COLE is an alternative pop singer/songwriter and producer from the midwest USA. Formerly known as "Nicole Starr", her new persona has captivated thousands of fans across the globe. With her anthemic choruses, ghostly harmonies and ethereal soundscapes, she delivers a unique sound full of energy, mystery, and soul. Her storytelling is adored by her loyal fans, who anxiously await the arrival of her sophomore album: "This is What Healing Sounds Like" - coming Summer 2022.

Please share a story that includes a happy memory as an artist and has hugely impacted your artistry.

This past December I played my first headline show. It was probably one of the most surreal moments of my life. Being on stage and having people singing along to my music was pretty much the best feeling in the world. It makes me emotional just thinking about it. I’m so grateful that I had that opportunity. That experience was such a good reminder to me to keep going. It was a reminder that although it's hard at times to pursue a music career, it is so worth it.

How do you choose to lead a Happy Healthy life as an artist?

Mental and physical health is very important to me. It’s something I strive to make a priority in my life. I struggle with anxiety disorder and so at times, it can be really tough for me. Which is why I’ve made music my outlet. It's the healthiest way for me to heal and I love it. It truly is therapeutic for me. Music is a space for me to vent and say all the things that I can never put into words.

As far as my physical health goes, I do my best to cultivate an active lifestyle. My husband and I love traveling and we are very outdoorsy people. I actually draw a lot of inspiration from being outside. Nature feels healing to me. I love going on hikes and just letting Mother Nature guide me through my thoughts.

Was it hard work to make sure that you focused on your well-being and not only your art?

Absolutely. I’ve noticed that there is sort of like this tortured artist trope that everyone is obsessed with. There’s this weird “trend” I guess you could call it, where people think that sad music is the only good music out there. And don’t get me wrong, I love a good sad song but… being the artist behind those songs can be so agonizing sometimes. All of the music that I write comes directly from my own experiences. The topics that I write about aren't just made up. They are real life scenarios that I’ve lived through. Whenever you write and release a song about something that broke you, it’s out into the world for just about anyone to criticize. One of my most popular songs is “Your Sweater”. I wrote it about someone that I really loved who completely shattered me. It was the hardest yet most fulfilling song to write. But to this day, it still kind of scares me that that song is available to just anyone. Imagine random strangers having access to your journal. There’s an attachment to their art that artists get sometimes, where you find it hard to release it and let it go. But that can also be a very beautiful thing as well, which is how I try to view it. Being vulnerable is terrifying but it’s also freeing. And I’ve found that it hurts much more to be closed off than it does to wear your heart on your sleeve.

Was there a turning point in how you decided to put yourself first?

Whenever I was 17, I signed to a record label in Atlanta, GA. I had high hopes that this was going to be the thing that would propel me into fame. Long story short, I was sold a dream that didn’t work out as I had planned. I was faced with a lot of adversity and challenges regarding my values. The vision that I had for my career VS the vision that the label did, were not exactly in line. There was a lot of potential for me to blow up with the opportunities that they presented me with, but ultimately it didn’t feel right. I felt like I was being pushed to be someone else. I was young and I think that made me vulnerable. But luckily, I was able to recognize that I was being taken advantage of and so I made the difficult decision to terminate my contract with them. Thankfully they were respectful of my wishes and we were able to move on peacefully. But it was still difficult to turn down the opportunities that were waiting for me. I had to put myself first. I had to stand up for myself. I didn’t want to be controlled by a label. I didn’t want my art to be in the hands of people that I couldn’t trust. I’ve been an independent artist since then and honestly I don’t think I’ll ever sign again. Even though it’s harder to be independent and pretty much do everything yourself… Having that control and power over my own music is really important to me.

How do you like to promote a healthy lifestyle?

I open up frequently about my struggles with anxiety in hopes that it can help others feel not so alone. Last summer I released a merchandise line along with a song called “NICER TO MYSELF”, it’s about breaking the stigma against mental health and as the song title suggests - being nicer to yourself. We really are our worst critics sometimes. The opening lyrics in the song are “I had a panic attack last week. I let my brain bully my body.” I wanted to write a song that truly encapsulated what it’s like to struggle mentally. The response that I got to the song from fans was absolutely amazing and so humbling. So many people reached out to say that they also related and that the song touched them. It meant the world to me that I could contribute to the conversation of mental health and shed some light on such a dark subject.

In what ways are you connecting with fans to check in on each other?

I love my fans so much. I do my best to respond to each and every DM I get. It’s super important for me to be able to connect with them. Sometimes I hate social media because it can be so negative and unhealthy but keeping in contact with my supporters is the reason I stay active on there. I get so many sweet and uplifting messages that just always make my day.

Who checks in on YOU when you need it most?

My husband Zachary is the best at just letting me vent while he listens. He’s my comfort person <3 I’m so thankful to have him as my partner. He is truly my best friend.

Is there a song, book, movie, show, or anything that always gives you the motivation you need?

The song “Gravity” by Chase Atlantic is very inspiring to me. It really speaks to me in a way that makes me feel content with where I’m at. There is another song by Chelsea Cutler “Sleeping with Roses” that has also impacted me. It’s such a short song and has barely any lyricism, yet it resonates with me greatly. Both of these songs are just perfect in my mind. I love listening to them whenever I want to be alone in my thoughts and want to feel at peace.

What is the mantra of 2022?!

Patience and consistency! Knowing that I’m exactly where I'm supposed to be. This year has felt special to me. I find myself seeing “222” everywhere. It’s sort of become my lucky number. So it makes sense that the year 2022 would feel different! I think that there’s a lot in store for me this year and I’m super excited for whatever that might be.

Give all the inside scoop on your latest project!

I’m going to release my sophomore album soon! It has been 2 years in the making and it’s my favorite project I’ve ever worked on. The album is called “this is what healing sounds like”. Every song expresses a piece of my life and my journey with healing and finding myself. It’s honestly the first time that I’ve created something that I truly feel proud of and like it 100% represents me as not only an artist but me as a human being. I am over the moon excited for everyone to hear it. From top to bottom and front to back - I think that people are going to love it and really resonate with it. I must say that God really gave me the words for these songs. I wrote about some pretty tough subjects that I’ve struggled to put into words for years. But through prayer, meditation and mindfulness - I was able to create a project that I never could have without that guidance. I’m truly humbled and owe all of the credit to my creator. I’m also very thankful to my fans who have been so patient with me as I have been working on this. It’s been a long time coming and yet they are still willing and ready to give it a listen as soon as it drops. If I were to be known and recognized for anything… I hope that it’s for this album. It’s the most me I’ve ever expressed (:

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