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Spark plug 

Singer-songwriter Rose Cousins is all about the collaboration with her newest, We Have Made A Spark

click to enlarge Rose Cousins gets by with a little help from her friends
  • Rose Cousins gets by with a little help from her friends

Singer-songwriter Rose Cousins is no stranger to the ECMAs. As she speaks on the phone from her Moncton hotel room during the annual convention, she talks about the numerous incarnations of the festival she's seen since joining the east coast musical landscape 10 years ago.

But for her new record, We Have Made A Spark, Cousins decided to uproot from her Halifax home and move south of the border. "I followed my roots down to Boston and fell in with a group that was really diverse and just into collaborating," Cousins says. "Whether it's serendipity or just luck, I feel like it brought me out of my shell a lot more."

Although Cousins has been touring to the Massachusetts capital for roughly eight years, she decided to make her new record in Boston due to the sense of community in the city and its Haligonian sized talent pool.

"It's crazy how much diversity and talent comes out of Nova Scotia and out of the Atlantic region. Just in Halifax you can get every genre of music--- and that happens to be the same in Boston as well ---but you just may get more people who can play bluegrass," she says.

Boston's musical community aided Cousins on Spark by setting her up with a diverse range of session players and songwriters. It was the collaboration between these musicians that Cousins thinks really set the songs apart from her previous full-lengths. "I do so much playing on my own that any chance I get to collaborate is just nutritious to me," she says. "The songs can stand alone as well, but I just enjoy playing with people so much and I think it enhances my musical experiences."

But that collaborative experience extends further than just her immediate group of talented friends. In the past she has funded her albums through PayPal and taking donations at shows. But for Spark, Cousins decided use the fundraising website Kickstarter to finance the album.

"It was exactly what I did before, but it's become a more popular way to do it," she says of the service, adding she expects more independent artists to use it in the future. "It's just not for any particular kind of person. Anyone can do it. I really think it's driving a lot of creators in the world."

She originally planned to host the campaign for 45 days to reach the album's $20,000 cost, but ended up reaching her goal a week in advance and raised an extra $5,000 to boot.

And although the album has only been out since February, the record has already been picking up steam south of the border, getting support from USA Today and folk/roots blog No Depression, as well as gaining critical acclaim at home in the Canadian music rags.

"Maybe it's sketchy that there hasn't been a bad review yet, but I don't really know," Cousins laughs. "I'm not going to question it."

But critical support aside, Cousins admits the album wouldn't have been made without the help from her frequent collaborators in Boston and Halifax, as well as the generous support from the online community.

"I'm lucky to put my name on it and say I wrote the songs, but it really was a collaborative effort," she says. "That's the privilege we get as human beings. Sometimes we get people in a room together and we make a spark."

Rose Cousins w/ special guests, Sunday, April 22 at the www.sonicconcerts.com, $27.99/$32.99

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