ECMA30: Rose Cousins

After her biggest year yet—and with eight ECMA nominations to show for it—the Halifax-based musician is honing in on songwriting.

click to enlarge VANESSA HEINS
Vanessa Heins

East Coast Music Awards w/Rose Cousins, Measha Brueggergosman, Neon Dreams, Makayla Lynn and more
Thu, May 3, 8pm
Scotiabank Centre, 1800 Argyle Street

Songwriters’ Circle w/Rose Cousins, Jenn Grant, Reeny Smith and more
Sun, May 5, 2pm
The Schooner Room, 1983 Upper Water Street

To say Rose Cousins had a big year is an understatement. When she speaks with The Coast in a phone interview, she's just returned from a week of songwriting in Nicaragua.

"I'm really proud of Natural Conclusion," Cousins says of the album she released in February 2017. She's been nominated for eight ECMAs—the most out of any artist this year—including album and solo recording of the year. "I toured my ass off and I just feel like I'm gaining interesting perspective on energy output and creative output and how it's hard to balance those two things."

Her time in Nicaragua, she explains, left her feeling "electrically charged."

"I've spent the last, you know, decade touring and expending that physical energy," says Cousins. "I think, as time has gone on, I've been more intrigued by writing and I'm seeing that touring kind of takes so much energy that there isn't always time—less for writing, which is of course the thing that my entire career is based on."

Although there was a five-year gap between 2012's We Have Made A Spark and Natural Conclusion, that doesn't mean there wasn't a hell of a lot of work happening between the two. "I was in no way idle. It's so hard to explain, 'cause so much of the job is not seen," says Cousins.

Cousins realized she needed to prioritize the creative side of her career. These days, she's especially inspired by the aspects of music that aren't as familiar to her. "I feel really thankful for all of the diverse and crazy places, geographically and creatively, that music has taken me."

This week, music is taking her home to the east coast again. And that suits her just fine. "I really thrive on the craziness of going out and doing the thing," she says, "and then coming home to the quietness, coziness, small town-ness and it's who I am at my core."