“This is the business end of things…” - JP Cooper gives hmv.com an update on his second LP
It’s been a quiet year for singer-songwriter JP Cooper, but that’s because he’s been quietly squirrelling away songs for his as-yet-untitled second album.
The album will be the follow-up to his 2017 Raised Under Grey Skies, an LP that was propelled to silver status by the success of colossal hit ‘September Song’.
We spoke to Cooper about his productive 2019 and his plans for an even more productive 2020…
How are you looking back on 2019? Has it been a good year?
“It’s a been a great year. I’ve mostly been writing rather than being out and about, but we’ve been able to finish with a European tour and released a couple of bits and bobs. I’ve been able to stay in the UK and really got my head down. I got married too, so it was nice to be around to plan it all and really enjoy it.”
Have you missed the buzz of touring?
“It’s a strange time. You do wonder, even while you’re working, ‘Is everyone going to forget about me?. But given how much I’ve already got booked for 2020, I know I’ll be busy and they can’t have all wandered off.”
How is the album? Is it ready to go?
“It’s definitely written. We’ve got a good sense of which songs will be the singles and we’ve got about 20 to choose from for the record. I’m settled on which producers I want and I’m hoping to deliver it by the end of January. This is the business end of things.”
Did you have a sense of what you wanted to do differently?
“I don’t sit down and plan. I just get on with it and see what happens. I didn’t want to change my approach too much. I like to keep people guessing with my collaborations. I don’t want to ever be put in a box, but with my album, I’m a storyteller. My circle of collaborators is getting smaller. I’ve had enough of speed-dating songwriters. I feel like I’ve met my people.”
Who is new in the mix this time? You’ve been working with Steve Mac…
“I’ve done a few bits with Steve, he had a song that didn’t make the first record. But he’s been great. I’ve been working with Mr Hudson and Jamie Scott, they’ve both been fantastic.”
You’re known for being very prolific, do songs still come quickly?
“I’m not one to experience writer’s block. I’m already writing for album three. I don’t get frustrated if I can’t write one day. I’ll try and force myself to for half an hour and then stop. I’m trying to enjoy the process and just enjoy writing, rather than always thinking about the endgame. I’ve weirdly got a couple of commissions for cartoons and I’m enjoying working on those. I don’t struggle for inspiration.”
You’ve already got a big tour locked in for the spring of 2020, is that in anticipation of the album being out?
“I would hope so. I really want people to have their hands on it before those shows. I don’t want to be debuting songs in those venues. I’ve just been touring and I feel prepped for next year now. I’m not an artist who lives to be on stage. I get anxious and I put a lot of pressure on myself. I’d not toured for two years and I was nervous about coming back, but I really, really enjoyed it. I’m ready to get my Airmiles next year.”
Are these dates the start of a couple of years of touring?
“Oh yeah. After those dates, it’s straight into festivals and I’m looking at the US, Australia and Japan. I’m hoping it’ll be a long year and I’ll be getting to see a lot of people. I’ll still be writing, but the tour is the beginning of the madness.”
Finally, aside from the album you’re making, what’s been your album of 2019?
“Kanye’s Jesus Is King. It’s an amazing piece of work. Hearing that blew my mind. Getting ready for my wedding, I was doing the playlists and it’s been a lot of old soul, Al Green, Otis Redding. For new music, I love Anderson. Paak, but Kanye’s album has been the one for me this year.”
JP Cooper’s second album will be released in 2020.