"Cary, I would do another show with you if only to hear your songs again...
You're a friggin' genius!"
Pierce Pettis, Songwriter Extraordinaire
If all you know of Cary Cooper is her days with the duo, The Dreamsicles, then you don’t know enough about Cary Cooper. The woman has come into her own.
WINNER Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk Competiton ('04)
2nd PLACE Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriter Showcase ('12)
3rd PLACE Telluride Troubadour Songwriting Competition ('12)
FINALIST Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artist Showcase ('12 & '04)
FINALIST Sisters Folk Festival Dave Carter Memorial Songwriting Contest ('09 & '10)
In 2012, Cary took the folk world by storm by placing 2nd and 3rd in the Rocky Mountain Folks Fest Songwriter Showcase and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival’s Troubadour competition, respectively; along with being an Emerging Artist at Falcon Ridge.
Vance Gilbert has this to say about Cary:
"Cary Cooper moves people in bulk...She is busy serving you stuff to make your life glow. Wake The Frack Up!! Pay Attention. Be Moved!"
"Cary is the Anne Lamott of songwriting...except she can get to the heart of things in 3 minutes instead of 200 pages." -Guitars in the Classroom
Cary has spent the last several years learning the ukulele, perfecting her guitar skills and touring the country in her decked out van, "Zuzu", both as a solo artist, and with her band, “The Jiffy Pops”. She has charmed audiences and stolen hearts on both coasts and venues in between like the prestigious “Bluebird Café” in Nashville and the Kerrville Folk Festival in her home state of Texas.
Cary has also written a slew of new songs, many of which will be on her new record, “Zuzu’s Petals”, to be released in the spring of 2013. With the help of 520 kickstarter backers, Cary raised over $29,000 to fund the production and promotion of Zuzu’s Petals. Produced by Michael Crittenden (Mackinaw Harvest Studios) and mixed by Ben Wisch (Marc Cohn, Jonatha Brooke Kathy Mattea, Lucy Kaplansky), this record takes Cary’s music to a whole new level of listening and to a much broader audience.
Cary and Michael began talking about the possibility of working together in early 2012 at the Folk Alliance Conference. Having met years earlier in Michael's home state of Michigan, they had both been waiting for the right time to pursue a project together.
On Zuzu’s Petals, Cary fully embraces her pop sensibilities while keeping the grounded, thoughtful lyrics her folk audiences have come to expect and adore. Cary’s songs might appear light and whimsical on the surface, but underneath the toe-tapping, sing along nature of her infectious melodies and the oft-times quirky lyrics, you’ll find many deep, universal truths: The joys and sorrows of love and parenthood, the courage it takes to face fears and the fight to live life to the fullest; are just a few of the hopeful messages you’ll find in her music.
The inspiration for the title song, Zuzu's Petals, comes from all the self-doubt that bubbles to the surface in a long term relationship and how sometimes the only way to push through to the other side is to face the fear so you can rise above it.
"Just like Georgie Bailey Christmas Eve
When Clarence showed him reasons not to leave
I put Zuzu's Petals on my car
To remind me not to go too far
Away from all the ones that matter most
Father, daughters and my holy ghosts
So kiss me baby like you did back then
Midnight at the Inwood, skin on skin"
Cary's decision to work with Michael Crittenden hinged on how he approached the production of THIS song. "I knew that if Michael could find a way to build 'Zuzu' in such a manner that made the listener feel the power and emotion I feel when singing it at concerts, he was the man for the job. And trust me, he found a way."
In September of 2012, Cary launched a Youtube channel called RealWomenRealSongs featuring herself and 13 of her favorite women writers who are committed to writing a song a week from a common prompt for an entire year, and posting videos of each newly written song on Youtube and Facebook. The collaborative featuring writers such as Amy Speace, Abbie Gardner (Red Molly), Raina Rose, Mira Stanley (The Sea The Sea), Nicolette Good and Carolann Solebello among others, has been so successful and garnered a such a following, that Cary plans to continue the project with new writers each year.
Another recent boost to Cary’s career happened in early 2011, when Cary was spotted by the producers of Troubadour, TX, a new TV docu/drama series that debuted nationwide in September, 2011 on the CW network.
Along with several other Texas songwriters (including her husband, Tom Prasada-Rao), Cary was cast on the first season of the show.
Stacy Dean Cambell, the host of Troubadour, Tx has this to say about Cary:
"I know Cary can write songs that can turn heads. And doing it over and over and over enough to make a career, is what separates songwriters from GREAT songwriters. Cary's songs are often quirky. It's a part of her uniqueness and might just be what continues to get her noticed. Remember Roger Miller's 'You Can't Rollerskate In a Buffalo Herd' or Randy Newman's 'Short People'? I like the fact that Cary's marching to her own drum".
Cary credits her ukulele for her reinvention as a solo artist. She picked up a uke in the summer of 2010, it blew open the door to a brand new batch of songs that are featured on her 2011 release, “Pink Umbrella”. Pink Umbrella, co-produced by Jagoda and Tomr Prasada-Rao, is light and whimsical in nature, these songs reflect what make Cary stand out in a crowd. She draws you in with her own sense of charm then hits you over the head with lyrics that are deceptively deep. Songs like “Suzanne”, about a 43 year old woman who takes a brief reprieve from the drudgeries of her life to join the circus; and “Jimmy Stewart”, a sweet natured yet angsty song, about the differences in real life love and the love you find in old movies. “Pink Umbrella” released in the fall of 2011 coinciding with her main stage set at the Kerrville Wine & Music Festival and the premiere of Troubadour, Tx.
Cary makes her home in Dallas, TX with her husband and fellow songwriter, Tom Prasada-Rao, her daughters, 17 year old Caroline and 12 year old Hannah Kate, and Thurman, an obnoxiously large and unusually lovable, Goldendoodle.