Seed Award 2021 Q&A: Phoebe Coco

Phoebe Coco in a woodland setting
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To celebrate the winners of this year’s Seed Award, we caught up with all the selected artists and composers for a quick chat.

Here, we speak to Phoebe Coco.

Can you tell us about your musical influences?

I’m inspired by the human voice in all its forms, from the more traditional; folk, choral and vocal to the modern; pop and contemporary music. This ranges from vocal pieces by Meredith Monk, to folk songs with no known origin, to alternative popular music such as Kate Bush. Genre aside, I admire songs that convey and share stories through the craft of words and sound.  

Much of what drives me to create musically comes from the everyday- conversations, informal playing of music with others, the sounds of nature in the city all feed into my work and practice.  

I am moved to create music with strong environmental themes and I admire projects such as Robert Macfarlane’s  ‘The Lost Words, Spell Songs’ which span across medium and genre to create space for positive growth and discussion in relation to our environment. I have recorded an acapella original arrangement of one of his songs  – a ‘charm- against-harm’ ‘Heartwood’.  

What are you working on at the moment?

I am further developing ‘Tree Song’, a project investigating relationships and definitions of nature and humanity through song, sound, music, voice and performance.  I am currently writing and recording songs that investigate trees and our relationship to them to explore greater environmental themes.  The form this project takes ranges from immersive ‘Tree Song Tree Trails’ across London, to live performances where performers sing in the branches of trees, to releasing a studio album continuing my work as a recording artist.  

I find the human voice very powerful and run singing sessions to explore ways to connect, both to each other and our environment through the act of singing. I am particularly moved by the female voice, and frequently sing and perform Tree Songs with my mother and sisters to create ‘blood harmonies’. 

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