release music that feels familiar to the listener, but develops something new while still drawing on popular and lesser-known influences to bring a 'I can't quite place this – this sounds like (insert artist here) but different' feeling overall.
Question: Can you tell us about Didn't Call?
Cotta: I'm in a long-distance relationship at the moment, which is equal parts awesome and awful (awful only due to the distance itself). We try to utilise social media and FaceTime to stand in the gap for us in between visits, but this melody came to me one weeknight when he didn't call me when he was initially going to. (I did warn him about the sheer quantum of songs that may be written about him, prior to dating.) This is really just a song for anyone who has to get on with it if things don't go as planned.
Question: Is there a particular message you hope listeners take from your music?
Cotta: I love that I have the freedom to not have to be anyone else; I'm not trying to be the next, well, anyone really. I'm just me, and there's an authenticity to that. I write about my experiences, my feelings and my desires, and I want it to feel home-grown to the listener – like COTTA is your big sister, best friend or your neighbour. Just there when you need her.
Question: How does it feel to be compared to Dua Lipa?
Cotta: Pretty wild, actually. Did you see her Grammys performance? What a babe. I am absolutely incapable of rocking that 'fit but maybe if people keep comparing us I'll magically grow eight inches and get better at ass-shaking.
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Cotta: Live, always. Nothing compares to connecting with an audience. Plus, with live gigs, I love to whip out an emotional ballad and make people feel along with me.
Question: Can we expect any upcoming shows?
Cotta: Working on it! Our friend 'Rona has slowed some gig appearances down but stay in the loop via my Instagram for information on all upcoming shows.
Question: What motivates you most when writing music?
Cotta: Everything, and nothing. (What a classic musician answer. Dickhead.) For context: I'm doing this interview from a hotel room in Sydney and I just stood in the shower with my Voice Notes app, recording a song idea about loss, because I dropped my Betty's Burgers order in the bath. True story. (I do have a soft spot for writing about my favourite people, though.)
Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?
Cotta: Ooh! Great question. Have always loved Ben Abraham – his new single dropped the other day. Lake Street Dive released a new album which I can't listen to enough, and I'm a big fan of everything that Valley do. A mixed bag, and I'm proud of that.
Question: What or who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Cotta: It's a mix of: a) finally having the time to, and b) every living family member asking me "so when's your music being released?" for 26 years. And I'm grateful for both of those reasons.
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Cotta: Locally, Meg Mac. What an absolute legend of an Australian artist. I think we have similar brassy tones and would have the best time jamming out to a bop of a song. Internationally, Harry Styles. Say no more.
Question: What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist so far?
Cotta: Learning exactly how much goes into every release! I'm a pianist at heart and have spent decades writing songs that I accompany myself on the piano to, but to actually put out a song like Didn't Call takes serious time, financial input, and a genuine grit to stay in it for the long-haul. I'd never have seen the back-end of production, PR, digital or marketing without fully committing to everything that COTTA could (and hopefully will) be.
Question: How would you describe your personal style?
Cotta: High street meets garbage bin. I'm like those paper dolls you got as a kid, where you could either dress Zany Janey in a ball gown or a dressing gown. It's about balance.
Question: What's a typical day like?
Cotta: I work full-time in a corporate firm during the week, so a typical day is BUSY. I am currently juggling work, a law degree, a music career and an interstate boyfriend/family, and it gets to be a lot. Fortunately I like a good list, and my diary/phone/calendar/journal is full of them. Lists keep me afloat! The constant in my day at the moment is my cat, Scully (her namesake being her male counterpart in Brooklyn 99). I couldn't have managed 2020 without that bow-legged, likely inbred, beautiful feline.
Question: What's next, for you?
Cotta: Emotionally, I'm hoping to welcome my boyfriend to life as a Melburnian mid-year, finishing my law degree (and starting my Masters), and getting a dog. Musically, there is so much happening in both the studio and my brain at the moment that I don't even know where to begin. Hopefully a full EP and a tour at some stage!
Question: Can you share your socials? (links please)
Cotta: Absolutely! I 'gram a lot. (A lot, a lot. I warned you.)
Interview by Gwen van Montfort