It’s been quite the year for JP Cooper who has scored hits with the likes of ‘September Song’ and the Jonas Blue feature ‘Perfect Strangers’. We had a chat with the Manchester-born songster and talked about his debut album, Raised Under Grey Skies, Stormzy, Geordie accents and Andy Cole…
“I’ve had a really busy week if I’m honest. I did a show in Austria on Tuesday then had a really early flight to come back and do a full day of filming on Wednesday, then another full day of it yesterday.”
It’s been a jam-packed summer of festivals for the 33-year-old, with a busy weekend at V Fest waiting for him shortly after the interview, followed by two weeks supporting The Script on their sold-out UK tour, which finished last week.
We were lucky enough to catch JP’s set at the O2 Academy in Brixton where fans were queued around the block to get in early for the singer/songwriter. It was a comfortable performance, not at all fazed by the near 5,000 strong crowd, which oozed that calm and laid-back personality that is so abundant in his work.
‘Passport Home’ and SG Lewis collaboration ‘Shivers’ were touching performances whilst a stripped back version of ‘Perfect Strangers’ and the single ‘September Song’ were met with a resounding sing-a-long from the audience. When asked how great it was to have those tracks in his arsenal JP admitted: “It definitely helps you know. Some bands are choosing artists to come and support them and they want the crowd to know some of their stuff so it’s done me a lot of favours.”
However, Cooper is keen to press on with his own new material and throughout the conversation it’s clear he is not one to dwell on the past. He confesses:
“The Script asked me to do their full European Tour of arenas but that’s when I’m going to be doing my own tour.”
Many emerging artists would have jumped on that opportunity but the ‘September Song’-singer is ready to make his own way.
Although Cooper’s debut album, released on October 6th, is only emerging at the age of 33, he explains:
“I’ve been chipping away quietly for a few years now but the curve of how everything’s came about has just be so quick.”
The record has been a long time coming and we asked JP what to expect:
“There’s a lot of different colours and flavours but the lyric and kind of song is the same throughout” He sniggers, “there’s a bit of baby-making music on there”
This isn’t all surprising given that his voice was scouted out to appear on this year’s Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack. A potential curveball comes in ‘Momma’s Prayers’ with Stormzy, who is a fan of Cooper:
“Stormzy started turning up at my shows two or three years ago. Earlier this year we got four hours in the studio and wrote and recorded the song. He knows exactly what he wants to do and write.”
As soon as the album is out Cooper embarks on a 27 date headline tour across the UK and Europe which will see him perform at Boiler Shop in Newcastle on October 10th. We quizzed the singer on what he knows about The Toon. He points to the album title:
“Growing up in Manchester, I was literally raised under grey skies. The north in general is a lot greyer than the rest of the country.”
On a brighter note he mentions picking up “a little Geordie accent” whilst living in Darlington and his first football shirt being the “Newcastle black and white with Andy Cole on the back”.