Kolby Cooper is among the best songwriters I have ever interviewed. I wanted to find out how this 22-year-old got so talented so quickly.
Cooper got interested in country music as a child while riding around in a cattle truck with his dad. They would listen to artists like Waylon Jennings, Chris LeDoux, and Randy Rogers. He picked up a guitar at around age ten. When he learned to play he began writing as well. He was 12 years old when he wrote his first song.
Even though his first song was “terrible” he knew that songwriting was something he wanted to do forever.
Cooper was 14 when cancer took his dad, and he channeled that painful loss into songwriting. By the time he was 18, he was married and had a child. Fresh out of high school, Kolby released his first song online and shortly after an EP; growing his fan base organically.
His original plan was to go to nursing school, but his mom and wife could tell he was not “into it.” They advised him to take a year off to pursue music. He could always go back to school if music didn’t work out.
That was 3 and 1/2 years ago and it is obvious that he made the right decision. He banked millions of streams as an independent artist and was recently signed to BBR Music Group / Wheelhouse Records in partnership with Combustion Music.
Today, he is known for his signature blend of scorching break-up anthems and gut-wrenchingly relevant songs that are wildly witty and sung with conviction. I asked him how a happily married guy came up with so many heartbreak songs.
He states, “A lot of the heartbreak songs are about experiences that my friends have gone through. I watched the story unfold and put it in a song. A lot of it is friends going through tough breakups and picking the wrong people to be in relationships with.”
The imagery for breakup songs like “Excuses,” Diamond Rings and Cocaine,” and the tongue-in-cheek song, “One Night Stand” is so vivid, you could swear the Texas boy was writing about himself.
The title track to his EP, “Boy From Anderson County” is autobiographical as he talks about his life with his family and wife, Jillian. With the chorus stating She made me better, she made me stronger / She made me want this dream so bad /She made me wish that forever wasn’t all the time we had / She showed me every single thing I didn’t know about me / And I thank God every day that that girl found me / ‘Cause He made a plan, she made a choice / They made a man out of a boy from Anderson County you can tell the country crooner adores his wife.
Another masterfully crafted song is “Good For You.” With the lyrics Love that you’re doin’ what’s good for you / I hate it had to break my heart in two / Still hung up on your memory / Wishin’ what was good for you was good for me, his words are convincingly relatable to so many even if they are not written about himself.
However, his and my favorite song off the new EP is “Way To Go.” It is self-deprecation at its finest but leaves the lonesome man enlightened by the mistakes of his past, taking Michael Jackson’s advice to change the “man in the mirror” if he ever hopes for a lasting relationship.
A talented songwriter can write an authentic song about themselves that connects with their fans in a special way, but a truly gifted songwriter can write a genuine song about someone/something else and make you feel it as deeply as if it really happened to them. Cooper has this gift.
Although he flies to Nashville once a month to write and record songs, the Texas musician keeps his family in Tyler about 45 minutes from where he grew up.
He confesses, “It’s nice to visit once a month, but it would be a lot to live there.”
Before signing with BBR Music Group, Cooper released a full-length record and two EPs as an independent artist. In three short years, he has accomplished what has eluded seasoned Nashville insiders amassing more than 120 million on-demand streams and playing numerous, sold-out shows around the country, with thousands of fans singing along to his searing, wry lyric.
In August, the singer/songwriter released his 3rd EP, Boy From Anderson County, an EP in which he co-wrote all six songs.
“I’m more proud of this project than anything I’ve ever released,” says Cooper. “Listen front to back then listen one more time. This EP has been a long time coming, and I can’t wait for y’all to hear it. I hope you love it as much as I do.”
Cooper continues his strenuous touring schedule throughout 2021, headlining sold-out shows all over the country, bringing with him his signature blend of Lonestar State roots, rough-hewn vocals, and wailing electric guitar. Fans will have no doubt that Boy From Anderson County is authentically Kolby Cooper.
If you live in the Nashville area, be sure to catch the singer/songwriter on November 12th and 13th at the famed Basement East.
You can follow Kolby Cooper and listen to his music on his website, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and all streaming platforms.
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Bethany Bowman is a freelance entertainment writer. You can follow her blog, Instagram, and Twitter.
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