Courtney Cole is no stranger to life onstage.
The singer-songwriter spent years building a career as a country artist in Nashville, where she worked her way up the industry chain to get a publishing deal at the age of 24.
She even toured with major artists such as Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesney and Wynona Judd, before performing on the main stage at country music festival Stagecoach in 2017.
But when Cole’s publishing deal ended and several personal ties, including a longtime manager, culminated simultaneously that same year, the artist decided to take a leap of faith.
“It was this clean slate where everything just hit a wall,” Cole explained, noting the week after Stagecoach she was back to driving Uber in Nashville. “I loved country music but always kind of felt pulled to Los Angeles. I was like you know what I’m going to go spend a summer in California, write songs and kind of see where that takes me for a bit.”
The decision to uproot her life in Nashville and move to the South Bay to stay on a friend’s couch in Hermosa Beach was frightening, Cole admitted, but the fear and thrill of the unknown motivated her to growth she never expected.
“I got a little place down by the beach and I was scared to death because it was a new city and I had built so much in Nashville,” remembered Cole, who then settled in Redondo Beach. “It was a scary thing...starting on this kind of new journey for myself.”
The Louisiana native admits she was even afraid of the ocean when she first arrived in Southern California, but bought a paddle board to challenge herself.
“I thought if I can conquer this fear and go out in the ocean, I can conquer any city, conquer a whole new vibe,” she said. “Now I’m paddling out three miles and starting to release new music.”
With her new home came the inspiration for a whole new sound for Cole—an acoustic pop vibe with an airy feel reminiscent of the laid-back, beachside lifestyle of the South Bay.
“It’s the place that took me in and let me expand my life,” Cole continued.
Now 32, she is prepping to release her second independent single, titled “Right Direction” this Friday.
The release features an emotional exploration of dreamy sound Cole says she wrote while sitting in her new apartment floor in Redondo Beach, feeling uncertain of where her life was headed.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Cole said. “I just had to take the next step and kind of let the ground appear. It was me figuring out what that moment was going to look like and being brave enough to take that step.”
Cole is set to celebrate the release of the single with her first-ever performance at Hermosa music haven Saint Rocke Wednesday night.
It will be the first of what she hopes will be many local performances as the artist defines her new sound.
After all, this is only the beginning of her brand new direction, Cole added.
“Sometimes people think that by leaving Nashville I’ve quit or that I’ve given up...I feel like I’ve only just started,” she explained. “I’m just getting going creating the best music I’ve ever created and feel the most like an artist that I’ve probably ever felt.”
To check out Courtney Cole’s music, including her first single “Spiritual” and new release “Right Direction” out Friday, August 23, visit https://www.courtneycolemusic.com/