Exclusive Interview with Michael Cook
By Joe Montague
When you meet Michael Cook
he makes you immediately aware of two things, that he realizes God has
gifted him and allowed him to be the vessel to minister to others.
On January 25, 2005 in Indianapolis,
Canadian recording artist Michael Cook officially released his debut CD
as an artist with A’postrophe Records, a company owned by Jaci Velasquez.
Cook’s first single, “Sooner or Later,” was launched by the label in 2004.
It was the first-ever release by the company.
Cook was discovered by Platinum-selling
Latin artist Jaci Velasquez while he was playing in a band with her future
husband Darren Potuck. Velasquez has described Cook as a special artist,
someone whom she wanted to help just like someone helped her at the beginning
of her own career.
She goes on to say, “The
great thing about Michael is his genuine search through his art to find
that connection to his faith. It is digging-in-the-dirt kind of work that
he does to bring a song that is both meaningful and honest up to the surface.
I guess you could say he is a writer first, a musician second and an artist
third. He is a breath of fresh air and I wish I could craft a song like
Michael Cook is not a product
of the cookie cutter syndrome that so often exists in Nashville and often
leaves new artists and albums as nothing more than a “me too.” Cook wrote
all eleven songs on Imprint and like songwriter / artists Carolyn
Arends and Chris Rice, it shows in the quality of his work. He lives the
words to his songs.
“I write personal songs
out of my own experiences and hope that they can challenge people and that
people can relate to them.”
“Lately,” probably the best
tune on the album, reflects Cook’s grasp of the constant struggle that
exists between God and man as we continually try to assert our own will
and ignore God’s plan for our lives. He sings, “’Cause believing in ourselves
is just a myth that we’ve been taught to tell. And all the lies I once
believed have recently come crashing down.”
Cook and his wife Julie
are still attending the church in Indianapolis where he was serving as
worship leader when Velasquez discovered his music. He says their desire
to stay grounded in their faith and not allow the industry to change who
they are has been key in their decision to stay in Indiana rather than
moving to Nashville. He says despite the changes in his career they still
feel pretty plugged into their church and that their church family has
been very supportive.He also makes you very aware that he gives his wife
Julie a lot of credit for where he finds himself today.
In speaking about his career
and any changes that have occurred in his life he says, “So far, it’s pretty
well stayed the same. To tell you the truth, that’s kind of what I’m going
for.” He goes on to say, “It’s to remember that it’s really not about me
and the gifts that we have are not of our power and will. I have stayed
the same and I’m hoping it stays that way.”
At the same time, there
is the impression that he is a bit like the kid in the candy shop.
The day the album was officially
released he said, “Today to go to the store and see my CD at Wal-Mart is
In March, Cook will embark
on a tour as the opening act for Grand Priz,e a group that also records
under the A’postrophe Records label. He will perform in about thirty concerts,
with venues and locations still to be announced.
By Joe Montague, exclusive
This material may not be
redistributed without prior written permission from Joe Montague.
|Joe Montague is a
freelance Christian journalist / photographer who has been published in
a variety of community, daily and Christian newspapers coast to coast in
Canada and the United States. Joe Montague's ministry of journalism
dedicated to the memory of his late son Kent David Montague who went to
heaven far too early at the age of 18.