Artist Interview: “Careful” by Craig Cooney

Q: “Careful” is beyond incredible. I love how you flex a little bit in the song to express to everyone listening that you worked hard to get where you are and to get what you have. Talk to me about why you wanted to write a song about your hard work and achievements.

COONEY: I really appreciate that! I feel I’ve always been looked at as the underdog in the hip-hop scene; I work extremely hard and always give every project my all. I’ve stayed up for hours sending emails, writing, and planning after a day’s work. I get a kick-off knowing I’m working while everyone is sleeping. I’ve had many ups and downs just like anyone, and I felt it was time to just have fun with the track and to talk about my achievements, ambitions, and goals.

Q: We know that it’s not easy and quick to make your way to the top as an artist. From the sounds of your new single, it’s nowhere but up for you. But tell me about your journey into the music scene. What got you into music and motivated you to keep pursuing it?

COONEY: Music has always been around in my house growing up. We lived in a quiet part of the country, so my mam would keep the radio on all night for background noise, so it was on 24 hours a day. When I did a freestyle one night, it went viral. I had no idea people enjoyed it that much. I thought to myself, If I can actually sit down and write, then I would definitely get a few people to listen. My kids motivate me the most.

I want them to know that they can chase their dreams and take risks in life; if it makes them happy, then do it! Life is too short to be doing something you don’t enjoy. I truly love music. It has helped me in so many aspects of my personal life too. I know my kids are proud of me [because] when they have friends over, they show them my videos on YouTube, etc., and that to me is golden!!


Q: You begin the song with the lyrics: “If I was a driller, a dealer a killer, a trapper a hitter, I wouldn’t be telling you that on my tracks even the closest switch up and turn bitter.” What do you mean by these words?

COONEY: I find a lot of artists in hip hop aren’t being very true to themselves, not all, just some. There are a lot of egos and personas, and that’s fine, but I know there are artists out there claiming to live a life they’re not.


Q: You also say, in your song, “Call up my management tell em I switched up the style to increase my pay,” is that your view on the industry? That a certain style gets more money?

COONEY: That line is a bit braggadocious. I’m not gonna lie, but it’s hip hop! I’m stating that I will only get better, grow, and achieve more, and with that comes more money from shows, features, etc. Not a lot of people have management, so it’s cool to slip that in there, too.



Q: Do you think changing your style would impact your sound?

COONEY: No 2 tracks in my catalog sound the same, I know it’s cliche, but I really do what I feel and enjoy. I don’t hold a persona or play and act, hence my stage name being the same as my birth name. With that, I can do songs about love, life, success, and then I can do hard hip hop songs and laid-back tracks, too. I’m just being me; I don’t think it would impact my sound as every track has that Craig Cooney element.


Q: The singing in the background is beautiful and takes it all the way back to ’90s Hip Hop. What inspired you to add that gorgeous voice?

COONEY: That was the genius that is Chris Kabs, he produced the track, and he did not disappoint. I’ve been wanting to work with him for a long time. When he heard my verses, he suggested adding Hxney to the track to do what she did and add that extra needed flavor, Chris is in the industry and long time, so when he suggests something I’m instantly on board, the man can’t miss he is an amazing person to work alongside.


Q: Who are your influences?

COONEY: My influences overall are definitely my kids. They push me and motivate me to do my best when I’m at my lowest, everything I do in life is for them, but musically it would definitely be Elton John, Dermot Kennedy, and Russ.


Q: You have 11 singles out (excluding the remixes). What would you say are your top three favorites?

COONEY: 1. Better than this – I wrote this when I found out my partner was pregnant, and I just feel it’s so real. Every time I listen to that track, it takes me back to the moment where we popped the balloon at the gender reveal, and the blue confetti fell out!

2. Coming Home – I wrote this at a time I was extremely low; I felt like no one was appreciating my music, and I was contemplating giving up. I told my partner, “there are so many rappers now; she told me to sing a song a not give up, to just write what I felt, and that’s what I did. We both know I’m not an amazing singer, but you can hear the pain and the passion, and that’s all I wanted to do. Was let people know how I was feeling”

3. Proud – proud is close to home for me. It’s very honest in its own respect over personal issues I went through “I made mistakes, but I’ll never make the same twice” it’s about learning and growing and remembering no one is perfect. We are all human; I had countless amounts of people reach out to me to tell me that song hit home for them, so it was really nice to connect with strangers all over the world over my song.


Q: You certainly had a lot to say in “Careful,” but do you have anything to say to the people listening to your artwork out there?

COONEY: Stay true to yourself. Never give up and never listen to the people that doubt you, do you, be original, and stay true to yourself; music has [taught] me a lot. I hope to inspire the next generation to push them to do better than me, and so on. It’s about sharing my experience and giving people an insight to the type of person I am. Dream big! Life is short, but art is eternal! No one is perfect. The ups and downs are a blessing!

Interviewed by Taylor Berry

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