Citizen Cope’s emotionally resonant, urban-folk music is particularly poignant lately. His newest launch, “Heroin & Helicopters,” displays what unites American tradition, fairly than what polarizes and divides it.
“I believe we’re all on a mission to search out some interior peace,” Citizen Cope, aka Clarence Greenwood, mentioned. “We’re all going in direction of this collective consciousness, and though it’s darkish proper now, I consider we’re going to succeed in that place collectively. Peace and concord and understanding: That’s the way you fight the darkness, and that’s what this report is all about.”
Citizen Cope performs on the Vilar Performing Arts Heart’s Residency collection this weekend. As much as 100 tickets can be found for every present, which occur on Thursday, March 4, Friday, March 5 and Saturday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m.
The brand new album attracts on influences starting from The Beatles to Invoice Withers, Chuck Brown and Randy Newman. It explores private journeys we take to embrace our full selves — flaws and all.
Since his self-titled debut in 2002, Citizen Cope has trusted his intestine and adopted his muse. His path to success has been a gradual, regular word-of-mouth burn, fairly than a flash within the pan. His single “Let the Drummer Kick” went platinum with out industrial radio help, and The Washington Put up ended up calling him “DC’s best export since Marvin Gaye.”
Mainstream media largely ignored his 2004 launch, “The Clarence Greenwood Recordings,” however grassroots help led to over 700,000 gross sales and landed his tracks in movie and tv, together with “Entourage,” “Sons of Anarchy” and “Alpha Canine.” Ultimately, artists like Carlos Santana, Sheryl Crow, Richie Havens and Eric Clapton lined his tunes.
Cope avoids cookie-cutter genres, explaining that completely different American cultures, from Memphis and Texas to DC and Brooklyn, have influenced each his music and his life. He grew up listening to the whole lot from Dr. Dre and Bob Marley to Willie Nelson and John Lennon.
In 2011, he stepped away from touring and recording to spend time together with his daughter. Throughout that interval, he handled the loss of life of his estranged father, who had been bodily abusive earlier than abandoning the household. He realized to forgive his father and love himself extra — a deep self-reflection that informs “Heroin & Helicopters.”
The album’s title comes from a warning Santana gave Cope one night time, backstage at The Fillmore to avoid the 2 H’s: heroin and helicopters, which have led to so many musicians’ deaths. The message resonated with Cope, who views tradition as fixated on self-improvement shortcuts, mass manufacturing as an alternative of high quality and greed over empathy.
“We’re residing in an addicted society, and never simply hooked on medicine or alcohol or substances. We’re hooked on battle and fame and social media,” he mentioned. “We’re hooked on getting what we would like with out working for it, with out paying the value.”
So Cope makes use of his music to look inward and outward, recognizing the position he additionally performs in perpetuating the identical social constructs he needs to beat. His music is intimate, religious even — it’s generally akin to overhearing a melodic prayer that pushes boundaries and asks uncomfortable questions, like what it means to be human.
“My music has at all times been constructed round consciousness,” he mentioned. “Primarily, I’m attempting to attach an emotion and lyrics and wrap them up in heavy drums. The music isn’t hip hop; it isn’t reggae; it isn’t pop and it isn’t rock ‘n’ roll. It doesn’t essentially have a house genre-wise, however it lives in all of these locations. It pays respect to all these locations.”
And respect is what it finally comes all the way down to for Cope: respect for self, others, private development and intimate connection via tune.