Folk singer/songwriter Emma Cook was born and primarily raised in Toronto, Canada, where she began formal voice training at an early age and took a year of guitar lessons in her early teens. After initially heading toward a degree in voice at Dalhousie University, she decided she did not want to pursue a classical music career and instead began writing and singing her own songs. Forming her own label, Emmazing Records, she self-released her debut album, Manifesto, in 2003. A grant from the Ontario Arts Council helped her finish and issue her second album, Hit & Run, in the summer of 2008, and she toured Canada and played dates in the U.S. to promote it. She added three bonus tracks from Manifesto to Hit & Run for an American release on March 31, 2009, by which time she had embarked on her first proper U.S. tour, which included a stop at the South by Southwest Music Conference, where she unveiled the Emma Cook Trio, including bass player Gord Mowat and drummer Tim Shia.
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