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Concert Review & Interview: Hanging with Mr Cooper
At DR Koncerthuset, a British duo of smooth singing talents played moving tunes inspired by true life experience.
The men on the docket, JP Cooper and Rhys Lewis, both put their hearts and souls into their music, engaging with their audience beyond a mere superficial connection.
Relatable and melodic
In a relatively short amount of time, JP Cooper touched on quite a number of deep issues.
Whether it was leaving your young son behind while going on tour, male vulnerability/masculinity, mental health or friendship, it didn’t come across as preachy, nor did it make the night too heavy.
There were a lot of feel-good songs, and this evening was a celebration.
That time of the year
As he was the first to point out, his breakthrough solo moment was his hit single ‘September Song’. And he delivered it with the passion that he established and maintained throughout the night with his live band backing him up.
Another clear highlight was the touching ‘Passport Home’, a song inspired by a lost passport that has a metaphorical twist of praising friends and family who act as a grounding presence in your life.
Just getting warmed up
The warm-up act Rhys Lewis is an accomplished musician in his own right.
And while he avoided small-talk and concentrated on his singing, he did manage to include a few stories about how his life influenced his music.
He is a unique singing talent that was a sight to behold live.
All in all, a night of feel-good songs and so much more.
Rhys Lewis Interview
What makes a true musician?
It’s a great question … a true musician. I think someone who first and foremost loves music. Someone who plays for the love of it. And I guess it does come down to who inspires you and, I guess, drawing inspiration from the music you love. Because that’s what makes you an individual musician. You are inspired by so many people, and all of those inspirations kind of make you – the musician that you are. It’s all those separate and different sources of inspiration filtered down into one source, which is you. And I think the more music you listen to the more inspired you are, and so for me a great musician is someone who’s inspired by other people. Great musicians sit down and practice. It is about working out what you like and how you can achieve that, because it does take work as well.
What elements are needed for the writing process?
I suppose everyone’s different. For me, the elements I need – certainly to write … the best songs I’ve written – have come from a very real place and a very honest place. So I need something that I care enough about or know enough about to sing. I need to be able to say enough about that subject or feel enough about that subject to be able to write about it so, yeah, I guess an emotion that makes me compelled to sing about it or write about it or explore it. And that comes down to real-life situations or heartbreak or loss or frustration, so for me it’s quite a negative thing in my life that I feel like I need to kind of deal with.
What does it take to fulfill potential?
My biggest thing was identifying what I was bad at. And not being afraid to identify your weaknesses and say okay, I’m terrible at that. Until you push yourself to the point where you are failing, you have to fail – you have to get it wrong. Identifying weaknesses and accepting criticism – whether it was from my manager, my label or my singing coach. You kind of want the people to be as honest as possible.