If you have ever heard JP Cooper sing, then youâ€™ll agree that he is a force to be reckoned with. He has been hailed as the â€˜Future Sound of 2015â€™ by Zane Lowe, he performed at SXSW 2015, has had a string of sold out London dates and he just keeps on getting better. Vergeâ€™s Tasha Demi sat down with the Manchester born singer, to take it right back to the beginning and find out how it all really beganâ€¦
Looking back on his beginning, JP discussed how his musical journey began. Hailing from Manchester, it seemed hard to escape the whole â€˜rock / indie bandâ€™ thing when bands like Oasis were coming through and doing so well, â€œIt was indie rock to begin with – a lot of my friends were into that sort of thing – and then it got a little bit harder, and went into grunge and all that. I just fell into it.â€ He spoke about how he had to put on a bit of an act to fit into all of that, and how it wasnâ€™t really who he was, â€œAs far as my whole attitude and everything about it and the way Iâ€™d perform you know? A lot of the rock music Iâ€™d listen to, I used to love the acoustic sessions, like MTV Unplugged and all that. When I did rock bands, it wasnâ€™t really cool to sing soul, it was mainly about the shouting.â€
â€œIâ€™ve always loved soul music you know. Whenever I heard it, I loved it, I just wasnâ€™t exposed to it. So I started digging around a little bitâ€¦â€ JP soon discovered the likes of Al Green and Donny Hathaway and spoke about how he felt â€˜something awaken insideâ€™. This was around the time where he joined a gospel choir, and he was able to start expressing himself in a way that he felt free, â€œFor me, itâ€™s been more about the approach to the expression, rather than wanting to be a perfect singer.â€
Not always sure that this was the path he could actually take, JP spoke about how when he was growing up, it wasnâ€™t cool to be a boy that could sing, â€œI purposely sang out of tune in school until I got a bit older. Like, in music class, if I ever got called up, Iâ€™d sing a really bad note!â€ Luckily though, his talent was spotted by those around him, and that encouragement helped him to stick to his musical path, â€œKids are very hungry to find out what their talents are, so when you do find something, and people encourage it, itâ€™s amazing at what that bit of encouragement can doâ€.
The Island Records signee, has recently unveiled his latest visual for â€˜Closerâ€™. JP said of this track, â€œIt just says exactly what I wanted it to say, and thatâ€™s kind of everything youâ€™re aiming forâ€. The emotionally captivating visual for this track hones in on his desire to spend more time with his song.
â€˜Closerâ€™ is taken from JPâ€™s EP, â€˜When The Darkness Comesâ€™. He explains about how his EP can be divided into two halves, â€œHalf of it is like deeply personal to me, and the other half is fictional really. The main focus on it, is one thing that Iâ€™m really interested in, and I think we all are as well – human relationships. Any kind of spectrum of emotion that goes into that – and obviously loveâ€¦ itâ€™s just so easy to be inspired by that. Itâ€™s something that you really feel, and I think we look towards that everydayâ€.
As somebody who has worked in music for many years, JP seems to be really comfortable with where he is now and more importantly, who he is, â€œWhen I was at the age where I would have been at university, my main thing was feeling that I had to be doing what everybody around me was doing. I think that the main thing we can ever aspire to, is being the best versions of ourselves. To have that confidence to focus on yourself and develop that – different music scenes can come and go, but what youâ€™ve got within yourself is a one time thingâ€.
Speaking about how he typically likes to work he says that variety is key, â€œI took the start of the year to be on my own and write on my own, and I love that. Having my own space! But then again, over the last year, Iâ€™ve done a few mo co-writes, and sessions where you can get together and bounce ideaâ€™s off of peopleâ€. Going from being in a band to a solo artist, can feel quite lonely sometimes, so those sessions where JP gets to collaborate with others, takes him back to his band days! â€œMusic and collaboration is just a beautiful thing! To be in a room with another adult, getting deep into talking about a certain subject or just getting to the idea of what the song is going to be about, and how the music will reflect thatâ€¦ I love it. Itâ€™s like playing with your toys with somebody elseâ€.
You can catch JP Cooper live at the Village Underground on May 21st – but hurry up and get your tickers, as there arenâ€™t many left!