KATIE COOK: A True "Insider" In Country Music
by Janelle Landauer
CMT Insider host Katie Cook never really pursued or studied for a career as a TV host. It was just an opportunity that came along for her, but it ended up being something that she was really good at. And, ultimately it was just meant to be. “I called a friend who worked at CMT to inquire about another friend getting an audition” says Cook. “It was suggested I try out too, and I went along for the fun of it. I was surprised to get a call back, and another one, and then actually end up in the final ten! I had a music background having been a performer myself, and I think that gave me the confidence to audition. I figured if nothing else I had an advantage when it came to music knowledge.”
Katie Cook was born in London, England. When she was five years old, her father moved the family to Nashville so he could pursue a career in writing. Her father, Roger Cook, is a Hall of Fame songwriter and had a successful singing career as well. Katie pursued her own signing career as a solo artist, and as part of a few duos (Cook and West and Marco Katie). Marco Katie eventually became the 6 piece band, Reno, but after Marco left the band, Katie, her brother Jason and Tony Wade continued on as a trio still using the name Reno.
Curb Records signed the trio and they recorded their self-titled debut in 1999. In 2001, however, the group disbanded and Cook concentrated again on her solo career and songwriting. That same year Cook would audition for the host position at CMT – a job that would change her life forever. “Working at CMT is great!” notes Cook. “It's exciting to be on the inside of what is happening in an industry that I love. I am always proud to be part of country music where fans are loyal and where artists recognize that they would be nothing without their fans. There is so much mutual respect there, and I want to give props to the great fans that make it all work and succeed.”
As host of CMT Insider and also several red carpet award show specials, Cook has been able to interview practically every country artist out there. “It can be surreal at times, but at the end of the day I know they are completely normal people who just have abnormal jobs,” explains Cook. “Country stars are especially down to earth. Anytime I get to interview Dolly Parton, it's an event for me. I just love her so much and I always learn a lot when I am in her presence. The way she handles herself and others around her is so impressive. Having been part of Taylor Swift's career since the beginning has been a real treat too. She invited us into her home for a CMT special and I was struck by how warm her family home is, and I felt lucky to see such a personal side of her life. Also, getting to visit Shania Twain in Switzerland was way cool.”
Katie Cook will again be hosting the red carpet special for CMT at the upcoming CMA Awards. (November 11, 2009) If you want to know what to expect at the awards show, all you have to do is ask Katie! “Taylor, Taylor, Taylor!” says Cook. “Especially after all the Kayne nonsense, she has been even more elevated in everyone's eyes for being so classy about the whole thing. Will she win Entertainer? Who knows, but it's a huge feat to have been in that category this year! Brad Paisley should be a big winner after the years he's had too!”
Country fans can stay in touch with Katie on twitter, facebook and MySpace. “I love the social networking boom; it's fun!” adds Cook. ”I know how much I enjoy following people I am interested in, so hopefully people are enjoying my updates too. And, on a final note: “Thanks for watching CMT Insider!!!”