Lindsey Cohen is one of those people you could feel jealous of. She’s a 17 year old singer/songwriter from NYC whose new album ‘Grace Under Pressure’ has drawn comparisons to Janis Joplin. She’s also just been accepted to study at the prestigious Columbia University, and spends her spare time doing charity work. So, yeah. Unfortunately, we love both her and her music too much to feel jealous of her! We sat down with her recently to get the scoop.
YA Mag: Hi Lindsey, thanks for taking time to chat with us. We’ve devised a little ‘getting to know you’ exercise in these questions. Firstly, sum yourself up in three words?
Lindsay Cohen: Musician, Friend, New Yorker
YA: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
LC: My parents taught me that it’s important to always try my best and to have confidence in myself. I think those are both great pieces of advice.
YA: When did you start writing music?
LC: I started writing music when I was 14. I’m a pretty quiet person and tend to avoid confrontation, so a lot of the time I find that I’m able to say things in songs that I would never be able to say to someone’s face. Writing music has become a really good form of expression and an emotional outlet for me.
YA: What things provided you with inspiration when you were writing your album, Grace Under Pressure?
LC: Most of my inspiration for Grace Under Pressure came from personal experiences and relationships that I thought other people could relate to. My favorite thing about music is its ability to connect people through shared experiences and emotions, so that’s something I always look to do with my music.
YA: You’re also involved in the charity MalaikaForLife. How did that come about?
LC: In school I’ve always been really interested in biology and international relations, which led me to become passionate about global health. I can’t accept the fact that people around the world die from preventable and treatable diseases like malaria because they can’t afford the medicines they need. While researching different global health efforts, I came across MalaikaForLife, an organization that sells bracelets made by Tanzanian women to raise money for malaria medicine. I love that Malaika not only provides malaria medicine to those in need but also empowers women to fight against a disease plaguing their communities. The bracelets are also really beautiful – I have one in almost every color!
YA: You’ve been compared to a young Janis Joplin. Are there any other artists, past or present, who you’d like to team up with to perform a duet?
LC: I would love to perform a duet with Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend), James Mercer (Broken Bells), Fiona Apple, Elvis Costello, Ingrid Michaelson, or Sara Bareilles.
YA: We heard on the grapevine that you’ve just been accepted into Columbia. Congrats! What are you looking forward to most about being a university student?
LC: I’m really looking forward to meeting new people and getting to explore the subjects that interest me.
YA: Between being a great student, a humanitarian and a talented singer/songwriter, some might say that you are something of a role model for youngsters. But as Cyndi Lauper says ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’. Tell us about the last time that you did something naughty.
LC: My friends and I hung out at the beach one night. I’m not sure if that’s really naughty, but I was terrified!
YA: Ok, some quick fire rounds for you now: Mountains or beach?
YA: Would you rather be too hot or too cold?
LC: Too hot
YA: What is your favorite restaurant in New York City?
LC: I love Benoit in midtown. They have great escargots (snails…I know it sounds gross but they taste awesome) and their profiteroles are amazing!
YA: Where and when can we catch you playing live?
LC: I’m playing at SideWalk Cafe in NYC on July 23rd
YA: Which five songs do you have playing on your iPod right now?
LC: 1. Step – Vampire Weekend
2. S.O.S In Bel Air – Phoenix
3. The Ghost Inside – Broken Bells
4. Don’t Save Me – Haim
5. Girls Chase Boys – Ingrid Michaelson