There aren’t many formidable female vocalists around that have the sheer quantity of music running through their veins as Hollie Cook. Growing up with Paul Cook – drummer of the Sex Pistols – as her father and her mother Jeni, backing singer for Culture Club, she describes music as life, and you can see why. Her solo career started as she left the final lineup of all-female punk/reggae band The Slits, and she has released a string of catchy, of-the-moment, yet strikingly classic hits since the release of her debut, self titled solo album in 2011.
We caught up with the talented, tropical pop songstress and keyboardist ahead of her exclusive live performance and vinyl recording in partnership with Absolute Elyx and Water for People at the Sanctum Hotel to discover her views on life, music, and what it’s like being the daughter of one of the original punks.
The collaboration, who have joined together for this event, are on a mission to bring access to safe water to over 100,000 people worldwide and this is a charity close to Hollie’s heart.
How have your parents influenced you throughout your life?
Well they literally made me who I am! Through nature, and nurture too. I’m an only child and there has been no shortage of love and encouragement throughout my life – always very supportive.
What kind of music were you listening to growing up?
Plenty of stuff. From my parents it was Dust Springfield, Beach Boy, Beatles, The Cure, The Smiths, Hole, Nirvana. The list goes on. On my own I got into Spice Girls, TLC, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Deftones, Limp Bizkit, Eminem, Faithless. Again, the list goes on, but we’d be here all day.
As godparents go, what kind of godfather has Boy George been to you?
He wasn’t around much during my childhood. Here and there and I was very aware of who he was from music videos. Since having had my own music thing going he’s been great, very supportive and helpful. My close and very much present godfather throughout my life is Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols. He’s ‘Uncle Steve’.
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment to date?
I feel it’s all an accomplishment really! Sticking with it and having the patience and determination to see results. Every time I get to travel and play music live I see it as an accomplishment. And to hopefully be doing a good job. Playing at Heaton Park, opening for the Stone Roses is definitely up there with one of my favourite.
What is music to you?
Who are you biggest reggae influences?
Alton Ellis, Phyllis Dillon, Janet Kay, Dennis Brown and Carroll Thompson.
What do you prefer and why, touring or being in the studio?
I have no favourite. They all have they’re own special charm that I enjoy so much. And you can’t do much of one without the other.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
Always a hard question! I find the idea of collaboration pretty terrifying because I get so weird and in my own headspace when I’m being creative. But it would be cool to work with someone like The Chemical Brothers or Kindness.
Where do you see yourself going in the next couple of years?
Keep on keeping on!
To get yourself a limited edition copy of the vinyl recording of this prestigious event for £20, head to www.holliecook.com/collections.
Words by Elspeth Pierce