Interview: Cooper Phillip
Fri, 16 Jan 2015 09:48:51
When Cooper Phillip sings, you immediately feel it. She's got the kind of soulful swagger that transcends generations, and she can carry a ballad like nobody's business. That's what makes her debut EP Walk A Mile so passionate, potent, and powerful. Start paying attention to her now because she's destined for some very big things on the horizon.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Cooper Phillip talks her Walk A Mile EP and so much more.
Did you approach the Walk A Mile EP with one overarching vision or vibe in mind?
It just happened naturally. Everything came together so organically. I wrote all of these songs from my heart in the moment. I was going through a breakup and coming from another country to New York all by myself at a very early age. I was starting my life from scratch. Walk A Mile is really inspired by New York, living there, and being a part of this community of people. I came from Russia, but there are so many other cultures that I was observing. I felt how amazing it is to be a part of it even though I came from somewhere else and I had to prove myself and work harder than everybody. Basically, Walk A Mile was my thinking at the moment. I wanted to share my story. I wanted to stay very organic in terms of the sound. There are two piano ballads. I wanted to let people really hear my voice. There’s live drums, bass, and keys. I wanted to create something very organically sound. I love to use live instruments because you can make music that won’t sound dated in ten years. I never wanted to fall into a box.
What’s the story behind “Tough Love”?
It’s a personal song. I was going through a relationship with this guy who I felt like was the love of my life. I was giving, sharing, sacrificing, and breaking my rules for him. It was a very interesting and complicated relationship. I didn’t feel anything back. I felt like he was using my youth and taking everything away from me. When I realized that, I needed to move on, write a song about it, and share my pain. “Tough Love” is about being grateful for being heart, basically. I’m saying, “I’m hurt, and it’s tough. I’m okay with that now. I’m not sorry. You’re going to be sorry when you realize I’m not there.”
Where did “Silence” come from?
It’s the same story but with different words and expressions. I was very close to leaving the relationship. There’s a moment you don’t have to speak anymore or share, and you’re about to make the decision to leave. You don’t want to hurt him, but you need to leave. It’s a very emotional, important, and personal song for me. I love to write based off personal experience because it’s very emotional and people can feel that.
Is it important for you to tell stories with the songs?
I love telling stories because I think when people hear great lyrics and good melodies, they can relate to them and they might want to even sing along. Some of the stories are international. They’re worldwide. I think every song can speak to each and every person because everybody is going through the same emotions I do. I’m trying to inspire people. You have to believe in yourself, be honest with your feelings, and do what your heart tells you to do. It’s so important to be honest with yourself. These songs can speak to everybody. I like feel connected to my audience and make them feel they are the same. Music is about emotions that’s why I feel it’s important to be honest.
What artists shaped you?
I’m very influenced by soul music. My main influences when I was growing up were Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, and Mariah Carey. I love big singers who can really sing. I’m crazy about singers. As far as current artists go, I love Sam Smith, Bruno Mars, and Adele.
When did you come up with the title Walk A Mile?
That was when I move to L.A. I felt like the environment was amazing. It’s different from New York. I had this picture in my head of Times Square and the subway station. There are so many homeless people living by the subway. This is part of my story. I came by myself. I lived in the back of a restaurant. I had no money. I began singing at the Russian restaurant to support myself. I started learning English more and more. I had very basic knowledge, and I couldn’t really speak and express myself. New York had a big influence and impact on me. You’re coming from overseas, and you’re here to fulfill your dream. You have to work so hard. If you knew you needed to work that hard, you might say, “I don’t know if I can do”. While you’re here, you work really hard. The concept is when you’re making your dream happen, you’re working really hard. You’re walking miles and miles. Nobody really knows. People watching from the other side don’t really know what’s happening to you. They think you’re making it happen yourself, and it’s so easy. They don’t know how hard it is. They can tell us nothing until they walk mile in our shoes. People need to make it themselves to see how hard it is. That’s the inspiration behind Walk A Mile.
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