JP Cooper has risen to stardom the old-fashioned way. Touring the live scene, and being a part of gospel choirs, he chose to branch out on his own - building a huge fanbase in Manchester and slowly taking over the regionals, before playing shows London, and now selling out Shepherds Bush Empire. All this before his debut album, a highly anticipated project that is due out at the end of the year. So far from the project, we’ve heard the resounding ‘September Song’ - a single which spent over a month in the UK Top 10, in the official charts. We’re now treated to the gospel-tinged ‘Passport Home’, a track which JP wrote recently, after losing his passport in America. Not content with the simplicity of a track defined by its title, JP’s music is far-reaching and evocative, and this particular single speaks on the notion of ‘coming home’, ‘returning’ and loving those we miss.
We caught up with JP during his European tour to find out more on his current status.
Contactmusic [CM]: Hi JP, it’s been a while since we last spoke. How is everything your end? Where are you right now?
JP Cooper [JP]: I'm good thank you! Right now I’m on tour in Europe, I’ve just arrived in Leuven in Belgium and I’m getting ready for my headline show tomorrow.
[CM]: You are currently on tour in Europe, how do you find touring, is it a natural fit for you?
[JP]: It takes me a little while to get into it to be honest. I'm naturally quite introverted so I can get a bit anxious leading up to tours but it's always an amazing experience.
[CM]: How do you keep your voice in such top condition?
[JP]: I need to be quite strict when I’m touring.. it’s not rock and roll at all. I stay away from booze, drink lots of water and steam every night after each show. I also make sure I exercise everyday. If I'm getting tired at any point I've always got my voice coach on call. I'm very privileged to be doing what I do and if people are going to pay to come and see me I want to be the best I can be.
[CM]: What was a highlight of 2016 for you?
[JP]: The highlight of 2016 has to have been opening for Stevie Wonder at Hyde Park. An amazing artist, inspirational, still doing 3 hour sets into his late 60’s.
[CM]: Can you tell us how it felt to learn that 'September Song' was one of the best selling songs of 2017 so far? Did you expect this?
[JP]: As far as September song is concerned, we almost didn’t record it, when I wrote it it was optioned by X Factor Australia for the winner of last season but we decided to keep it. I had no idea it was going to be as huge a hit as it was... The numbers are ridiculous and it’s quite difficult to get my head around to be honest. I'm very happy though.
[CM]: 'Passport Home' is your new single. Is it true that you lost your passport and that was the inspiration here? How have you transferred losing your passport into the video topic?
[JP]: Losing my Passport was the spark of inspiration yes, but it’s not really what the song or the video is about.. the idea is that (obviously) a passport is a thing that allows you to get to a destination. The passport is a metaphor for people in your life who allow you to get to a particular destination, the helping hands, the inspiration, the guiding lights. There's also an underlying theme of the struggles of being away from those people.
[CM]: The video really brought a tear to our eye, we’ve noticed you like a cinematic emotive story - is this conscious?
[JP]: I think the lyrical content of the song dictates this really. Music videos give you an opportunity to explain in greater detail what the song is about. That’s always the main focus, but it’s very easy for them to miss the mark. The director (JJ Augustavo) did an amazing job of translating the conversation we had into a treatment and then into the edit. It’s a short song so to tell that story in such a concise / complete way in 3 minutes is great, he’s done an amazing job. I think I am drawn to that cinematic style and JJ has that down perfectly.
Watch the video for JP's latest single Passport Home:
Official Site -