Exclusive Interview With JP Cooper x Pay With A Poem

by Lucy Lerner

18th June, 2018

Copyright © David Levenson

Critically acclaimed Manchester-born singer-songwriter JP Cooper has partnered up with Viennese coffee roasters Julius Meinl’s ‘Pay With A Poem’ campaign for its fifth anniversary. To tie in with the latest World Poetry Day JP Cooper released a video which describes his inspiration for the song ‘Little Things’ created as part of his collaboration with Julius Meinl.

JP Cooper kindly took some time to tell Neon Music about this partnership, poetry, his coffee of choice, advice for artists starting out and much more:

Tell me about your new song and video ‘Little Thing’
Earlier this year I partnered with Viennese coffee Roasters, Julius Meinl on their fifth annual Pay With A Poem campaign, which offered tea and coffee lovers in 44 countries the rare opportunity to get inspired and pay for their hot beverage with prose on World Poetry Day. The song is inspired by poets around the world and the importance of appreciating the little things in life.

What ‘little things’ are important to you?
There are so many but if I had to choose, it would be taking a moment to myself with a coffee in the morning and starting the day off writing, exploring words and concepts not really with a view to writing a song just to try and spark ideas. Spending time with my son is also hugely important to me, it’s hard being away from home a lot so I grab that time whenever I can.

Did you expect such a reaction to your singles ‘September Song’ and collaboration with Jonas Blue on ‘Perfect Strangers’ and how have they changed your life?
Not at all. When I say exactly what I wanted to say and express it well, I’m happy. Working with Jonas Blue was amazing simply because I learned so much about myself. I kept thinking, I’m too underground for this, but if I hadn’t done it, I would have missed out on so many beautiful moments. Through working with Jonas Blue I was able to step outside of my creative comfort zone and reach a new audience.

Can you tell me about your partnership with Viennese coffee roasters, Julius Meinl?
I worked with Julius Meinl for their fifth annual, Pay With A Poem campaign to show people around the world that poetry can be found in everyday life, even in music.

What’s your go-to coffee?
I worked in coffee shops when I was younger, so I’ve pretty much tried everything! If I had to pick a favourite, it would probably be a Flat White

Do you have a writing process for your music?
Lately, I’ve been trying to spend the first 20 minutes of my day writing, even before I get out of bed. I mostly just choose a word and let my mind wander for that 20 minutes. It’s amazing how many sparks for songs have come out of this process. I usually write the music when I’m in the studio and often write the lyrics at home or in a coffee shop whilst listening to the tracks that I’ve built in the studio. There’s always coffee involved somehow.

If you were to write a poem right now – what would it be about?
The song I wrote with Julius Meinl is largely inspired by poetry – it’s such an important part of my songwriting process. If I were to write a poem now, I’d like to continue exploring the ‘little things’ theme and see where that takes me.

What is inspiring you musically?
I’ve just moved into a new studio space, so I’ve felt really inspired by simply spending time there. As far as other artists go, I’ve been really getting into some of the music coming out of Chicago. I’ve loved discovering artists like Noname and Saba.

What has been the biggest highlight of the past year?
I’ve loved touring and seeing the world. It was fantastic to be in Japan recently and meet fans all the way in Australia too! Where I’m most at home though is in the studio, it’s been brilliant being back in the studio and working on new music, that’ll always be a highlight for me.

Top 5 tracks of 2017/2018?
Camilla Cabello – ‘Never be the same’
Post Malone – ‘Rockstar’
Calligraphy – ‘Saba’
Gavin James – ‘Always’
Bazzi – ‘Mine’

If you weren’t in music what else do you think you’d be doing?
When I was a kid I always wanted to be in sports, I loved all kinds of sports and in my head, I was going to be an Olympian. I guess I’m a bit old for that now so I’d say it would have to still be something creative, something using my hands, probably carpentry or furniture design where I can lock myself away in a shed and create amazing things all day long.

There is a film being made about your life – who would play you and why?
Ha Ha, that’s a tough one, I get people saying that I look like James Franco quite a bit, I don’t see it myself but maybe him.

Dream collaborations?
I’d love to do a big American Hip-Hop collaboration, I love Anderson Paak, Chance The Rapper, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Jay Z any of those guys would be amazing. I’m not saying I’m on a level for that kind of collaboration, I’d have to really step up, but any of those guys would be a dream.

Guilty pleasure?
Phil Collins… Not guilty.

What advice can you give to artists just starting out?
This is always a tricky question, but I truly believe that the most important thing when starting out in the music industry is to find your niche and understand what makes your music stand out from the crowd. As a singer-songwriter, writing is hugely important for me and I’d encourage aspiring musicians to get creative with prose, too. An old friend of mine used to say ‘Don’t get it right, get it written’, I’d spend days labouring over a song trying to make it absolutely perfect which meant I’d struggle to finish songs off, whereas actually finishing songs can be more of an education when you are starting out. Like anything in life the more you do it the better you’ll get so don’t worry if every song you write doesn’t feel like it will change the world. From a more general perspective, and its pretty obvious, just work hard and be nice to people.. it will get you a long way in this industry (and in life in general)

What’s next for JP Cooper?
I can’t reveal too much at the moment! Keep an eye on my social channels for updates over the next few months though.

Find out more about JP Cooper here. Download his debut album ‘Raised Under Grey Skies’ here.

Find out more about Pay With A Poem, and how you can be involved, www.facebook.com/JuliusMeinlOfficial and www.meinlcoffee.com

#PayWithAPoem and #PoetryForChange

Previous post

Be the first and never miss an update!