Long, serene walks have served to inspire 16-year-old singer-songwriter Rachel Cousins on more than one occasion.
“When I’m out there, I write very quick and very easily,” Cousins told The Southern Gazette Tuesday.
Cousins lives in St. John’s with her parents, Wayne and Hilda Cousins, who grew up in Point May. She has many relatives in the area and visits quite frequently.
First performing publicly at the age of five, she has been building a bit of a buzz in the Newfoundland music scene of late.
Winner of the inaugural Sing NL contest in the youth category this past May, Cousins said she has been writing songs for two or three years. Not a day passes where she doesn’t write something, she said.
“I was in vocal lessons for about eight years with Melanie O’Brien, and then she just kind of kicked me into gear to start songwriting when we fixed up an old song of mine together,” she explained.
Then came her first foray into recording – a three-song demo with two originals and a cover song recorded while in Sydney, N.S for the East Coast Music Awards in 2016.
Cousins, self-taught on guitar, piano and ukulele, quickly decided she wanted to follow up with an EP of all originals, and set her mind to making it happen.
She will release that EP, titled “This Fire,” on Aug. 31 in the Exile Lounge at Jag Hotel in downtown St. John’s.
Cousins worked with musician and producer Chris LeDrew at Jason Whelan’s The Sound Solution in St. John’s. Whelan engineered, mixed and mastered the recording. Along with LeDrew, musicians Craig Follett, Daniel Neil, Julia Bowdring and Paul Kinsmen feature on the album.
Cousins said she wanted to grab people’s attention with the recording and show them music is her passion.
“The main idea for the song “This Fire” itself was that, as a young person, and as people in general, we often fear a lot of things, but I think it’s important to just kind of take risks,” she explained.
Cousins said she is “super excited” for the album release party.
“I go to a lot of CD releases in (St. John’s), down at Jag especially … so it’s very surreal to have my own,” she said.
An effort is also in the works to hold an album release party in Point May at some point, Cousins said.
“Everyone out there is so supportive of what I do, so I think it would go over very well,” she said.