Coco O’Connor’s journey is an inspiring one. It began in rural Alabama in a small town outside of Muscle Shoals and has recently come full circle with her signing a record deal with Bonfire Music Group.
After releasing her debut album in 2015, Coco’s signature sound quickly began to build a following . She took it to a new level with the 2018 seven-song EP, This Ol’ War, which was released independently. It quickly gained critical acclaim and was honored in early 2019 with an award from the International Acoustic Music Awards (IAMA) during their 15th annual ceremony in recognition for her song, “The Devil, A Wounded Man, And Me.”
Returning to the studio in early 2019, Coco was more determined than ever to return to her musical beginnings. “It has a lot to do with going back to my roots where I grew up,” says Coco. The main catalyst for the development of the album was signing a record deal with Bonfire Music Group. In 2018, Coco took that inspiration to a whole new peak by bringing a full band in-studio to record on her latest release, When I Was Your World.
Recorded at Blackbird Studios and Dog Den Studios in Nashville, she teamed with some of the top producers and songwriters in the business. The result is a full collection of ten recordings produced by powerhouse industry veteran Bill McDermott (George Strait, Tim McGraw, Emmylou Harris) and engineered by Steve Marcantonio (Dolly Parton, Roseanne Cash, Vince Gill). World renowned Muscle Shoals area artists Will McFarlane and The Shoals Sisters, who have each performed with top soul legends such as Etta James, appeared on the album.
From the moment the album opens (the track “Honey Bee,”) the songstress’ invigorated approach is clear. Other standouts like the stripped down “Trophies and Tiaras” and “White Horse,” co-written with hit songwriters Mark and Stephanie Brown, bring a variety of Americana, Folk, Roots and even Bluegrass influences.
Featured on the album’s cover is Coco’s daughter, who is a major inspiration behind the singer’s career. “I had my daughter kind of late in life, so it’s important for me to show her that one should never live a life of compromise, especially when it comes to art,” explains O’Connor.
The shining moment in the project’s inception is the title cut, “When I Was Your World.” Serving as the lead single from the album, the heartfelt track was written by O’Connor between 2015-2016, and she held onto it for the right moment.
“The song was originally inspired by my daughter. I was just blown away that I was ‘the world’ to this little, new person in my life. So during a songwriting session with Rick Beresford and Deanna Walker, I blurted out the title, they loved it and we were off to the races. We knew it was something special because as we were writing the last verse, both Deanna and myself got pretty emotional. It’s a song dealing with all aspects of any relationship – from the newness of it all to eventually the loss and everything in between.”
“We all should be chasing the dreams in our hearts no matter if we are young or old,” Coco says. “Life is like a race but it’s important to run your own race and not someone else’s. It’s less about winning or losing. You win when you persevere.”