James Cooper's Journey ; A Path Sketched In Stone



James Cooper's story is that of passion, perseverance and belief, but most important of all, it is one of inspiration.
Speaking to Urban Craft magazine recently, the musician opened up about, both his professional and personal journey over the years.
"I've been in love with music all my life. Trained in Percussion throughout my teens and transitioned to Electric Bass and Guitar throughout A Levels / HND and Degree Level Music.
"I was performing live throughout my twenties - like most musicians always relying on the day job and 'one break away from some sort of professional' but that was never true. It never happened and I didn't have the confidence I needed.
"After the arrival of my baby daughter in 2012 all the live performing stopped and I fell into a world of apps and electronic production. Along with a visionary Italian and some open minded American folks I helped to found a Facebook community around an app called 'Figure'.
"It was so much fun! - an escape from some dark times, losing myself in the digital world but finding great friends and musicians to connect with online, in a positive way. Making tiny but ALWAYS EPIC 8-bar loops. My heart was 'there' for over three years and still is, in spirit.
"Sketches Stone started one September night in 2015 during a VERY dark time. I created the debut track 'The Walk' while dealing with an extreme depression and pledged to donate ALL revenue earned to MIND charity (for mental health). I will still honor that vow, but after failing to set up automated payments back then and being in such a bad place - I didn't have the energy or the confidence to promote it - I didn't sell a single copy", he said.

With Sketches Stone virtually set to 'inactive', James carried on experimenting and dropping tracks.
"One day Beklyn dropped some vocals on my piano loop 'RAIN'.. I was instantly enchanted by those vocals and that was the very start of My Lips to the Sound (Sketches Stone's latest release).
"It was the biggest buzz hearing that vocal part from out of thin air (!) and I continued to develop it further with Bek but we reached a point where I thought it needed more..
Just something organic; another human.... so the song went in the 'finish it someday' folder (although I was always asking string players if they would like to play on it)", he said.

James also shed light on the BLΛCK MΛRKS project, a group that also consisted of musicians in their own right, namely Dallo, Seysmic and Beklyn, describing it as an "amazing experience to be in a group that carried so much talent".
In spite of the strides they made as a unit, he eventually sought to strike out on his own and the move seems to be paying dividends if his latest releases are anything to go by.
"I had already spoken with Shona Mooney- an amazingly talented violinist from Scotland, in early 2018 and she played fiddle over MLTTS and Down By The Sea. I'd been unable to muster the courage to mix these recordings since she sent them - 'now was the time' so to speak. After grappling with the mix and a final confidence boost from SeYSMIC I sent the single for release. I can't even describe the relief that I felt in that moment. It was done! (MLTTS) was released on the 1st July 2018.
"I was so overwhelmed and happy at how well it was received. It stands out for me. MLTTS is the musical equivalent of a warm blanket with twisting and visual lyrics. We brought a scene to life in the song and it was a great feeling to share that with the world.
It's captured hearts and the sounds are, for the most part, perfectly organic and alive with a soul and humanity that electronic music pushes aside. I need more of that warmth in my musical life. This past year has been a wild ride for me to say the least", said the artist.

For James, the future is looking bright and upbeat musically, he is looking forward to recording more songs and really focusing creatively on organic sounds - connecting with people and sharing. He has already started an outlet for electronic sounds called 'WHAT IF GRAVITY' (working on a debut release as we speak.

While fighting on the music front, James is also fighting a personal battle  having been diagnosed with ADHD. Besides a supporting family and friends, music has been the only constant in the artists life.
"At the moment I'm rebuilding my Sound setup and dealing with ADHD - a new diagnosis but a very old problem that has led my life in many directions without me having control.
Personally; I'm still working on 'myself' full-time too. Focusing on ways ADHD affects my life and those around me and staying in a routine where possible - it's really hard for me.
"Im in a steady place now and building a new life in a new home with an amazing lady and my wonderful daughter along with the love and support of my family. I'm a VERY lucky guy to have so many loving people in my life. It's been quite a ride to get here and there's still so much more work to do.
"I need to grow in confidence that's for sure. I also need to Learn as many ways as possible to speed up and organize my creative process - again with ADHD that's going to be a challenge but I know I'll never stop. I have, set in my sights, to get Sketches Stone played on a TV Show or Movie.
"My musical journey, throughout my entire life, has been the only thing I've truly stuck with and loved doing... I'll never let it go and I can't wait to live the rest of it... no matter where it goes", he said.
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