Exclusive Interview: Ross Cooper
In today’s country music, it is common to find new artists putting a pop/rock twist on tracks, sometimes blurring the lines between what is truly defined as country music and what is more often referred to as “Top 40.” Enter Ross Cooper, a native-born Texan who couldn’t have the heels of his cowboys boots dug deeper into classic country in every sense of the word.
Ross grew up in a rodeo family, so, naturally, he became involved with rodeo at a young age. However, his mother, albeit a rodeo lover herself, was also involved in music. Growing up, Ross’s mother had a guitar, but, for some unknown reason, he (like many kids) took piano lessons. Finally, Ross reached the end of his rope with the piano, put his cowboy boot down and told his mother he wasn’t playing piano any longer and wanted to take guitar lessons instead.
Once his mother agreed to let Ross make the instrument switch, he also began writing songs. The first song Ross wrote was when he was ten years old and it was with his mother on piano, and, admittedly, the song was “terrible.” In junior high, Ross decided he wanted to start a band, “because that’s what you do!” and he got together with a few friends, one of whom’s mother owned a local blues bar. The group would sneak into the bar and play their Sunday night jams. By the time the group entered high school, they had a well-groomed band.
While Ross was making music with his friends, he was also becoming more and more involved with the rodeo. Ross was a bucking horse bareback rider through high school and even quit football during his sophomore year to focus on riding. He continued on this path through college and then started to pro rodeo. In an unfortunate twist of fate, Ross tore his knee, not once, but twice, and was required to take time off from rodeoing. At that point, he had to figure out what path to take moving forward, as he was still playing music regularly. “Music kinda filled the gap, so much to the point that I had to make a choice between the two. So, here I am.”
Lucky for us, Ross made the decision he did because he is a gift to the genre of country music. Despite the fact that his first song was “terrible,” Ross’s writing skills have flourished since he was ten and he relies on the world around him, as well as literature, to inspire the songs he creates. Once Ross has an idea, which is typically easy to generate, the song writing process becomes more difficult. For Ross, the songs that flow out of him quickly become some of his favorites because “you just kind of let them out … The ones that are most driven by inspiration are the ones I always end up being the most proud of.”
One specific song that Ross takes pride in is his new single, “Give It Time,” which he described as “pretty dark.” The song was written in the back of a van at a time in his life where he felt like everything he was doing in his “life was all for nothing … I was kind of at that really really low point … I was dating a girl, that didn’t work out. At the time, I felt like everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I felt like what doesn’t kill me doesn’t make me stronger. Just give it time; it’s gonna get to me pretty soon!” This song denoted a turning point in Ross’s life and it allowed him to move on from everything he was going through.
Give It Time is also the name of Ross’s new album, which will be the singer/songwriter’s first experience with putting his work “under a microscope.” Ross categorized the album as “Americana” and “not your typical country album.” Though he couldn’t put his finger directly on it, he explained that country music fans will hear a very unique quality in his album, which includes songs that will make listeners “feel something.” Ross did warn that some tracks are dark, like the title track, “Give It Time,” but that he carefully formulated this album to ensure that people could identify with his songs and emote alongside him.
Like any new, budding artist, Ross has certain fellow musicians he would love to collaborate with who have left their footprints on the industry. Without hesitation, Ross told us that he would love to collaborate with Ryan Adams (not to be confused with Bryan Adams!), formerly of Whiskeytown. “I’m like one of his biggest fans. If I saw Ryan Adams on the street, that would probably be the only person, as far as musical heroes, go that I would actually be a shameless fan.”
Right now, while Ross awaits that fateful encounter with his musical hero, he will continue “gigging” so he can take the new album to fans and see how it is perceived. Ross never stops writing and he is hopeful that in six months to a year he will be in a position to release a follow-up to Give It Time. Motivationally, Ross states that he wants to just “keep going and see how much momentum we can build.”
Ross hopes that Give It Time will surprise country music fans and give them a taste of something different than to what people are accustomed. Ross truly hopes that fans embrace his music and enjoy what he is introducing into the country genre because he created his music with the intention that listeners would enjoy it and be able to relate. “It will be different than what people will expect, and hopefully in a good way.”
Ross’s album will be released on March 18, 2014. To order it on iTunes on the date of the release, click here. You can also stay up-to-date on announcements and shows by visiting Ross’s official website. We encourage you to visit Ross’s website and listen to “Give It Time” to get a sneak peek of the unique sound Ross is introducing into country music with the release of this album. What you will notice is not only a sound unlike any other, but an organic and honest track that will immediately appeal to pure country music lovers.
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