The Bonzai thing almost happened by accident really, and Cosha explains to me over the phone from LA that her reclaiming of her birth name (Cassia — pronounced Cosha), was part of a feeling that it was time for a new beginning.
A lot things “happened at the same time through working with Mura Masa”, and we “were very tied together, and very close”. From fronting his early shows to small crowds to massive shows such as Glastonbury, it was amazing fun, but Cosha eventually felt that it was “time to move on and focus on my own thing”. Cosha speaks of fun a lot and it’s refreshing to hear her talk about her musical journey so far. Much of this journey has been spent just “figuring out what I liked and what I wanted; sometimes it takes releasing things out into the world to see them clearly”.
Mt Pleasant is rooted in a DIY approach that suits this newly independent artist who has been through the major label thing but didn’t realise till she got out of it that she is now way more free. The album started with sketches of music that she started on her own before enlisting others to make them sound better. Her most recent single ‘Run The Track’, produced by Rostam, is in heavy rotation in my sets this summer.
Cosha started doing her own beats out of necessity simply to get ideas down, but it’s a part of the process that she is really enjoying and that she wants to explore more going forward. Technology helps and these days she can sketch her ideas on the ipad or phone on garage-band while travelling, before exploring them further in the studio.
Her videos and visual aesthetic are also very powerful and again, Cosha explains that it’s down to just “experimenting and finding out what she likes”. She’s fine tuning her tastes by doing lots of digging and she is finding her own more consistent style as she does so. She is clearly having fun and it shines through in the music, which she originally composed very much with dancing in mind. When we eventually see Cosha live dancing will be at the heart of the show too, and she tells me live drums are another essential component of her plans.
When discussing influences it’s no suprise that some incredible women are at the forefront. From her early days listening to Ashanti and Destiny’s Child, to developing a love for Erykah Badu and Bjork, Cosha has always admired artists with a really strong presence. “Bjork is my numero uno, she is phenomenal and timeless.”
Her travels have no doubt influenced her too, but growing up in Ireland did influence Cosha to start writing songs. Having already tried to write bits at the age of nine, it wasn’t until later on that she really got going, and she credits the indie folk scene and some of her peers at the time for having influenced this. “I took on what was around me”, and soon was “busking all the time at weekends; this is how we made our money”. The pub gigs and sessions were all around, and Cosha notes that “Ireland is a very musical place, you could be just sitting down in the pub and someone will get a guitar out”.
The Irish music scene has progressed at an impressive rate in the seven or so years since she left, and she credits the likes of Rejjie Snow for helping lead the way.
Rejjie came through with his own accent and voice that wasn’t like a parody or a joke. There were always many cultures that were here but “they weren’t having their space or shining, but now I’m seeing way more people, like Monjola and Aby Coulibaly, plus many more, and it’s really nice to see. I’m quite happy that Irelands getting on now, sometimes it takes awhile but we are getting there”.
I couldn’t agree more. Cosha is about to release a wonderful album that is a melting pot of different styles, and one that will make you dance. It most definitely is all about the fun. Mt Pleasant comes out tomorrow.