Monday, 29 April 2013

Interview with JP Cooper

The first time I heard JP Cooper I was immediately blown away by his talent , but when I had the opportunity to meet him at the last Soul Live Birmingham I was in no way at all prepared for the pure level of humility of Mr Copper or his enthusiasm, love, understanding and passion for honest music. He is hands down the most intriguingly humblest man I think that I have ever met.

For a man with a rare yet powerful Soul, it’s hard to believe that his musical beginnings started in Rock bands which he said helped to mould his sound and voice that has taken him 10 years to find.
Emerging from a “very white working class” background in Manchester it was through Coopers exploration of Gospel music and being a fan of Soul that he was able to find this voice that I just can’t get enough of.

With Musical Influences like Donnie Hathaway, Bill Rivers and the legendary Stevie Wonder, Cooper is definitely a man who is serious about real music. So to find out why Mr Copper is officially my first music obsession of 2013 keep reading and I’m sure by the end of the interview you'll be obsessed too.

For those that aren’t familiar with your music, how would you describe your sound.
Wow, you know what I really don’t know. In what I do I try to be honest, try to keep things simple, I try to reveal as much as I can and I try and strip it down to the bones and as far as the sound goes… I don’t know, because it isn’t soul, it isn’t folk, it’s number of things.

What sets you apart from the other soul artist out there today?
It’s probably is because I came from such a different background, and I mean here tonight I feel blessed to have been invited into this kind of event, to be accepted. I mean its Soulive, so for someone to say I feel your soul when you sing, that’s what it’s all about.

So how would you explain your background?
I grew up in a very white working class area, so I was more exposed to indie music. I live in Manchester, so the whole Manchester thing was going on and everybody was in Indi Bands, that’s maybe why it took me so long to get into soul music because there weren’t many people sharing that. Luckily over the years I’ve found Gospel Choir, I’ve found other musicians and I’ve learnt a lot, whereas I used to hide behind my long hair and loud guitars.

Considering you started out in Rock, is this something that you still delve into or are you solely Soul Music?
I don’t know if I would go back into that, I probably wouldn’t because I’ve always wanted to do something acoustic, something soulful, I think it was just finding the confidence to bare that and it took me ten years to focus on what I had that was special and individual, so I feel like I’m just scratching the surface now.
Who or what inspires you lyrically?
I don’t really know if there’s been any people that have influenced me to write. Most of the things are just everyday emotions, things that I’ve been nostalgic about, things that have moved me in a good way, things that have moved me in a confused way. A lot of the time when I’m writing I’m figuring things out, so half the time I don’t know what the songs about when I’m writing it and then when I finish sometimes it’s a year later that it says something to me and that’s what’s beautiful about it. I do really try and keep it simple and I do want to be able to speak to everybody, I don’t just want to just be able to speak to intellectual people, I want to keep it simple because I’m a simple guy.
Keeping with the theme of inspiration and lyrics, ‘Oh the Water’ is one of my favourite songs. What inspired such a powerful song?
I think that when I wrote that song I was trying to speak to a part of myself that tells me that I can’t do something. I have massive doubt issues with myself, I’m kind of working them out. It’s about dealing with self-doubt and not sweeping it under the rug, it’s about facing it and dealing with it and helping a part of yourself that is being beat on. So that’s what that songs about, and it’s another one that spoke to me.

If there is anyone that you could work with dead or alive, who would it be?
There are people that I would love to meet, but I would love to meet and learn from. I’m a huge Donnie Hathaway fan and I got to support his daughter Lalah Hathaway.
Stevie wonder, what a man, what a legacy. It would be great to sit down with Bill Rivers just because he seems like such a great down to earth kind of guy and I don’t know how he’s managed to keep that, that’s a really big aspiration to have.

So there you have it ladies and gents, a little insight in to who this magnificent artist is and where he came from! I definitely recommend you keep a close eye on him and if JP is coming to a town near you, not going to see him live is not an option! But for the time being check out the video below of JP performing ‘Oh the Water’ Live at Soulive back in February, and if you look closely enough you’ll see a little shortie in the front row who looks like she’s in pure heaven … yep that little shortie is moi and if heaven feels anything like I felt during that moment then boy, I better be on my best behaviour!

To see more quality Artist’s like JP get yourself down to the Rainbow Warehouse, Digbeth Birmingham on May 11th for round 3 of Soulive! I for one canny wait!!

See you there music lovers. xx
*Images sourced from Google

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