Sami Cooke might not be a name that springs to mind when you think of the cornerstones of Australian country music, but the 18-year-old singer-songwriter from Young in NSW is certainly one to watch as she builds a solid and loyal following around the country.
While she captivates her audience with her approachable personality and natural stage presence, it’s her vocal ability beyond her years and her song writing that has been well recognised within the industry.
“I’m an Aquarius and so maybe this is where I get my creative side from – or maybe from my Dad as he plays the guitar and sings, but won’t get up on stage with me any more as he said it was scary.” Sami says. Singers that inspire her include Delta Goodrem, Celine Dione, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Martina McBride, Aylese Simmons, Sara Evens, Joanna Hemara and Keith Urban to name just a few. “I love all sorts of music from Bon Jovi to musical theatre but my love is Country. I am open to learn, listen and sing all types and styles; adding a bit of my own self to the sound.” Sami, at just 15, participated in an anti-bullying program for schools called Stop Bullying …Try Music. “I’ve always had two main thoughts with my music – one to make it my career – the other to be able to help people with my music. Stop Bullying…Try Music was a wonderful opportunity to be part of.” She continues to support that initiative and is also a strong supporter and a voice for Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect). 2014 is Sami’s breakthrough year. She attended her third Tamworth Country Music Festival and chalked up some 36 gigs in only 12 days; receiving rave reviews of her performances.
Pausing briefly in Canberra to celebrate her 18th birthday and launch her new independent album, she followed that by opening for country legend Bill Chambers the next day. She then embarked on a gruelling two-month tour of Victoria with her mother, performing more than 25 concerts in 22 towns across Victoria and southern NSW. “It is hard to believe that it was only 2 months as it feels like years with the amount of stuff we fitted into such a short amount of time,” Sami says of the Victoria tour. “It was amazing to see so much of the country and to meet so many people from all walks of life, and of course that they loved my music.”
Sami says she couldn’t have got here without her family. “My family have been such huge supporters of my career, driving me to concerts, jamming at home, my brother joining me on stage to play bass at some concerts and my mum joining me for my Victorian and Queensland tours. I’m truly blessed to have them.” Sami managed to slow down for a couple of weeks at home, interrupting her rest only to perform one concert in Canberra on Easter Sunday. She is now on a four-month Queensland tour from May to August to promote her album.