At just 18, Eliot Sumner signed her first deal without so much as a demo. She’d been jamming with friends once a month at a barbershop in North London until the wee hours. One individual kept coming back to these impromptu gigs. He eventually introduced himself—Island Records President Darcus Beese.
“Labels should be signing people for who they are and not trying to morph them
into something they can sell easier.”
Sumner got along famously with Beese and selected Island based on his understanding of her music. As Sting’s daughter, Sumner asked her father for advice. “He said, ‘Make sure you bring your guitar,’” she recalls regarding that initial label visit. “I turned up to Island with my guitar. Do you want me to play something? And they were like, no. You don’t need to do that.”
At the time, she was using the name Coco and subsequently released a record with her band, I Blame Coco. Two years ago, she abandoned the moniker. “I’d grown up and started making much different music,” divulges Sumner, who’s now 25. “Much better music, in my opinion.” The change necessitated a subtle reworking of her contract.
Choosing Island has allowed Sumner to do what she treasures most—touring. “Touring is why I wanted to become a musician,” she declares. “I love to keep moving and play music every day.”
Sumner advises others against signing with a label before having a strong sense of artistic self. “Have something finished that you love and you’re passionate about,” she imparts. “And make sure that uniqueness doesn’t change. Labels should be signing people for who they are and not trying to morph them into something they can sell easier.”
Sumner’s debut, Information, will be released in America under Interscope/Cherrytree on Jan. 22.