Since her run on American Idol, Dakota Cohen has been taking the music industry by storm. The young firecracker has a powerful voice and an even more important message: independence and confidence. The music video for her latest song, “No One”, was brought to life by a group of determined and creative teenagers, a trope that’s becoming more and more familiar.
In light of her impressive project and positive vibes, I sat down with Dakota to learn more about her role as a young artist.
Ariel Zedric: In a business that is all about standing out, what are three words that describe your style, music or otherwise?
Dakota Cohen: Confident, Uplifting, Edgy.
What encouraged you to audition for American Idol? Were there any doubts going in?
I was hesitant in the beginning because I’ve heard all of these horror stories about being on reality tv, but I decided to just go for it. I soon became very excited to experience this new realm of the music industry. I decided to just give it a shot and see what happens.
How did American Idol change your life? If you could go back and change anything about the experience, would you?
I wouldn’t change anything about my experience because I did my best and learned so much about myself throughout the process. I always stuck my ground on my song choices and who I wanted to be portrayed as on the show. I think that American Idol has changed my life in that I was able to make life long friendships in the industry and we will support each other throughout the craziness that comes along with this business.
Tell me about the inspiration for your latest single, “No One”!
I wanted to make a song all about independence and confidence. I want my audience to feel empowered and believe that they are capable of being happy on their own and that they don’t have to rely on anyone else for that.
Do you have a favorite lyric of the track?
“I’m not gonna waste time on a scrub like you”
Can you recall the moment you decided to write the song? Is there any event in particular that inspired it, or was it more of a culmination of things?
I was with some of my girlfriends. We were all having issues with boys at the time and I wanted to write a song that we could all relate to. I love jamming out with my friends as we drive around LA. I played them the first demo while driving down Sunset Boulevard, and they loved it. I didn’t tell them it was mine, so I could hear their honest opinion. Their big smiles and ability to sing along by the second chorus was validation that this was gonna be great.
A lot of teens were involved in the creation of the “No One” music video. Tell me about that decision and process. What was your favorite part?
My whole crew for my music video were all teen girls between the ages 17-18. I came up with the scenes, outfits, and major outlines, but in terms of execution, it was a team effort. It took all five of us to put all of my ideas to the screen. My favorite part of the making the video was going to the beach at 8 pm during the sunset and jumping around in freezing cold waters. It was so exhilarating and adrenaline boosting to be dancing like crazy in the ocean. There were so many people staring because I probably looked so weird being in the freezing cold waters but it was amazing. I felt so empowered and confident throughout filming that scene.
What’s it like being a female in the music industry? Have you encountered any obstacles related to your gender? How have you dealt with them?
I find it very difficult being a female in this industry. A lot of men assume that since I’m a girl, I can’t play any instruments and I “just sing.” But, I can play drums, bass, guitar, keys, ukulele, & timbales. I also write my own songs and produce. People are always surprised when I perform or are in sessions. I feel like they shouldn’t be surprised and should expect of me like they would any other person in the industry. I have always felt like I needed to prove myself to people and show them that I belong in this industry. I constantly have to make people take me seriously and not just treat me like “another little singer girl.” I am always humble and treat people with the same respect no matter who they are. I look at these people with the same value and I believe that that should be the overall outlook on our world. Everyone has worth and deserves the same amount of respect.
The younger generation of America is at the forefront of a lot of social justice scenes. What are some causes you’re passionate about?
I am very passionate about issues pertaining to sexism and resolving how women are treated in society especially in the entertainment industry. I believe that women should be taken seriously and given the same opportunities as men because we are powerful, smart, and humble. We deserve the same respect as everyone else in this world.
What artist have you been listening to on repeat lately?
Are you working on any other exciting, forthcoming projects that you want fans to know about?
I am constantly in the studio and working on new songs for y’all. I am so extremely excited to see your reactions to the new material. It’s definitely going to be more edgy, but very fun.
Any last thoughts?
I just want to remind my audience to be themselves and be confident. You don’t need anyone else to tell you to be happy. You are 100% capable of being content on your own.
Featured Image courtesy of Dakota Cohen