Although summer is nearly here, British singer-songwriter JP Cooper is still singing about the beginning of fall. And even if you’re ready for summer yourself, you’ll likely find it hard to not? sing along to Cooper’s hit “September Song,” a sweet love story told through a wavy melody and impassioned vocals.
Since releasing the track in the U.K. last September (fittingly), Cooper has seen the track garner more than 150 million streams on Spotify and reach the top 40 of the Adult Pop Songs chart. To add a new, more romantic twist to the love song, Cooper has recorded a full-band version — featuring a xylophone, piano and mini orchestra — in a stunning new video, which is premiering today (May 16) on Billboard.
Ahead of releasing the new version of “September Song,” Billboard caught up with Cooper to talk about the story behind, the song and to hear what he has in store now that he has a hit single on his resume. Take a look at the video and interview below.
How would you describe the meaning of “September Song”?
“September Song” in a nutshell is a nostalgic, innocent look at a teenage romance — probably one of your first romances. Looking back as an adult now at how simple things were back then, having those moments of, like, “I wonder what that person is doing now.”
In the U.K., September is when you go back to school after the holiday. So that’s the idea, this person has been missing this girl all summer — she’s a September song, that’s what he’s looking forward to. We just wanted to write a song that was really sweet and innocent, it wasn’t over sexualized or anything like that.
What do you think it was about the innocence to “September Song” that grabbed people’s attention?
It’s real straight-up. Showing that kind of male vulnerability — there’s not many male artists that say things in that way, and I think people just like to hear a bloke saying that. [Laughs.] There’s an element of that in a lot of my music — I try to call out the fact that men don’t speak about their feelings that much.
Do you think the stripped-down version gives “September Song” a new meaning?
Sometimes for radio, with the production, you sugarcoat it a little bit. There’s more of a bittersweet thing in this version, and it draws you to listen to the words more. It’s a really classically written song, there’s no whistles and bells. It’s really nice to just allow it to shine like that.
Have you learned anything from the success of “September Song” that you are using in your songwriting/creation process now?
I did this big collaboration with a dance artist called Jonas Blue [2016’s “Perfect Strangers”]. Through that, there was a bit of understanding that I had about writing very simple, very straight to the point songs. I think this is a journey I’ve been on for a while, because more and more I just want to make things very simple.
I think when I was younger and I used to write songs, I would try and be overly poetic. And some of it was beautiful, but there would only be a small group of people that would get it and appreciate it. Whereas, I think if you can say something that speaks to everybody in the best possible way, that everybody can look at it and it’s not overly smart. With songs like “September Song,” it just makes me realize even more how true that is.
How has the reaction to “September Song” made you feel about what’s to come in your career?
[“September Song” has] been like an invitation for people to come down this rabbit hole and find some more of my other music that’s maybe a little less commercial. I’ve found an audience that will hopefully stick with me and enjoy everything I put out — we’ll see.
I’m sitting on an incredible album, and I’m confident that I have many, many years of putting out music in front of me. There’s going to be certain songs that may not be huge hits, but as long as I’m saying what I want to say and they’re reaching the people who are with me and are staying with me, then I’m very happy.