Musical brand

Local artist CJ Cooper explores themes of growth and change in brand new album

“I think it’s been a really good anchor over the last few years,” CJ Cooper said of his album, “Are We There Yet?”

In a time of uncertainty, a Guelph musician found support in the community. Now she’s ready to share songs about life through the pandemic and other times of change.

CJ Cooper will release a new album on May 14 titled “Are we there already?’ The album covers a variety of topics, from love, pain, togetherness and growth.

“It’s stuff that I hope people can just listen to and be thankful that it wasn’t forever, and then I hope they listen to the happy songs and they can just be in the mood. moment and they can feel, ‘Oh, life ain’t bad,’ Cooper said of the album, which contains influences from a few genres including rock, pop, country and synth. .

After going through a series of changes over the past few years, Cooper is grateful to release this album.

“I think that’s been a really good anchor over the last few years for my purpose and feeling connected to music when sometimes it’s been hard to find joy in the things you love,” Cooper said.

Release of his first album look ahead at age 18, Cooper said she went to Seneca College to study songwriting and performance. Through the program, she has developed some of the songs from her current album, working with many people from different genres and musical backgrounds.

“It was kind of the first time I wrote with other people from different genres, different musical backgrounds, and at the time I had no plans for a second album. In my mind, I was just writing songs for school,” Cooper says.

After graduating from the program, Cooper said a series of changes had taken place. His father was diagnosed with cancer…and then there was the pandemic.

“It was one thing after another coming out of college, it was really difficult,” she said, adding that her father had overcome cancer.

Between March and June 2020, Cooper began performing live streams on the local Guelph This & That Facebook group. During those months, Cooper performed over 30 shows and made deeper connections with those who connected.

“After doing these live streams, I felt very supported, like I had a lot of people in my corner, and I felt like it was a good time to start opening up and sharing these songs I wrote in school.”

One of those songs she shared is called out of the shadows, which features on his new album. Cooper said she performed the song live in May 2020 and got a good response. She decided to make a music video for the song and contacted the Facebook group to request footage.

“I went through a hundred videos and cut them all, and I went out with my family and took stuff, and I ended up putting it together on my laptop. It was a homemade video gender, 20 and 30 families,” she said.

After putting it together, Cooper said he created the music video for out of the shadows was probably the best project she had ever done.

“It was touching, in that time when it was a scary, difficult thing that we all went through, and to get these videos of people making the best of these scary situations, and the fact that they were willing to share that with me, I took it very seriously.

“Putting all of this into a little movie was such a unique experience.”

This experience has also helped her connect with her community.

“I felt a different type of connection than having a crowd of people,” Cooper said. “It made me feel closer to them, and now coming out of the pandemic a bit more, and meeting some of these people in real life has been a crazy thing.

“I’ve been playing professionally in Guelph since I was 13 and I’ve always enjoyed playing here more than any other place,” she continues. “We’re all very open and supportive of each other, but in making this video, I actually got to feel every other person.”

With a couple of music videos slated for release this summer and a vinyl album to come, Cooper is also going to be taking some time off to enjoy his album.

“After that, I’m going to take a break,” Cooper said. “I have a lot of songs written for a new project, but I’m not going to give myself a deadline for that.”

For more on CJ Cooper and his new album, visit cjcoopermusic.com.