|I met Eric Copeland, producer, arranger, songwriter,
singer, keyboardist. I recently reviewed his album
The Jazz In Me and
Drew Davidsen's new album
which was produced by Eric.
hbh: Eric, is that a complete description of your professional work?
EC: Yes, I wear many hats
(laughs). Actually this all started with songwriting, which led to being
an artist and then making recordings of my music. Then when folks found
out I did that kind of thing, they began to have me do arranging and
production for them as far back as high school.
hbh: I visited your website Creative Soul Online on which you offer artists across the nation and the world the opportunity for true artist development and full studio production in Nashville, TN using the top players and producers in Christian music today, and the opportunity to associate with a strong independent Christian label that is helping artists reach a national and international audience. How do I have to understand that offer of music consulting?
EC: Yes exactly. I have always
felt that the best way for artists to truly grow is to go through the
consulting and development process. In the old days, to learn any craft,
you used to have to sit at the feet of a master and be an apprentice,
sometimes for years. I think you truly learn best when you work with
those who are more experienced that you are. The musicians, engineers,
and producers here in Nashville have been working with the best in
Christian music for 20+ years, and have so much experience, wisdom, and
mastery of craft to learn from.
hbh: What is the concrete catalogue of your services?
EC: We start with consulting,
trying to help Christian artists sort out all the creative gifts God has
given them, and then put together a plan to get the ministry going. That
usually leads to songwriting, arranging, and production services towards
a full product that can serve them in ministry. We also assist with
photography, design, and duplication in this process. Finally, as
Creative Soul Records we help the artist promote the record with radio,
publicity, and distribution ideas and contacts in the industry.
hbh: Which conditions and abilities are necessary to be supported by Creative Soul Records?
EC: Well, it's much more about
heart and ministry than abilities, this is ministry after all.
hbh: You merge your spiritual belief with your consulting service and your music. How strong is the religious impact on your work?
EC: Well, it's the reason I do
any creative work I think. If you believe a Creator made us in His
image, then aren't we are ALL little creators? But more than that, both
in my music and Creative Soul Jazz, I want to bring out the beauty and
passion of spiritual things in a jazzy way.
hbh: Can you tell us something about the artists you worked with Creative Soul Jazz?
EC: Well, we've actually had a
bunch of success with a new guitar player out of Baltimore, Maryland
named Drew Davidsen. His new single "Astro" has flown up he smooth jazz
charts, and he actually opened for George Duke at the Catalina Jazz
Festival a few months ago. We also have smoky jazz and gospel singer
Jessie Laine Powell, and we're working on her national debut record now.
hbh: Jazz, contemporary jazz, smooth jazz. What is your personal view of these genres?
EC: Well, it's obvious there
are two different genres inside of jazz: the traditional side (from
classic Miles Davis to Chick Corea to today's modern jazz artists) and
the smooth side (everything you hear on smooth jazz radio ie.
Rippingtons, Euge Groove, Rick Braun). And I think yes there is a
'contemporary' or what we used to call 'fusion' side, and it's relegated
to the side of both arguments (Yellowjackets, Pat Metheny, etc).
hbh: Let's talk about your next projects. Can you offer something for the eager audience?
EC: I thought you'd never ask!! ;) Yes, here are some projects I have going that I am very excited about:
"Welcome to Florida". Working title for an album inspired by vacating in the sunshine state! Very inspired by my main man Michael Franks, so you may hear alot of vocals and cool grooves.
"Coolest". This will be the third and final rendition of my "Cool" series that started in 1997 with a cassette release called "It's So Cool", and then a remastered CD version called "Cooler". This album will be totally new versions of the songs suitable for today's contemporary and smooth jazz scene, and will also offer some new tunes that didn't make it onto that CD in time. PLUS, the Cooler disc will be included as a bonus disc.
"12 Tone Stories". Inspired by my study of music history, this will most likely be much more on the contemporary/fusion side of things and not as smooth.
Also, available NOW is my newest CD "Quiet Soul Solo Piano Series Volume I" at my website http://wwwEricCopelandMusic.com and I am also going to be releasing a new version of "The Jazz in Me" that includes a few extra songs I didn't get on there in time, and new art work.
There's much more in the hopper with new albums from Drew Davidsen and Jessie Laine Powell, as well as a few player-focused records.
Always alot going on creative-wise!! Just
pray for my time to get it all done! :)
hbh: Ok, let's take your answer as a headline. The internet community certainly wants more details about your mentioned projects. How do you would describe your projects, when someone ask you for a comprehensive press info?
EC: "Welcome to Florida" should
be first off the presses, with smooth Latin sounds of completely new and
original sounds. There will be a lot of vocals on this record, in a very
Michael Franks fashion, and each song is centered around a Florida
location. Songs on the CD include "Sand Dollar in my Suitcase", "On the
Beach", and the title song "Welcome to Florida".
Talking about investors and executive producers: How can they support
EC: Well, we do jazz and ministry for the love of it; because we can't NOT do it. But at the same time, I believe very highly in our best for HIS best. And doing things with quality can mean an investment.
Now luckily, because I can do so much of the work myself (keyboards, mix, design, etc), my main thrust is hiring the right players to make this go. And I like to pay these guys what they are worth.
Plus, all artists need help paying for radio promotion, and publicity to reinforce their gigs.
So, investors can help make sure production expenses are met, plus help us pay for promotional things like radio and publicity.
Anytime an investor steps up to help an artist during the production phase, they automatically get an Executive Producer credit. They get to be part of the process and we welcome their comments as well.
If anyone out there is interested in
supporting a Creative Soul Jazz artist, please email me personally at
hbh: We observe a constant decline of sales rates in the music industry. There are various models to change this dilemma. Do you have a special receipt?
EC: Well, I'm not sure I have the answer to this. But I think that no matter what crazy ideas people come up with to get/raise money, touring and live sales are crucial. I don't think jazz has ever been a huge seller in the stores, and most all jazz musicians have made their living on the road. And in my experience, the only folks who have sold consistently online are the ones touring and leaving behind impressed fans who go online and buy later. Jazz is a performance art. It is something you GO see. That is what has separated it and classical from all the other genres. In a way that's what makes it special.
hbh: I strongly believe, that musicians who put integrity in their work, will always find their audience. I wish you a loyal and faithful fan community following you through ups and down. Hopefully you will never loose your joy to perform your music. All the best, Eric!
EC: Thanks Hans!!!