You may not know Kolby Cooper yet, but you will. He is already drawing crowds and building a huge fanbase. As for his sound, Cooper looks to greats like Waylon Jennings, Nirvana, Alan Jackson, and Chris LeDoux for inspiration. The 22-year-old Texas native is only a few years out of high school, but don’t let his age fool you. He is already well known for his expertly-penned breakup anthems and tunes about hard times. After signing a deal with BBR Music Group/Wheelhouse Records in June, Kolby is ready to show listeners a new side of himself. His upcoming EP, Boy From Anderson County, will do just that when it drops on August 6.
Cooper talked to Outsider about his new EP, songwriting, musical upbringing, and more.
What Drives Him
Kolby Cooper: Every kid dreams of being a musician or a singer or whatever. So, I always wanted to. Then, around 11 or 12, is when I really started taking it more seriously like writing songs and really learning how to play guitar and stuff. Also, I think it was kind of instilled in me by my dad. He wasn’t a musician or anything but we really bonded over music. It really drove me to want to make music. He passed away when I was a freshman in high school. A big reason I do it is him and trying to make him proud.
Hard Times Make Good Songs
Kolby Cooper: It’s heavily influenced by a bunch of life experiences and most of them not being the greatest. I had to grow up really quick when my dad passed away. Which, I think also played into me feeling mentally older. Just going through bad stuff and working on it. I’ve been going to Nashville a whole lot writing. I’ve been writing with some bad motherf***ers. So, I have to go in there with my A-game or I’ll embarrass myself.
Just a Boy from Anderson County
Kolby Cooper: [Boy From Anderson County] is just me doing what I want to do. We’ve had these first six tracks and six more tracks done since before we signed. I want to be able to go as country as I want and also as heavy as I want. I want to be able to say f*** you to everyone who didn’t believe in me and then tell you how much I love my wife. I just made the record that I wanted to make and it came out exactly the way I wanted it to. I can’t wait for people to hear it.
There’s a couple of breakup songs on the EP that have been inspired by friends. So, if someone’s going through a rough patch, I want them to listen to them and know everything’s going to be good. Then, also, I want them to get a view into my life and what’s going on. Like, being in love and having a family and having great friends and just loving life and being happier than ever.
Family Time Is Precious
Kolby Cooper: A lot of times, I’ll be at the house with the family and have an idea and I’ll write it down in my notes. Every once in a while, I’ll write a lot more. Like, I’ll write a full verse or a full chorus or something. Every once in a while, I’ll write a song. When I’m at the house, I like to spend as much time with them as I can. That’s valuable time.