A few months ago, I had the incredible opportunity to check out Cobi in concert when he opened up for the Augustines in San Francisco (In case you missed it, here it is!) If you happen to see his name on the lineup of an upcoming show you’re attending, it’s guaranteed to be good. The Young Folks got a chance to chat with the singer while he’s on tour with Boy and a Bear. Check out our interview below!
TYF: I first heard of your name and music thanks to Spotify. When did you start to realize “Don’t Cry For Me” was trending and becoming a massive hit on the internet?
Cobi: I was on tour with Above & Beyond when the song went to #1 on Spotify’s Global Viral 50 chart last May. It was a surreal moment because it was the first time I’ve ever had that honor.
TYF: I recently saw your music video for the song and I loved it. It’s a pretty controversial video but first off, did you envision this story from day one? Were you ever nervous of any backlash or negative feedback?
Cobi: There were a lot of people telling me I shouldn’t release the video because they thought I would get a lot of backlash. Ultimately, I chose to follow my heart and speak the truth. I’m glad I did. Giving into fear, whether it’s your own or coming from people projecting it onto you, will keep you stagnant and prevent growth.
TYF: How did you go about approaching the actors in the video with the idea of it and what their roles would entail?
Cobi: I worked with two directors, Adam VillaSenor and Reza Ghassemi, and one producer, Jacob Stein. They all played a huge role in finding the cast for the video. We wanted the video to have elements of both the past and the present to show the similarities between the eras.
TYF: What was it like branching away from Gentlemen Hall and doing something on your own? Did you ever imagine having a solo career or was it just something that created itself?
Cobi: I always envisioned myself having a solo aspect to my career. I need that freedom to fully express myself. However, I do love collaborating with other artists and find that is the best way to learn and grow. Leaving GH was taking a leap of faith which is always scary, but also very rewarding.
TYF: Speaking of Gentlemen Hall, was it difficult for you to transition from a band that had multiple inputs versus working alone and calling all the shots?
Cobi: Of course the transition was bumpy, but with the support of friends and family, I started to find my own voice again. I still value input from the people around me and never feel like I have to make decisions alone.
TYF: You’ve had a great career so far and it’s continuing to grow. What has been the most valuable experience or advice you’ve received that’s stayed with you up ‘til this day?
Cobi: The difference between success and failure is giving up.
TYF: When writing new music, what do you hope to maybe achieve or accomplish with each new song? How do you know when you’re finally finished?
Cobi: Each song is its own story. A lot of these stories have already been told, so when I’m writing a song, I ask myself how I can write this story from my perspective. What makes my perspective different? How can I tell this story honestly, but in a way that other people can relate to? When the story is finished, the song is done.
TYF: You were just on tour with Boy and Bear so how has that been so far? It seems like you’re getting a lot of new fans along the way!
Cobi: The tour was absolutely great. Boy and Bear are exceptional human beings and it was an honor to tour with them. We hit a lot of new places that I had never been. I fell in love with British Columbia and I’m really looking forward to going back.
TYF: It seems nerve-racking going up on a stage when only a few have heard of you or maybe not at all. How have you been able to get over that mentality or nervousness? Or, was there none to begin with?
Cobi: I’ve learned to like being nervous. It keeps me on my toes. I also love having the opportunity to surprise people who don’t know what to expect. That’s one of the best parts of performing in front of new audiences.
TYF: With 2016 quickly wrapping up, what can fans expect to hear from you in the new year?
Cobi: More music, more videos, more touring. I’m sure 2017 will be full of surprises and I’m looking forward to sharing new music with people.