Ashley Cooke Talks Ambitious 24-Track Debut ‘shot in the dark’ Album [EXCLUSIVE]

Not many artists include 24 songs on their debut album, but Ashley Cooke isn’t most artists. The singer-songwriter released her freshman shot in the dark record, out on Friday, July 21, which features an impressive 24 songs, writing all but four of the songs on the massive project.

I’ve been writing songs since I was 11,” Cooke tells Everything Nash. “I think for me, a big part of why I even got into music was because writing songs is such a release. I love to journal, I love words. I love poetry. And so I think to me, in all of the craziness of my life, not only career, but just being a 25, 26-year-old girl,  there’s so much going on and so much that I’m dealing with and struggling with and happy with and experiencing, and love and life and family and career and all of these things. I was just like, ‘Man,  I just want to write it all out.’ And I did.”

Not even Cooke could have imagined that she would have two dozen songs her first record. It’s a testament not only to her songwriting, but to her label, Big Loud Records, for giving her the freedom to release so much music at once.

“I was like, ‘Guys, I don’t want to have to cut some of these songs,'” Cooke recalls. “‘I don’t know what my next album world will be. I don’t want to save these songs, just in case I totally want to shift different areas, content, or whatever it may be.’ And they were like, ‘Hey, we believe in you. Let’s just do it. Let’s just put them all on there then.’  I didn’t want to remove any of the 24. They all felt like they belonged on the project.”

Cooke is joined by an impressive list of artists on shot in the dark, including Nate Smith, Colbie Caillat and Jackson Dean, with the latter on a song that was written by Lainey Wilson, along with Jason Nix and Luke Dick.

“Me and Lainey are great friends, but honestly we haven’t even ever talked about this song because she’s just an incredible writer, and I love the song,” Cooke says. “She’s unreal as an artist, obviously, but she’s a phenomenal writer, as everybody must know as well. That song, it was pitched to me as an outside song to maybe cut, and I loved that it had a different flare to it.”

An avid songwriter, Cooke firmly also believes in cutting outside songs, including “What Are You On Fire About,” and the three other outside songs on the project.

“I love writing, but the reason why I cut outside songs is because it’s songs that I might not have written because it’s not my typical writing style, but that I relate to, which I feel like is still a version of me and a part of me,” Cooke explains. “So that song I feel like, it’s really special. I love that it has Jackson Dean featured on it. His voice just really compliments super well in that space. His voice is just unreal. So I’m excited. It’s cool. I’m honored that Lainey let me cut it.”

Cooke could have introduced herself to the world with an album with much fewer songs on it. But it’s shot in the dark that she believes will best tell everyone who she is, and the kind of music she wants to create.

“I know it sounds very simple, but I think [I want] people to know me better,” Cooke explains. “Social media has been such a massive part of my journey, getting to go live with people, and have people walk up and feel like they already know me at a show because they’ve seen my social media videos. But I think musically, the way that I write, the voice in which I write, I really want people to learn and to become a fan of what I do, in an art sense, and not just in a personality sense.

“It is still a massive honor that people like my personality and want to watch me on social media, but I think that I want them to just understand and know my art better,” she adds.

Cooke is spending the next few months on the road, including some shows serving as the opening act on Luke Bryan‘s Country On Tour. See a track list for shot in the dark below. Find all of Cooke’s music and upcoming shows at

shot in the dark Track List:

1. “tastes like” (Ashley Cooke, Jordan Minton, Emily Weisband, Corey Crowder)
2. “it’s been a year” (Ashley Cooke, Will Weatherly, Brett Tyler)
3. “see you around (feat. Nate Smith)(Ashley Cooke, Brett Tyler, Will Bundy)
4. “shot in the dark” (Ashley Cooke, Jordan Minton, Emily Weisband, Corey Crowder)
5. “moving on with grace” (Ashley Cooke, Rocky Block, Jake Mitchell)
6. “getting into” (Ashley Cooke, Emily Weisband, Will Weatherly)
7. “enough to leave” (Ashley Cooke, Matt Roy, Lauren Weintraub)
8. “i almost do” (Ashley Cooke, Trevor Rosen, Josh Osborne)
9. “mean girl (feat. Colbie Caillat)(Ashley Cooke, Colbie Caillat, Nicolle Galyon, Jimmy
10. “running back” (Ashley Cooke, Emily Weisband, Will Weatherly)
11. “good thing going” (Ashley Cooke, Matt Dragstrem, Brett Tyler, Geoff Warburton)
12.” next to you” (Ashley Cooke)
13. “good to be back” (Ashley Cooke, Hunter Phelps, Jameson Rodgers, Alysa Vanderheym)
14. “what are you on fire about (feat. Jackson Dean) (Lainey Wilson, Jason Nix, Luke Dick)
15. “say no more” (Devin Dawson, Donovan Woods, Travis Wood)
16. “tryin’ to love you” (Ashley Cooke, Hillary Lindsey, Chase McGill, Jimmy Robbins)
17. “back in the saddle” (Josh Kerr, Jordan Reynolds, Jordan Minton)
18. “your place” (Ashley Cooke, Jordan Minton, Mark Trussell)
19. “dirt on ’em” (Ashley Cooke, Jessi Alexander, Aysa Vanderheym)
20. “build a bridge” (Sasha Sloan, Ryan Hurd, Geoff Warburton, Henry Agincourt Allen)
21. “get you” (Ashley Cooke, Jacob Durrett, John Byron)
22. “never til now” (Ashley Cooke, Matt Roy)
23. “gonna get” (Ashley Cooke, Sasha Sloan, Blake Pendergrass, David Garcia)
24. “state i’m in” (Ashley Cooke, Emily Weisband, Jordan Reynolds)