Celebrating the 100th episode of Basic Folk, host Cindy Howes invites special guest and dear friend Rose Cousins to the podcast. The two talk about family, kinesiology, the world of artistry from photography to poetry and Cousins’ latest album.
Growing up on Prince Edward Island, and on a potato farm specifically, Cousins was in desperate need of an escape from the chores which plagued her as a teenager, and music ended up being that perfect outlet to channel her emotional needs.
“I consider that the piano is probably the closest witness to my youth and my emotional experience,” she says. “It is probably my most intimate relationship from that time. The piano that still lives at the farm, it’s like beaten up and out of tune, but I definitely spent my most painful hurt times there feeling like it was a safe place.”
From this, Cousins developed a craving for authentic and deep connection, just as she fostered all those years ago with her and her piano. She candidly confesses her disdain for small talk and fervent preference for meaningful interactions, a preference which has inevitably influenced her evocative style of writing.
“Small talk makes me want to peel my skin off. I would rather just go right into what the struggle is, because I’m most interested in that, and therefore, I guess most of my catalogue goes to that deep level.”
Before she took off as an artist and songwriter though, Cousins felt drawn to a completely different world: kinesiology. Cousins explains that the study of movement is something she’s always been interested in and continues to be fascinated by, so much so that she feels it’s a degree she’s able to utilize on a daily basis.
Nevertheless, her seemingly endless list of passions and hobbies doesn’t stop there. Being the deeply artistic person that Cousins is, she couldn’t help but verbalize the Venn diagram of creative pursuits she’s invested in from photography to poetry.
“Now that I think about it, poetry is this: it’s somewhere in-between photography and music. If I think about a poem being a snapshot of time that’s being written about in this thing … I guess poetry can be as big and wide as possible, conceptually, but I think probably my favorite poems are the ones that get you tunneled right down to that last line that just punches you in the face.”
And, of course, her love of punchy poetry is reflected in her music, most recently in her newest album entitled Bravado. Cousins explains that she wanted to explore the disparity between ourselves and people’s perception of who we are. When she began to realize this disquieting disparity she began writing one of the tracks, “The Fraud,” and used that as a jumping off point for the rest of the album.
“I was like, this is a part of myself that needs to be mined. And also, aren’t we all employing bravado on some part of the spectrum every single day of our lives? You know, if I think about being an introvert, me being out in the world, I’ve just got some really fine tuned coping skills and I employ bravado all the time.”
In this way, Cousins cleverly personifies bravado and creates a dynamic and thoughtful album in the process. Howes and Cousins go deeper into specific tracks on the album and span topics as far and wide as Canadian musicians to Cousins’ newest dog.
For more of the conversation check out the Basic Folk Podcast.