JP Cooper Uses New Video 'Closer' to Highlight Mental Health: 'We Need You, So Please Just Speak Out'

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JP Cooper, "Closer"

JP Cooper is riding the high of having just completed his biggest headlining tour to date in the U.K. after releasing his debut album Raised Under Grey Skies (Oct. 6), but his newest single "Closer" focuses on other emotions. 

"Closer" is the 10th track on the album, its lyrics dedicated to JP's son. The video features English actor Nicholas Pinnock (FortitudeCaptain America) in the father role and follows Pinnock as a husband trying to deal with the grief of losing his wife through his relationship with his young son. The video, jointly made with the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), was directed by Drew Cox.

Cooper tells Billboard that the idea to take the "Closer" video to the next level and make it into a meaningful short film was the "brainchild of Drew Cox and Nicholas Pinnock," but once he heard them suggest it, he didn't need any further convincing. Cooper has been working with CALM for many years, "since the days I was still working in a bar and doing small shows around Manchester."

And then Cooper signed his record deal, which meant he had to be away from home and away from his son -- the crux of "Closer." "Everybody involved has been in some way, personally or as a witness, been affected by mental health issues," he says. "I myself have recently really struggled with anxiety problems and have often found myself going from being a glass half full, take on the world kind of guy, to wanting to run away from everything and lock myself in a room within the space of 24 hours. It's something that men in particular struggle to open up about and that's the reason why I choose to use my platform to highlight these issues."

Cooper feels that while the video perfectly portrays the struggles humans go through, it also shows the beauty in pain. "There is such incredible beauty in what we are -- especially in our struggles. There is nothing wrong with being broken. It's usually part of a process of becoming more -- not just for yourself but for the world around you. And I hope that anybody reading this can really focus on that point: you are becoming more, you are incredible and there is a light behind those grey skies.  Most of all, we need you, so please just speak out."

On World Mental Health Day (Oct. 10), Pinnock took to his Twitter to share his personal experiences with depression and therapy, which clearly informed his performance in Cooper's "Closer" short film.

"I had a breakdown 11 years ago & got help that saved my life as my life to me wasn't worth any pain that I felt," he tweeted. "2. I was ashamed of it, of what people would think of me. I spoke to very few people about how I was feeling or what was going on."

To begin the video, Pinnock looks up at the sky wistfully while standing on stairs jutting into the sea. Throughout, footage of Cooper singing the song in the studio is inter-spliced with Pinnock and a little curly-headed boy who plays his son -- in the bathtub, at bedtime, back at the sea -- along with flashbacks Pinnock is experiencing of better times with his wife, the lyrics fitting the visuals seamlessly: "And if you ever need me, call me / I wanna make sure you're alright."

Listen to "Closer" through its powerful video below.


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