Emma Cook
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Emma Cook

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2001 | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2001
Solo Alternative Singer/Songwriter




"Emma Cook - Counting Sheep Review"

"She’s back to making music, the thing she does best- writing and recording sweet folk music with depth and soul- she’s definitely a gal with a story to tell." - Gonzo online

"BeeHive Candy"

"in all honesty, the three songs are superb!" - Beehive Candy

"Imprint Magazine"

Emma Cook
Emmazing Records

This disc should come with a pack of cigarettes and a beret. It's contemplative, folkish and fittingly sad. Emma Cook's voice pierces my cold black heart and injects it with emotive vocals backed by reflective, meandering riffs.

If I woke up every morning and "Watch Dog" was playing from my alarm clock, I would be a very sad man, but I'd certainly enjoy the music. Manifesto spends most of its lyrics distilling the problems of life, love and girlhood. It's an angry and bitter disc lyrically, but musically it makes you want to snap your fingers.

I don't mean to use a tired expression, but I really did feel like getting some fierce finger-snapping going on through some of the tracks. It's that good. The band uses bongos on a lot of the tracks, leading up to some fierce bongo solos and interesting musical combos. I never thought I'd toss up the horns for a bongo solo.

Cook's voice is passive-aggressive. Sometimes I feel soothed, other times I feel playfully slapped. She's like Alanis Morrisette doing a duet with Sheryl Crow.

The east-coast folk influence is vibrantly clear in her music. It's a genre that has a special place in my heart -- the perfect music for sitting out on the patio with my dogs.

Manifesto is a phenomenal disc, and doubly so considering how independent Cook is. I wholly recommend it to anyone looking for some chill music that will make you think. The lyrics will make you feel things, the riffs will inspire you and the bongos may just make you dance.

Emma Cook, I throw up my metal horns of folk just for you. Rock on.

You can catch Emma Cook performing at the Rivoli in Toronto on Friday, June 23 and at Nathan Phillips Square on Tuesday, July 18.

-- Tim Alamenciak - University of Waterloo

"The Daily Press"

Emma Cook - Manifesto - Martha Wainwright, watch your back; Emma is going to steal your thunder.

This took me a little by surprise with the solid acoustic guitar work, heady lyrics and stoned innocence.

Tracks like Watch Dog and the funky but vicious slap of Polyester Nails will make you sit up and take notice, yet most of the album is acoustic, laid back and confessional like Girl In The Mirror, Play and Waiting For Blood. - Timmins, On

"Scene Magazine"

Toronto singer/songwriter Emma Cook’s debut CD spotlights a voice reminiscent of Alanis Morrisette (Watch Dog) or Joni Mitchell (Girl In The Mirror) or Sarah McLachlan (The Wrong Track). And those are just the first three tracks. Backed by a talented group of musicians, the songwriting and arrangements are first class.  Check out the bass lines on the quirky Polyester Nails. Cook has the ability to take the familiar and then suddenly surprise you by going off in another direction completely. A good example of this is Play, which begins as a variation on Tracy Chapman's Fast Car and then turns into a totally original piece. It's those surprises that make Manifesto so intriguing. – Dave Clarke   B+


  - Scene Magazine

"Merritt Herald - April 2, 2008"

Toronto indie folkster Emma Cook’s second album Hit and Run has an immediacy that leaps out of your speakers, lodging itself deep in your ears. The sparse instrumentation mixes acoustic guitar, bass, drums and liberal sprinklings of horns and strings.

There are many albums that take several listens to really get you involved – this isn’t one of them. Cook’s song-

writing sweeps you up, carries you along and never lets go.

The songs range from upbeat odes to service professionals, like Coffee Shop Girl, down to Beautiful You, an amazingly pretty tribute to Cook’s mom.

Cook doesn’t fool around. Each song has a point, and there are no wasted lines or throwaway musical bits. The album runs almost 57 minutes, but it’s tight and cohesive.

Emma Cook sounds Canadian in the best possible sense – she’s sweet, frank and ballsy. It’s a good combination. - By Colin Oswin - Merritt Herald - April 02, 2008

"Red Deer Express - April 10, 2008"

Hit & Run
Emma Cook

Toronto-based folkie Emma Cook sings like an angel – her soft but supple vocals embrace her musical creations beautifully.

On her new CD Hit and Run, listeners are treated to a rich, full-bodied sound from the confident tones of This Boy to the sumptuous acoustic-guitar musical foundation and personal lyric of aptly-titled Song You Asked Me Not To Write.

Things go a tad country on the title track, which Cook handles with grace and style. Again, the production is top-notch – the tapestry of instruments flow together with stylish sophistication.

Cook’s primary instrument remains her voice – it can convey emotions of tender vulnerability (Take it or Leave It) or exhilarating independence (the breezy Coffee Shop Girl).

It’s tough not to be won over by Cook’s luminous approach to crafting songs – a refreshing change of pace when so many artists try so hard to be, well, pretty much the same.

Rating: 4 out of 5

- Mark Weber
- Red Deer Express - Mark Weber - April 10, 2008

"Muse's Muse - May 27, 2008"

By Chip Withrow - 05/27/2008 -

Genre: Folk/Jazz/Soul
Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Coffee Shop Girl, Wound Up, Hit & Run

CD Review: Emma Cook can be a jazzy hipster a la Rickie Lee Jones, an eclectic avant-folkie like Joni Mitchell, or a soulful ingénue of the Dusty Springfield school. She takes the best of my heroines and gives us Hit and Run.

“This Boy” opens the CD with finger-snapping jazz folk – Emma’s vocal dances around the melody, and her acoustic rhythm is a steady groove. Ben Sures delivers lightning bolts of electric guitar, which he does throughout the album.

On “Song You Asked Me Not to Write,” Emma’s voice is sultry, smoky and vulnerable. Her backing vocals are ethereal and cool on this and many other cuts. Another soulful delight, “Just A Man,” has a smoldering groove and more of Sures’ searing guitar.

The title cut is a sweet Americana (Is it called that in Emma’s native Canada?) romp, complete with fiddle and accordion. The bright verses tumble into the lilting countrified chorus – I can hear Shania Twain doing this one, and it would be in the more authentic vein of her earlier work. “The Lookout” is another twangy, fun tune – I like both of these, and I’d like to hear Emma do a whole release of these kinds of songs.

“Coffee Shop Girl” just puts a big grin on my face. It’s bouncy and poppy, with the delightful bonus of Lina Allemano’s trumpet. Great bop-bopping chorus, too, and it is clever how the song’s brightness belies the wistful lyrics. The achingly pretty “Beautiful You” follows – Emma has a daring vocal range, and she hits some nice notes here. Plus, the trio of guitars (two acoustic, one electric) chime together elegantly.

“Wound Up” is one of the most killer songs on the disc, a sensuous jazz rocker punctuated by John Showman’s fiddle. Again, Emma shows she is an agile rhythm guitarist, and her vocal is wailing and take-no-prisoners sexy. “Even Your Mama Can Wear Stiletto Boots” is also really direct and really cool, with sharp lyrics and distinct mute trumpet.

I like a good tearjerker closer, and “Already Gone” is made even sadder with Paul McCulloch’s cello. Emma Cook lays her thoughts and emotions bare throughout Hit and Run, and it’s as if “Already Gone” squeezes out the last drops of what’s left in her soul at the end of this fine release.

- Muse's Muse

"CMW 06 Showcase Review"

Toronto's Emma Cook put an edgier feel on the evening with tracks from her CD Manifeso. Passionate, challenging, defiant, yet personal, Emma's passion did not overwhelm the intimate surroundings.

"I've played here before. I've never seen so many in this tiny little room," Emma quipped as she sang "Never Look." Emma's passion came through "Just A Man," which put the males in the room at notice.

The evening, while not 100% salsa, was special. Women, independent musicans, were drawing the card with their own production companies, including Emmazing Records. The music world, including the latin music world will be taking notice. - salsato.com

"Pop Journalism - Sept 2008"

Cook debuted in 2003 with Manifesto and since then she has toured across the country with her brand of genre jumping tunes that is rooted in country, rock, and jazz. Opening track, “This Boy” is the best example of this experimentation with its jazzy vocal phrasing, blues guitar riffs, and radio-ready pop chorus. The title track continues this trend, but instead brings to mind a mid-summer hayride with its gentle accordion, soaring fiddle and sweet gospel harmonies. What is so enjoyable about Hit & Run is that every track has a different mood and shade but the result is one cohesive story that showcases one of Canada’s blossoming singer-songwriters. - Canada's Popular Culture and Media Magazine

"Yorkton This Week - August 2008"

Emma Cook debuted on the solo scene in 2003 with the CD Manifesto. Hit & Run is her second solo effort, and it's a good one.
Cook, who hails from Southern Ontario has a sound that really crosses the genres, something you realize right from the opening cut This Boy. This Boy is one of those songs which could make MuchMusic, yet might also fall neatly under the category of jazz, with enough blues influence to catch fans of that genre too.

Song You Asked Me Not To Write follows that trend, again with jazz influences, a bit of stage musical sensibility, and again just on the edge of modern female soft rock vocals.

It might sound like the overall result would be a bit disjointed, but that is not the case. Cook has a voice with the range to easily encompass the various genres, and the lyrics work on the various levels too.
What I really appreciate here is the way this young vocalist has so skillfully written music that holds together so well as it crosses the genre barriers. Cook, who was classically trained, has certainly learned the basics well, and is now putting the knowledge to skillful use. She even manages a little country heart on the title cut, showing just how far she goes in dipping into different musical pools to achieve the finished product.

The best cut is Take It Or Leave It, a dark mood piece with compelling lyrics and great music.
This is certainly a young Canadian artist who has a vision to expand music beyond the comfortable pigeon-hole many artists are content to occupy. This CD is worth seeking out for that alone.

A very solid job by Cook who explores widely, yet keeps the finished product as a coherent musical piece.
-- CALVIN DANIELS - Yorkton This Week

"Sault Star"

Folk-rocker's nod for foreign genre doesn't give her the blues.

Emma Cook wasn't about to turn down an acknowledgement of her musical talent.

She was nominated for best blues artist by Toronto Independent Music Awards earlier this year.

But the nod came as a bit of a surprise because she is a folk-rock singer.

"I think they wanted to nominate me for something, but I guess they couldn't fit me in anywhere else because there was already somebody they wanted to nominate," laughed Cook during a recent telephone interview from Toronto.

"(The nomination) was better than nothing, I guess."

Cook earned numerous critical plaudits for her debut album, Manifesto, and her just released follow-up, Hit & Run.

She was determined to play a more active role in the disc's production after "a few little arguments" with the producer of her first disc.

"I have really strong ideas about how I want things to sound," said Cook.

"They're my songs. I just feel like probably I would be the best person to do it if I could."

Acknowledging she "didn't really know all the technical stuff," Cook was assisted by Jordan Bell.

"It felt more powerful," she said of her production duties.

"Sometimes it gets a little daunting when you have to pay for all the studio time. It felt really good that I could do it."

Cook recruited more guest
musicians for Hit & Run, including John Showman of the Creaking Tree String Quartet (fiddle) and Lina Allemano (trumpet).

"On each song I heard specific instruments," she said.

"I went about finding those people."

Cook will share the stage with Gord Mowat (double bass) and Tim Shia (drums) when she plays Loplops Oct. 3. Alison Lickley opens.
Show starts at 9 p. m. Cover is $10.
Cook travels to Wawa for an
Oct. 4 date at Rock Island at 7 p. m. - Sault Star


Same Old Song (November 2016)

Counting Sheep EP (July 2016)

Hit & Run - Deluxe Eco-Edition (Feb 2009 - USA)

Hit & Run (May 2008 - Canada)

Manifesto (August 2003)



2016 FACTOR Juried Sound Recording recipient Emma Cook combines a powerful and haunting voice reminiscent of Sarah McLachlan with the song stylings of Feist or Jenn Grant. She also knows what it means to struggle. The Toronto indie-folk singer was well on her way to making a name for herself before a falling tree branch caused a serious head injury and forced her to take a hiatus from music to focus on recovery. After a three year battle with Post-Concussive Syndrome, Emma drew 2016 to a close with the release of her third album ‘Same Old Song, produced by Mitch Girio (Emma-Lee’s Never Just a Dream). The cover of Same Old Song shows a single tree branch, an ode to the artists ongoing fight to recover from her injuries and the power of music to get us through the hardest of times. Same Old Song debuted at #3 on the folk charts in Edmonton and landed Emma a synch licensing deal with Community Tree Music in Vancouver. She performed the new album to a packed house at Toronto’s Burdock Music hall at the end of Feb 2017 and there was not a dry eye in the house.

Before her injury, Emma had logged over 100 shows across Canada, the US and the UK and had official showcases at NXNE, CMW & Indie Week. She was a 2008 Toronto Independent Music Awards nominee and received an Ontario Arts Council grant to record her second album “Hit & Run.” Written and co-produced by Emma, both of her albums have garnered fantastic reviews and sought the attention of campus radio, CBC and the Verge on XM Satellite Radio. 

In early 2016 Emma began writing songs again. “They just started pouring out of me” she said, “I was channeling all of the loss and frustration, all of the pain and hardship of the last few years.” Thanks to a recent FACTOR grant, Emma has finished recording her fourth album with producer Dean Drouillard (Royal Wood), the first single of which got her into the second round of the CBC Searchlight competition. Emma looks forward to a busy year ahead with an official Indie Week showcase and being part of the Export Development program and the FMO Conference before releasing her new album and embarking on a Canadian and international tour.

Charting/Radio Play


Debuted at #3 on the folk charts, Edmonton AB,  campus and CBC radio stations across Canada.

#1 Folk/Roots Charts CFBX, Kamloops; #10 Folk/Roots/Blues Charts, CHLY 101.7, Nanaimo; Featured on Toronto 680 News Talk Radio; CBC "Fresh Air" Featured on "Just Us Folk" with host Jan Vanderhorst, CJMQ, Sherbrook; CFRE, Toronto; CIBL, Montreal; CKUT, Montreal; CHSR, Fredricton; CILU, Thunder Bay; CANOE-FM, Haliburton; CHIP, Fort Cologne; CKPC, Brantford; Featured 2 times CKBF/BFBS, Medicine Hat; Indie Love Radio, Toronto; CHMR, St Johns; CKDU, Halifax; CFMH, St John; CKRL, Quebec; CFOU, Trois Rivieres; CKCU, Ottawa; CJAM, Windsor; CILU, Thunder Bay; CKUW, Winnipeg; CJUM/UMFM, Winnipeg; CFCR, Saskatoon; CHIP, Fort Coulogne;

Charted #28 to #15, CFOU, Quebec; Permanent rotation CKMS, Waterloo; Charted CILU, Thunder Bay; CIUT, Toronto; CHIP, Fort Coulogne; "The Verge" XM Satelite Radio; CBC, Toronto; CHMR, St Johns; CAPR, Sydney; CFXU, Antigonish; CFMH, St Johns; CHSR, Fredericton; featured every Wednesday, CKRL, QB; CJMQ, Lennoxville.

Band Members