Q&A's

Q&A with Drew Cooper

 

Reaching critical acclaim with his 2018 White Horse album earned Drew Cooper monumental success within the Texas country music scene as an artist and songwriter. However, it also made his follow-up album that much more anticipated, and Cooper has absolutely risen to the occasion with his 2022 double album, This Life. We recently had the chance to check in with him to talk all about the album, how it came to be that he was the only artist ever invited to record at Studio 606 in LA (the Foo Fighter's home studio), his friendship with iconic Red Dirt country artist Cody Canada, and much more!

(Interview by: Jeffrey Kurtis/photo by: Charlie Stout

TCM "Madeline" Single Review

https://www.drewcoopermusic.com

 

1) Tell us a little bit about your upcoming double album This Life; and more specifically what we can expect from “Part 1” of it, which will drop on 4/15/22.

“This Life” started out as an album full of sad songs, mostly written during the yearlong lock down. As we were preparing to go in to the studio, I realized that I didn’t want to give any more time to the feelings of separation and loneliness that the lock down had brought about, so I set out to write songs that made me feel good and more normal. Songs that would focus on raising spirits. You can expect to hear that mentality in there, I also kept a few of the sad ones for good measure.

2) For your longtime fans, what similarities and what differences are they going to hear between this new album when compared to 2018’s White Horse?

Well, I think we were able to maintain that raw sound people have come to expect while adding more tonality to the album. I feel the quality of the writing is up a level from where it was. Some of the topics addressed in the music this time are real and carry weight, such as the treatment of our Vets, addiction, and self-worth.

3) You own the distinction of being the only artist ever invited by Bryan Worthen to record at Studio 606 in LA, the Foo Fighter's home studio, which is where This Life was recorded. Tell us how that honor came about?

It’s really a story of right place and right time. I was playing a steady Thursday night gig at a bar called The Steak Out on the northwest side of Tucson, and Amy (Bryan’s Wife) would come in and watch shows and buy the home-made CD’s I had. Eventually Bryan came in and later invited me over to their house for drinks and explained/showed me who he was and said he had an opportunity for me. At first, I was kinda scared to take him up on his offer. I had watched a documentary about the studio and the history that was wrapped up in it and I really questioned my ability. No matter how nervous you are about it, you can’t pass up a once in a lifetime opportunity to take the next step in a place like that. After we were done recording, I found out Bryan had never invited an artist into the studio before, we were his first. Thank God we didn’t know beforehand, or the pressure would have been multiplied.

4) This Life is produced by John “Lou” Lousteau. What aspects did he bring into the studio that challenged you the most and helped to find the overall vibe and sound for this album that might not have otherwise been there without his input?

I can’t say enough good about John “Lou” Lousteau. He has become one of my best friends and biggest musical sounding boards. Lou brings honesty first and foremost to his work. Having a person who can be honest with you for the good of the music is key. On top of that, Lou has the ability to understand and translate what I’m thinking and bring my ideas to life.  He brings tonality, timing and feel to the music and our performance in the studio. He may also be the funniest person I know.

5) Why do you feel that the album’s lead single “Madeline” is the perfect choice to first introduce this new batch of music with?

After the year we had, I wanted to put out something upbeat and fun. I think people are ready to dance, and I want to be a part of that.

6) “Part 1” also includes a great cover of John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery.” With so many acts having covered that song over the years, what does that song mean to you personally that you’d include it on your album, and in what ways do you feel your version is different from the others that will help make it be a standout for you?

I don’t think you get better than John Prine and Bonnie Raitt singing it together. The first time I heard Bonnie and John singing it together on the “Tribute to Steve Goodman” record it became a part of my musical DNA. I had told myself I would record it someday, and with the passing of John I thought I needed to get it out. Not because I’m special, but as a thank you. My version is a far less pretty than most versions you hear, but I hope my love for the song comes across in the performance.  I hope I am doing right by both Mr. Prine and Ms. Raitt.

7) Is there a release date set for “Part 2” yet? Also, in what ways will “Part 2” show a different side of you and your music than what we’ll hear on “Part 1”?

We are shooting for a September release of part 2. Part 2 has some bangers on it, a couple departures from what is expected of me, and a couple covers of my favorite songs. All in all, I would say be prepared for an eclectic listening experience.

8) On the album as a whole, meaning both parts of it, what is your one personal favorite song that you can’t wait for your fans to hear, and why that specific song?

This is a hard question to answer because I am so invested in all of these songs. Off of Part 1, I really love “This Life” and “Every Note.” “This Life” as a song is really big and powerful, I hope the full emotion of the song is able to resonate with the listeners. “Every Note” has a great feel to it and carries a little bit of the tone the “White Horse” album had into Part 1.  On Part 2 we have “Calling All Angels” and “Folk.”  I am really excited to get both out there and have people hear them because of how real they are.

9) Iconic Red Dirt country artist Cody Canada has really been a big cheerleader for you and your music. How did that connection come about and what have you been able to learn from Cody that you’ve applied to your career?

I can’t say enough great things about Cody and his family. They are just good people. If music was removed from the process, I would be honored to be friends with them. I found Cody musically because of the song “17” that he wrote. It changed everything for me. I was able meet Cody and Jeremy Plato for the first time when I was working as a bouncer at a bar they played. I was hooked, and from then on never missed a show that I had the gas money to get to. I was lucky enough to open for them several times at the beginning of my career, and I able to make that first connection that way. He then came and worked on my buddies (The Coletrains) album that I co-produced, and we really connected. The biggest thing I’ve learned from Cody and his wife Shannon is family first. I know it sounds cliche’ but it's a simple idea that can be easily lost in the music business. The Canada family embodies this principle and it's obvious in everything they do. Along with that, Cody has always been about treating people well and being true to yourself. He has always set a great example for upcoming and established artists alike. I’m just doing my best not to let him down.

10) What is the best piece of advice that you can offer an aspiring songwriter/artist just trying to break into the music business?

Family, friends and the songs. Treat them right and they will take care of you.  Work at your craft. Practice, book shows, go to shows and meet everyone you can. When you feel like you’ve done enough of those things, start over and do it again.  Finally, probably the hardest and one that I continually work at is remove your ego. Not self-worth, but ego. When you are performing, and people are listening to you they are giving you their time. They don’t make more of that, you can’t earn it and you can’t get it back. Be aware and thankful and grateful to the moments that people are giving you. Shared time and emotion with strangers are the currency we deal in, do that right and everything else will follow.

 

 

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