Coco Love Alcorn loves to sing. “My whole career I’ve explored a lot of genres,” she says. “Folk, jazz, soul, R&B, pop, hip hop. For years I’ve been trying to figure out how to bring in all of those things that I love about so many different genres and find a musical home for myself.” With the release of her latest album, Wonderland, Alcorn feels she’s found that home. While there are elements of jazz and folk in the songs from this album, there is a definite gospel influence to them, so much so, they’ve been taken up by choirs around the world.
Alcorn took time off from heavy touring about four years ago to raise her daughter, performing only the occasional concert close to home. When she felt ready to start writing music again, she was dealing with a repetitive strain injury to her forearm that left her unable to play guitar, so she turned to a five track looper. She recorded herself laying down bass, rhythm, harmony and melody tracks using only her voice as an instrument. She wrote “The River” in three hours. “It’s one of the fastest songs I’ve ever written,” says Alcorn. “It was already a full choral arrangement the way it flowed out of me.” She posted a video of herself performing “The River” and “Good News” online as a way to re-connect with fans and found choral groups from as far away as the U.K. picking up her work and singing it. “Those song went up [on YouTube] almost two years before I released the album,” says Alcorn. “It was such an amazing positive response to have people embrace these songs and start singing them themselves.” It gave her energy to complete the album and helped inspire the name of her current tour, An Invitation To Sing. In addition to the CD, Alcorn released a songbook that includes a download card for the album along with the complete lyrics and chords as way of giving her audience a way to engage more deeply with her music. The shows on this tour purposefully incorporate sing-a-along moments as yet another way to get people involved. “Some audiences don’t take to it as much, so I pull back a bit,” admits Alcorn. “For the most people are choosing to sing along and are saying to me at the break or after the show that it was amazing for them.”
Singing along isn’t mandatory, of course, and a big part of going to a Coco Love Alcorn concert is to hear her rich, full-bodied voice. She has chosen Gibsons as one of the few places where she will be hosting a vocal workshop during the tour. “My goal is to share and connect with people,” says Alcorn. “It’s always been about that relationship between myself and my audience in a live show. That’s where it’s special for me.”
A Vocal Workshop with Coco Love Alcorn takes place Friday, Nov. 24, 7-9pm. $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Pre-register at: cocoworkshopgibsons.bpt.me. See Coco Love Alcorn live in concert Saturday, Nov, 25 at 7:30pm. Tickets $25 at the door or $20 in advance at Strait Music, MELOmania, WOW Gallery or cocogibsons.bpt.me. Both events take place at the Gibsons Heritage Playhouse. Visit cocolovealcorn.com for more information.