In a culminating swirl of RnB, Gospel, Soul, Indie Rock, and folk, we were left enamored when we took that first listen to JP Cooper’s “When the Darkness Comes” back in December. The emotive lyrics, the flawless vocal range, and the impressive fusion of multiple genres had us eager to premiere it to our readers and the rest of the blogosphere.

Today, we’re equally excited to bring you another exclusive taste of this Mancunian’s artistry by hosting an exclusive interview, and a listen to his full EP. Press play and enjoy the soundtrack for this quick and entertaining read.

’When The Darkness Comes’
’We Were Raised Under Grey Skies (Acoustic)’
’Closer (Acoustic)’

TMN: Hey JP. First off, thanks again for letting us premiere “When the Darkness Comes,” back in December. That feels like a long time ago! What’s been going on since then?

JP: Ah thank you! Well, I had a handful of wonderful intimate solo shows in December.. They were a really nice way to round up the year. Over Christmas I was mainly just spending time with family, the year had been so busy so it was great to be in one place for a few weeks. Throughout December and January I’ve mainly been writing, I’ve taken some much needed solitary time for it and it’s been great.

TMN: Your voice is a unique blend of dexterity in pitch and range, and smokey, soulful tone. Did you take vocal lessons growing up, or was that something that just came naturally.

JP: It’s funny I really just threw myself into it..I loved singing and would sing along to artists that I loved so I guess they were my main teachers. I remember putting a cushion over my face and really screaming into it if I was reaching for a note. (Didn’t want to upset the neighbours)

I’ve no idea how I didn’t do any vocal damage because I really had no technique. I learnt a lot whilst singing with the gospel choir.. The main thing for me was listening and experimenting.

TMN: Speaking of growing up, we have to speculate that your folks enjoyed some Motown. Ours did, and we can definitely hear some classic influences in your music.

JP: Strangely enough music didn’t play a huge role at home.. My dad would often play the drifters or James Taylor in the car so I guess I soaked some of that up. My journey really started with the Manchester music scene. A couple of friends at school had bought guitars and the exploration began there..

TMN: We hear some strong spiritual undertones in your music. Not to say that it’s religious, by any means, but it’s apparent. Was religion and/or spirituality a big part of your upbringing?

JP: Definitely, I come from a catholic family, my uncle is a priest and my sister is a sister, or nun as you might say. It was never really rammed down our throats though.

TMN: You recently announced a show at SXSW, which we’re extremely excited to catch. Was this a big “holy shit!” moment for you? Have their been some others for you that you’d care to share?

JP: Haha, yeah I guess so.. In really excited about that. I guess signing the deal was a bit like that. Going to America for the 1st time was definitely like that. I’m sure there’ll be more this year, I mean, only a year ago I was working in a bar….. It’s still sinking in.

TMN: Talk to us about the recent EP. Is this a collection of songs, or is it meant to be enjoyed from start to finish?

JP: I guess it’s a collection. They’re a mixture of personal experiences and fictional exploration…Everything I’m writing about is inspired by current state of mind though so there’s definitely some kind of diary in there.

TMN: Alright, let’s finish it up with a few random questions, just to take a break from the music business speak. What’s the one thing your most looking forward to in the US, other than your fans?

JP: Haha.. It was seeing a school bus but I already had that overexcited moment when I visited in November.

The prospect of seeing more of such a huge place is really exciting. The difference between New York and LA is huge.. I’m excited to see what Texas is like.

TMN: What’s the one thing you’ll miss most about Manchester?

JP: Everything that comes with home I guess.. Family, friends… I’ll not be gone for so long so I’m not too worried.

TMN: Manchester City or Manchester United?

JP: Sorry, I’m not a huge football fan. My dad used to take me to watch Oldham athletic a long time ago when they were in the premier league but I was never really into it. Loved playing it but was never too fussed about watching it.

TMN: Name three things that are always in your fridge, no matter what.

JP: Milk for my coffee, a couple of beers for when I finish a song and petit filous for my son because he loves it.

TMN: Last one. This one is a bit silly, but we love the responses we get. If your music were an animal, what would it be?

JP: Errrrr…. I guess an armadillo… Simply for their affiliation with Dime bars.. Smooth on the outside, crunchy on the inside.

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