Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristen Cook.
Kristen, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Music and rhythm have been a part of me since birth. I grew up listening to the sounds of my father singing from behind his drum set in country music bands. My passion for performing showed its face at the “Fireplace Theatre” (my grandparents’ hearth), where I loved to make up my own songs and skits for anyone who would listen. At six years old, I was begging for piano lessons, and pulling flyer tabs for any audition I saw in the greater Boston area, negotiating with my mother to take me. By the age of 16, I had already checked many boxes on my bucket list such as singing in Boston’s Symphony Hall, performing at The Colonial Theater, belting it out at The Hatch Memorial Shell on the esplanade, I had scatted and crooned at Sculler’s Jazz Club, and toured Italy as part of the New England Conservatory Youth Chorale.
Every Saturday, when driving to NEC for rehearsals, I would look at the students carrying instruments outside Berklee College of Music, and point out as a matter of fact I would attend there one day. I graduated from Berklee a confident vocalist with a Bachelor of Music, ready for the adventure of pursuing life as a performer. I traveled west to start a business facilitating parent and child music classes, and continued writing and performing songs for audiences of all ages. After working for a few music lesson companies and independent schools along the way, I was able to branch off and start my own company, Kristen Cook Music. Having my own business has allowed me the time freedom to do things like improv comedy, stage acting, film/tv, voiceover and other types of acting and performing. I am so grateful for the opportunity to do what I love everyday and have come to realize I have been manifesting my dreams all along.
Has it been a smooth road?
As with most people who have made the decision to pursue the arts as a career, I have had many exciting and sometimes scary twists and turns along the way. A lot of scenarios you’ve probably heard like having gear stolen, jobs not panning out as expected, people who are not as they seem, waiting too long for earned pay, barely making rent, student loan interest piling up and feeling impossible to overcome, etc.
As much as these things can certainly put a bump or even a roadblock along the way, it’s the internal stuff that has been the most challenging for me, I think. I sometimes feel like a circus clown (though I haven’t actually tried clowning, yet!), performing a constant balancing act. Living across the country from my family is tough. The battle of tapping into my purpose without succumbing to the distraction of social “norms” seems unending. I’m still learning how to navigate my way down this crazy road, and wouldn’t trade any of these experiences because I know they have made me more diverse as a performer, and a stronger person overall.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
My business is comprised of two components, education and performance. I’m a proud music teacher of over 20 students, specializing in piano-based music lessons for all ages. My students have continued to inspire and motivate me to push myself and my own musical abilities. They remind me to maintain a sense of mindfulness every step of the way. Their willingness and excitement to try new things brings me so much joy, and I love being a part of their music education and appreciation. Teaching is something I know I will always enjoy. Though lately I’ve been focusing more on performance-related work, I’m honored to be a role model for children and adults who are artists and creators, just like me.
If I were to use one word to describe my “brand” overall, it would be positivity! I’m known for having a “no problem” attitude and can always find the silver lining. With my character work on stage and camera, I shine the most as the quirky side-kick, the bold and determined scrappy kid, the warm and maternal teacher, or the sassy east-coast working woman.
I’m currently performing with a stellar cast in the Actor’s Co-Op production of Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Radio Musical Play, directed by Broadway star, Joseph Leo Bwarie. Running from November 1 – December 15 in the heart of Hollywood, I’m excited to showcase my range of skills as a performer in this super fun show. My character, Olivia Glatt, voices six different characters, plays instruments, sings, dances and provides foley sound in the 1940s classic story. Visit https://www.actorsco-op.org/miracle-on-34th-street for tickets and information!
As I’ve developed more as an actor, I’ve become quite self-aware and get a good chuckle when I realize my characters are really just little pieces of my own persona, put under a magnifying glass. I’ve learned to use my flaws for comedy, and my strengths for landing the job and bringing excellence to everything I do.
Do you feel like our city is a good place for businesses like yours? If someone was just starting out, would you recommend them starting out here? If not, what can our city do to improve?
When I was growing up, I always thought I’d end up in New York City! However, I’m so happy my journey led me to Los Angeles because I have been able to thrive here in the land of constant sunshine and dream chasers. LA is definitely the place to be for film, music and entertainment but I don’t know that I would’ve been ready to land here right after graduating from college. I think it’s a great place for people who know what they are good at, and who are willing to drive (in lots of traffic) to get around the city and explore every aspect of what it has to offer.
- Website: www.kristencook.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kristencookmusic/
- Other: https://resumes.actorsaccess.com/kristencook
Liz Bretz Photography, Matt Block Photography