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Hollie Cook

A vocalist who calls her music "tropical pop," Hollie Cook's songs are a light but refreshing blend of modern pop and vintage reggae influences, ideally suited to Cook's supple, sensuous voice. A member of the Slits during their mid-2000s reunion, she released her self-titled solo debut in 2011, produced by Prince Fatty. She worked with producer Youth on 2018's Vessel of Love, and co-produced 2022's Happy Hour. She has occasionally followed her albums with dub versions, such as 2023's Happy Hour in Dub. Cook certainly has the genes for a career in music -- her father Paul Cook was the drummer for the Sex Pistols, while her mother Jeni Cook was a backing vocalist for Culture Club. (If that's not enough, Boy George is her godfather, and David Bowie once babysat her for an afternoon.) Born in 1987, Cook left school when she was 16 to study art and make-up design, but she got pulled onto a new career path in 2006 when Ari Up, leader of the iconic all-female punk/reggae band the Slits, re-formed the group and recruited Paul Cook to produce and play on their new recordings. Paul introduced Hollie to the band, and after hearing her sing, Up asked her to join the group. Hollie sang backups and played keyboards for the Slits, appearing on the EP Revenge of the Killer Slits (2006) and the album Trapped Animal (2009), but the group disbanded in 2010 following Up's death. Hollie began working with producer and songwriter Prince Fatty, and in 2011, they released her self-titled debut album. The effort won enthusiastic reviews, and in 2012, when the Stone Roses reunited for a handful of wildly anticipated British shows, vocalist Ian Brown invited Hollie to open one of them before an audience of 75,000. (In an interview with reporter James Lachno, Cook said of the experience, "The atmosphere was immense, and people didn’t boo or ignore us. I wanted to go anyway, so the fact I got to play was ridiculous.") In 2012, Prince Fatty released an album of dub mixes of material from Hollie's debut, and 2014 saw the release of her sophomore effort, Twice. Cook guested on albums by a variety of artists, ranging from Duran Duran to Quantic's Flowering Inferno project. In 2017, she signed to Merge, which released a 7" of her cover of the Carpenters' "Superstar" on Record Store Day. Full-length Vessel of Love, featuring production by Youth (Killing Joke, the Orb), arrived in 2018. The album topped Billboard's Reggae Albums chart. Later in the year, Cook released a cover of "Sweet Like Chocolate" by Shanks & Bigfoot. Additionally, she guested on albums by the Orb, Silent Poets, Gardna, and others. Her fourth album, Happy Hour, was co-produced with Ben McKone and Luke Allwood from her backing band, General Roots. The album appeared in June of 2022. A year later, Cook released Happy Hour in Dub, featuring guest appearances by Jah9, Dennis Bovell, and Joshua Waters Rudge of the Skints.
© Mark Deming & Paul Simpson /TiVo
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