In 1999, Cary Cooper was 37, and a stay at home mom in a failing marriage. A therapist told her she might die if she didn’t find something that made her happy. A couple of weeks later, she was sitting in a stranger’s living room for a house concert, listening to original songs by performers she’d never heard of. She knew in that moment, she had found the thing that would change her life.
Two years later, Cooper had enough songs to record her first album with producer Tom Prasada-Rao. In 2004 she won the NEW FOLK contest at the KERRVILLE FOLK FESTIVAL, and went on to become a two-time finalist in the DAVE CARTER SONGWRITING CONTEST at the SISTERS FOLK FESTIVAL in Oregon, the NEWSONG CONTEST in West Virgina, two-time EMERGING ARTIST at the FALCON RIDGE FOLK FESTIVAL in New York, and a two-time finalist at the ROCKY MOUNTAIN FOLKS FESTIVAL SONGWRITER SHOWCASE and the TELLURIDE BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL'S TROUBADOUR CONTEST in Colorado, finishing 2nd and 3rd in 2011.
Cary’s songs are funny and poetic, lyrical and melodic. They are inspiring portraits of ordinary life and love, leaving you laughing out loud one minute and wiping tears from your eyes the next - always encouraging you to contemplate living your best life. In 2011, she was featured on SEASON ONE of the nationally syndicated docudrama TROUBADOUR,TX.
In 2014, Cary moved to Asheville, NC where she taught music and songwriting at The Franklin School of Innovation. She spent five summers teaching songwriting at the acclaimed arts camp, INTERLOCHEN in Michigan. Cary is also the founder of REALWOMENREALSONGS, an online songwriting project featuring notable songwriters Tracy Grammer, Sara Hickman, Alice Peacock, Lucy Wainright Roche, Terri Hendrix, Amy Speace, Shanna in a Dress, Tylan Greenstein, Liv Greene, Kate Klim and Annika Bennett, and others.
Cary has recorded 6 solo albums (Gypsy Train, Yellow, Dirty Little Secret, Pink Umbrella, Zuzu’s Petals and Case of the Hopefuls) and two duo albums with Tom Prasada-Rao (The Dreamsicles and Luv Songs for Grown Ups). She recently released a new single, Good Girl, a response to the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade. Cary has a new album in the works by the same name.
Raising two daughters as a single mom, Cary planned to return to the stage when her youngest daughter graduated high school in 2019. She designed and built a tiny house on wheels to help make touring more affordable, but the pandemic of 2020 interfered with her plans. So, in 2021, she rolled her tiny house to Nashville TN to be near other songwriting friends and spent time as a tour guide at Ryman Auditorium. In early 2023 she returned to her beloved community in the mountains of Asheville where she lives happily in her tiny house with her calico cat, Sookie Lou.
Cary Cooper is excited to be performing and touring again. She lives by the mantra that was given to her by Mary Gauthier:
SING THE SONG THAT ONLY YOU CAN SING.
She has it tattooed on her arm.
“Cary Cooper has always had a way with words, and before you know it - her songs will have their way with your heart”. - Tom Prasada-Rao