A few weeks ago, we had the fortune of checking out the music by singer/songwriter Cobi, as he came to Seattle’s W Hotel. W is better known as a luxury hotel, but its lobby is the host of occasional music shows. That’s where we got an up-close look at this multi-talented musician.
Before the show, Cobi lent us the privilege of a one on one audience with him. He discussed his origins in music, explaining how it seems like he’s always been connected to music. When he was six he started learning the piano.
“I really took to music and knew it was what I wanted to do when I was about 10,” Cobi said.
Cobi grew up in a small town in Minnesota and got his professional start in music with the indie-pop band Gentlemen Hall. But after a few years, Cobi struck out on his own as a solo artist, specializing in soul and blues songs.
His debut solo single from 2016 “Don’t You Cry For Me” spurred his signing to the label 300 Entertainment, and went viral on Spotify to amass 30 million streams worldwide.
Cobi has several inspirations, including Seattle legend Jimi Hendrix, and explains how “listening to his music blew my mind.”
“His creativity in songwriting, lyrics, records, and his psychedelic themes in lyrics concepts, sounds. It’s fascinating,” Cobi added.
When asking what Cobi’s favorite thing about waking up and performing every day, he explains he just loves music.
Music is the best way I express myself in joy, love, sadness, grief. It’s my therapy.
Cobi’s music is dominated by his smooth acoustic guitar work, and raw emotional vocals. Lyrically, many of his songs deliver gut-punching themes, and reflect dealing with loneliness, and overcoming emotional difficulties.
He elaborated on the personal journey of his newest single, “Island In My Mind,” in which he dealt with the birth of his daughter and the death of his father within months of each other. Cobi explained how this difficult time inspired creativity in his music.
“Going through this everything started to flow. I would just jam in my studio and usually the melony forms and then the lyrics come,” Cobi said. “It felt right to write about how I felt and it came naturally.”
Cobi’s music is soulful and gets you going, but he’s something else in a live setting. Utilizing a repeating sound projector, he creates a whole band’s worth of noises while onstage and accompanies himself on guitar. His soaring vocals break out even over the typical crowd noise, and he fills the room by himself as a whole band would.
“Playing live is special because it’s a whole new energy when you have an audience and adds a new dimension,” Cobi said.
Cobi recently completed a line of tours around the United States. Stay tuned for more future dates by visiting his website for more details.