HUGE thanks to Rebecca Turner for having me on Good Things – SuperTalk Mississippi! One of the best interviewing experiences I’ve had.
REBECCA TURNER: And today we get to spend some time with a real life person in the studio with us here on Good Things. Joining us today is Cole Powell. He is from Jayess, Mississippi, and a celebrated singer songwriter. He recently won the EP of the year at the Josie Music Awards which will learn more about. So welcome, Cole.
COLE POWELL: Hi, Rebecca! Thanks for having me today.
REBECCA: It’s so good to have you in.
REBECCA: If we haven’t heard of the Josie Music Awards, tell us a little bit about those.
COLE: Yeah, absolutely. It was founded, I think in 2015, I believe, by Josie and Tinamarie Passantino. They’re a mother daughter duo, and they had a lot of connections in the music industry, and they were looking for a way to celebrate independent music—musicians that were sometimes overlooked by the majors. You know, artists who are on major labels and getting recognized by the Grammys, and they put together the Josie Music Awards show to basically celebrate unique and good voices in independent music. And the first two years was actually held in Nashville, and then they moved out of Nashville and started holding the award show in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. And it’s just a really phenomenal event to celebrate independent musicians. You know, people who’ve been—have been on the road working hard, have been in studio working hard, and don’t necessarily get that recognition by the major players.
REBECCA: Cole, when you mentioned like—when we hear the words “indie—”
REBECCA: —or you’re calling independent music.
REBECCA: I mean, I get—I get what independent means is by yourself.
COLE: (laughs) Right.
REBECCA: But explain that a little more about maybe what the indie industry is—like what it means to be an independent musician.
COLE: Sure, absolutely. You’ve got major record labels, okay? This is—these are—these are the big boys. These are Universal.
COLE: And most of the artists that you hear on the radio, most of the artists that you see getting Grammy awards—those are quote, unquote “major artists.” They’re not independent artists. Independent artists are artists who are signed to smaller labels that aren’t associated with a major—one of these bigger labels—or independent artists who aren’t associated with a label at all, who are just out there, you know, playing music, trying to make a career out of it, or just create art and share it with people. So—and they don’t really have the support, you know, the—the marketing machine of these major artists. They usually have to do it themselves or, if it’s a small record label, there may be a small marketing team there. And—and Mississippi has a really large independent music industry. And Jackson in particular actually has a very large independent music industry, and in Mississippi, most of the independent musicians, you know, they’re—they’re out there playing three or four shows a week, you know, trying to make a living at it, doing something that they love.
REBECCA: You got nominated for—for two, though. Which other sections or—or classes did you get nominated?
COLE: It was for a song—Best Collaboration—which was a song—the name of song was “Company.” It was a song that I co-wrote and performed with my wife, and I actually thought— First of all, I didn’t think I was going to win anything. Honestly, I had—whenever—a friend of mine had won a few years ago, and I thought, you know, “If I ever release another record, maybe I’ll submit it just, you know, just for fun.”
And I submitted the collaboration track and then the EP. Didn’t really expect to get even nominated because, you know, I mean, there’s—there’s a lot of great independent artists out there that are—that are trying to get these awards. And the—whenever the nominations came out, and they were both nominated, I was like, “Wow! This is—this is incredible!” And the awards show was actually scheduled for mine and my wife’s 10th anniversary, and we had spent our honeymoon in Pinge—Pigeon Forge. So, it was like a complete (chuckles)—
COLE: —full circle turnaround!
REBECCA: So no matter what, it was just gonna be a cool trip for you guys anyway.
COLE: Absolutely, absolutely! So we got up there, and I thought, “Okay, I really don’t think I’m going to win either of these. If—the only one I’ve got a shot of winning is the collaboration because my wife’s voice is phenomenal and most people like her a lot better than me. So I was like (chuckles), “Okay, if—if I win one, the—it’s going to be best collaboration.” So the first category that they announce when the award show started was the best collaboration category, and we didn’t win it. And I was like, “Okay, well, I’m just going to sit back enjoy the show!”
And I watch several people win awards, and they had entertainment in between awards. And when it got to the EP category, I was still like, “Eh, I’m not going to win this.” And then there was a little thought. I was like, “Well—“ I was wearing a suit, and I had my jacket unbuttoned. And I was like, “Well, just on the—just on the off chance, I better get my jacket buttoned.”
COLE: So (laughs), while I’m trying to get my jacket buttoned, they announce—she says, “And the Josie Award goes to…Redux II, Cole Powell!” And I’m just in—just in complete shock.
COLE: And my wife turns around, and she says, “Cole! Cole!”
REBECCA: “That’s you!”
COLE: “It’s you!” Exactly! (chuckles) So, I said, “Wow.” And I get up, and I’m trying get down there, and they’re playing one of my songs over the P.A. system, and, I mean it’s just like what you see on television. It’s—it was incredible. It was so surreal. And I got up there, and I want to try to get through the acknowledgements quickly and try and not forget anybody.
REBECCA: Like your wife.
COLE: Right! Like my wife. And I got up there, and I was—I didn’t wanna take anybody’s time. I wanted to make sure there was plenty of time for everyone to get up and have a say. And I felt like I was talking at warp speed, and that I was sounding real high-pitched. Like I—in my head, I imagine me sounding like Mickey Mouse. (laughs) That’s what I thought was coming out of my mouth.
And, anyway, I got up there, I gave the acknowledgments, I went back to my seat. And it was just—it was just a surreal moment. And the awards show itself was so spectacular. It was—it was just filled with nothing but camaraderie and celebration for each other and each other’s music. There were no agendas. There were a lot of spiritual acknowledgements and people’s acknowledgements of faith. And it was just a really incredible event.