The tree of (my) life
I've led a rather colourful life over the years. Here are some of those defining moments that made me "Jody".
“For as long as I can remember I’ve been driven, whether intentionally or unintentionally, to march to the beat of my own drum. So, when I write songs, I’m drawn to challenge perceptions of what is real, and the uncomfortable truths that are often revealed in the process.”
So says Jody Cooper – singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, performer, “walking jukebox”, part-time Freddie Mercury imitator and now German citizen. Described as a “one-man indie pop activist” (Devon Jackson – Rolling Stone), it is easy to be deceived by his catchy melodies and expressive voice, and believe that there is nothing beneath the surface. But it is precisely what is under that surface that interests Jody. After a six-week whirlwind tour of New Zealand and three months of creative Corona isolation in the wilds of Hessen, Jody went back to the drawing board and came up with a collection of new songs that he simply calls ‘The Love & Loss Project’. Not an album, or an EP, but an evolving online work that will tease out one song at a time into 2024 and beyond.
Growing up in the eighties as an English boy in a rural Scottish town, Jody always stood out without even trying: “People would look at me strangely because I spoke ‘funny’, so I learnt to embrace that and combine it with my love of performing in order to feel accepted.” Starting with violin lessons and classroom performances in an R.A.F. flight jacket and shades at the age of six – for which he inherited the moniker “Elton Cooper” – and later teaching himself piano, bass and guitar. “I couldn’t really read music”, he remembers. “Luckily, I discovered I had a natural aptitude for picking things up simply by listening to them.” At the age of fourteen, after a suggestion from a friend, he tried his hand at songwriting. “Ah…the existential teenage angst”, laughs Jody. “Some people pour their heart out into diaries, I poured mine into songs. It was very therapeutic.” At sixteen he awoke one morning with a voice in his head telling him he would be a musician. From then on, music became the only thing that mattered.
After many years performing solo and in bands as a self-employed musician, Jody’s self-determination enabled him to fulfil two long-held dreams: the release of his own first album ‘Ten a Penny’ (2007) – a self-financed and self-produced project five years in the making – and studying music full-time in the home town of his childhood idols The Beatles. It was during his time in Liverpool that he became part of “Sense of Sound” (an a cappella group whose collaborations include Seal, Damon Albarn, Jon Bon Jovi and Imogen Heap) and, with them, earned his first Guinness World Record. Several releases and European tours followed (‘Growing Up’ and ‘Free Thyself’ (2012); ‘The Troubadour’ EP (2013)) and, in 2013, after years playing for British audiences, he left the UK to start a new life in Germany. In 2015 he released his first download-only singles: “Silence” – inspired by the plight of the Bahá’ís in Iran – and “Immortal Friend” – a song written for his brother and occasional band colleague Robbie Cooper: an enthusiastic drummer who died of cancer in 2014.
Following his first visit and concerts in the U.S. in 2016, 2017 saw the release of his most ambitious project to date: ‘Serenades and Odes to a Cracked World (Part 1)’ – his first crowdfunded concept album on the theme of disintegration. 2019 was a year of collaborations: being a part of the world’s biggest rock band – “Rockin’ 1000” – at Frankfurt’s Commerzbank Arena (for which he again broke records), and a joint singer-songwriter tour with fellow musician and friend Omid Gollmer.
Jody currently juggles his time between parenthood, writing and recording from his home studio, travelling with his Queen band MerQury and preparing himself and his band for world domination – one gig at a time.