Rod Coote’s next single may be called Unwind, but the burgeoning singer-songwriter is not about to sit back and relax.
The 23-year-old indie-folk artist and teacher is relishing new opportunities in his adopted hometown of Newcastle and is on a path to bigger and better things.
Coote grew up in a small country town near Tamworth in regional NSW.
“When I was in high school, my mum encouraged me to pick up a hobby. She gave me her old nylon string guitar and it went from there,’’ he said.
As a teenager, Coote began watching YouTube videos and taught himself how to play the guitar.
“My original music idols included Australian indie-pop singer-songwriter Vance Joy and American indie folk band Bon Iver.’’
As Coote’s musical confidence and ability grew, he continued taking on new opportunities through music programs at his rural high school.
Coote also began busking at the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival.
“I loved playing at Tamworth and trying out new songs to see how they were connecting with people,” he said.
“It was great being surrounded by country music stars and watching them perform.’’
After finishing school, Coote decided to join the airforce as part of their gap-year program to learn some new skills.
Coote relocated from regional NSW to Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney throughout the gap year before being posted to Williamtown RAAF Base.
‘’It was so refreshing arriving in Newcastle and being so close to the beach, the landscape, and friendly people,” he said.
“I enjoy being close to nature as well and going on bushwalks.
“Newcastle feels like my sweet spot.’’
At the end of the gap year, Coote decided to pursue a teaching career and enrolled in secondary teaching at the University of Newcastle.
Now settled in Newcastle, Coote’s musical passion has continued to grow along with his teaching prospects.
‘’Newcastle can give me the best of both worlds,” he said.
“There are opportunities for me to pursue my music career and my teaching career here.
“I have played at most venues in Newcastle along with supporting other artists including at Lizotte’s, the Cambridge Hotel and the Civic Theatre.’’
During lockdown last year, Coote reached out to indie-folk singer-songwriter Garrett Kato, who has worked with acts such as Pete Murray, Julia Stone and Tones and I.
“I was working on some demos at home last year, and I saw that some other musicians I know were working with him, so I decided I would send some demos through to him and see what he thinks.
“Flash forward a year later, and we have recorded five songs together!
“We have built a solid partnership. Garrett is a solid mentor to me and a great friend as well.’’
Coote’s latest single, Wild Pine, was released two weeks ago and is a tribute to his late grandfather.
“I wrote the song about a year ago when I was processing the loss of my grandfather,” he said.
“The song is about losing someone close to you and capturing the memories I share with him.’’
Coote said the lyrics were raw and relatable, and the song was stripped back.
He said the words would resonate with “anyone who has lost someone close to them or been away from a loved one for a long period of time”.
Coote will release his next single, Unwind, later this year.
With the hopes of a summer tour in early 2022, Coote says his newest song is considered a “summer anthem”.
“I have bought a van, which is an incentive to keep pushing out and exploring when it is safe to do so,” he said.
“With Spotify, I can pick up more fan bases in different spots, which is encouraging that.’’
In his spare time, Coote enjoys supporting other local musicians by attending their gigs and keeping active in the Newcastle music scene.
“Newcastle has a great local music scene with supportive influences and passionate musicians.’’
Coote has just signed with European-based record label Two Key Records, a modern and independent label focusing on emerging artists.
He is planning on playing his first European tour when overseas travel returns.
Check out Coote’s work on Instagram @rodcootemusic and Spotify