Southern rock/country singer/songwriter Devin Cooper heads to Stettler’s Entertainment in the Park Aug. 21st.
Originally from Innisfail and now Calgary-based, Cooper recalls growing up in a house full of music although no one was a musician per se.
But that was about to change, as he seemed to know pretty early on where his path in life would take him.
“One of my earliest memories was listening to an old Beatles’ record and it just blew my mind,” he recalled during a recent chat. “We have a video of me when I’m about two years old and I’m just dancing away to Day Tripper. I think that’s what started it all for me.”
Cooper is the son of a motorcycle shop owner and custom car builder, and he recalled listening to all kinds of music during those days while his father worked. “Music was always around but my family wasn’t necessarily musical.
“But I started to beg my parents for a guitar when I was about five years old. They were like, ‘You are five! You’ll want to do something else in two weeks.” They encouraged him to start saving money from Christmas and birthday gifts to put towards his own guitar, and that’s exactly what he did.
“For literally two years I saved up all of my money, and it was then that I had the money to buy my own guitar.”
A new ‘direction’ was struck by the time he was seven.
Years of lessons followed while he was also carving out his own exemplary niche in the music world. Influences ran the gamut from the artists he grew up listening to in his dad’s shop such as Johnny Cash, Stevie Ray Vaughan and ZZ Top.
During his junior and high school years, he played in a few bands and continued to hone his guitar style as well as his increasingly powerful and expressive voice.
Interestingly, the voice in fact came along a bit later.
“When I was 15 I started writing my own songs, and that’s when I decided I wanted to record a album. I figured if I was going to record, I should probably start singing. I was pretty against it for a long time – I just wanted to play the guitar. But when I started, I took a few lessons and working with a few people to get it up to a ‘live’ performance level. And I absolutely love singing now.
“So when I was 16, I recorded and released my own solo project – the first thing under my own name with six original songs. I started playing shows on my own at that time, too.”
From the start, it’s been quite an organic thing. Cooper has virtually always felt at home on stage. “It doesn’t matter what’s going on in the world or what’s going on in your life, once you step on that stage and start playing a song, everything else goes away,” he explained.
Currently, according to his bio, ‘His ‘rock n’ roll attitude paired with his thoughtful songwriting make him a trailblazer who continually pushes the boundaries of the country music genre’. And he’s been exceptionally busy.
He has written some 75 songs to date (with co-writers in Alberta and Nashville) and has performed 120 times in the last year alone.
He also kicked off 2019 with a sold out show in Red Deer as an opener for Aaron Pritchett, and his performance with the infamous rapper ‘Afroman’ in March of this year made national headlines.
After releasing his latest single Nothing On You in the spring of last year, Cooper received numerous award nominations.
He was nominated for Male Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year (YYC Music Awards), Song of The Year, Video of The Year, Fans Choice (Alberta Country Music Awards), and won Artist of the Year at the Red Deer Entertainment Awards.
Cooper plans to release new music in 2019 with the help of Juno Award winning producers Spencer Cheyne and Justin Kudding.
“We have a phenomenal community of musicians here in Alberta – there is a lot of very good support from other producers and artists,” he explained. “People think it’s a really big competition, but we all kind of rise together because we all work together. Having such a good community to work with and be a part of is one of those things that is incredibly inspiring.”