Here's my interview with Art Koop
How'd you get started in music?
I was surrounded by music as a kid. I was more than a decade younger than my 3 siblings, and they all took piano lessens. My dad taught himself to play piano.
For me it came naturally. I found pennies in my sandbox and made up a song when I was preschool age. There was a song written in a book I was read, and I made a melody for it. I started writing music for a song on manuscript paper, banging out notes one by one and figuring it out on the piano, before I even took lessons. Then piano lessons, voice lessons, music theory and composition in University.
What are your inspirations or influences?
I was always drawn to lyricists and songs that told a story. I went to a Harry Chapin concert by myself when I was 12 years old - probably at least 10 years younger than anyone else there. Tom Petty is big for me. Bob Dylan. John Lennon. Paul Simon. Sting.
I also have a very low voice, so Leonard Cohen and Johnny Cash and early Brad Roberts (Crash Test Dummies) are pretty important to me.
And I've always had a soft spot for the blues. Muddy Waters. BB King.
What advice would you offer aspiring performers?
I don't remember who said it - a woman performer - Either be the best, or be different from anyone else. That's if you want to make it.
For me, though, I don't much care if I make it or not (hardly anyone knows me or my stuff, although it's on a couple hundred mostly obscure playlists and another musician has used 3 sets of my lyrics for his music, with my permission). So for me it's about writing songs that I don't hear anyone else writing, for my own low voice, in my own way, and sometimes about topics that nobody else takes on.
And, as for the last question, that's what sets me apart. I have my own strumming, picking, and muting styles on guitar. I try to avoid cliche phrases. I'm concerned about society and education, as a teacher, so my songs are about that. And I have a lower voice than 99% of other singers, so it's that bass range that I stay in. It's just me and my guitar so far, and it sounds simple, but I try to find subtle ways to add interest and expression.