Many artists start gaining popularity and attention during their early years. King of Pop Michael Jackson entered the musical arena as an 11-year-old with the Jackson Five and later received eight Grammy awards in a night. Billie Eilish started at 12 with her brother Finneas and then earned five of the same accolade. Young musicians dot the world. And it seems that the younger the artist, the better the opportunities. However, aspiring talents like Coco O’Connor challenge popular conceptions.
O’Connor has been involved with music as young as 5 years old. At this age, she started writing rhymes and poetry. Her mother was also very supportive of her talents and encouraged her to join pageants, dancing, take singing lessons, and even drama. Her musical talent surfaced quite early and she nurtured it until she became an adult.
It was only when she reached her 40s, however, that she took heart to become a professional recording artist after realizing that it’s not yet too late to pursue her dream.
She’s a mother, singer, and songwriter with an arsenal of well crafted melodic gems. In Cullman, a town in rural Alabama found in the outskirts of Muscle Shoals, O’Connor, like any artist, started figuring out her sound and mastering her style. It was not long after her prowess in songwriting allowed her to release her debut album in 2015. Three years later, she dropped seven songs for the EP This Ol’ War. Her song The Devil, A Wounded Man, And Me received an award at the 15th International Acoustic Music Awards (IAMA) in 2019. At the time, O’Connor produced and wrote the songs independently.
She then worked with renowned personalities in the field like producer Bill McDermott. He is behind the successes of George Strait, Tim McGraw, and Emmylou Harris. And Steve Marcantonio who has worked with award-winning industry artists like Dolly Parton, Roseanne Cash, and Vince Gill. Also on board were Will McFarlane and The Shoals Sisters, whose reputations and achievements exceed expectations. The incredible roster of artists collaborated to create a ten-track album that combines Americana, Folk, Roots, Muscle Shoals Soul, and Appalachian Bluegrass influences. The album would later mark a milestone in O’Connor’s journey.
When I Was Your World came out as a lead single for the album. Written by O’Connor between 2015 and 2016, the song brims with emotions as it reminded her of a life she lives. “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,” explained O’Connor. She partnered with Rick Beresford and Deanna Walker in a songwriting session where she tinkered with the lyrics.
“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,” she added.
The single astounded many, and those who bought the When I Was Your World CD instantly became her fans. They avail of her merchandise and promote her music and products. She engages with her listeners and even corresponds with them through Facebook and email.
Signing a recording deal with Bonfire Music Group, a Grammy-nominated label, at her later age is not a hindrance for O’Connor to establish a reputation in a very competitive landscape. Her songs have been featured in international shows like The Craig Ferguson Show, PBS, The History Channel, Netflix, and National Geographic. She volunteered for Musicians on Call, a movement to bring music to hospitals.
O’Connor wants to become a model for her daughter. She wants her daughter and other people to draw a lesson from her musical journey. “We all should be chasing the dreams in our hearts no matter if we are young or old,” concluded O’Connor.