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Hit Country Songwriter Ross Copperman Will Return to His Pop Roots on New EP

Produced by Alex Mendoza, the EP, out on Photo Finish Records, features five songs written by Copperman with such collaborators as Ed Sheeran and Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid, as well as fellow top country songwriters like Shane McAnally and Ashley Gorley.

In the video clip premiering below, Copperman — who was signed to Phonogenic Records/RCA in the U.K. more than a decade ago — talks about how he “kill[ed] off” his pop artist side so people would take him seriously as a songwriter and producer. He then moved to Nashville and focused on becoming a behind-the-scenes heavy hitter.

Copperman shared with Billboard how he feels about peeling back the curtain on his pop career again.

You stopped your own pop career to write and produce for others. What is the most gratifying part of revisiting being an artist?

Honestly, my desire to be an artist never went away. It’s been really nice to open that door again and approach it with an entirely new perspective.

You wrote “Electricity”  and “Therapy” with Ed Sheeran and Johnny McDaid. Were they originally written for Ed and then you decided to keep them for yourself?

We wrote “Electricity” and “Therapy” on the same day, actually, and we weren’t necessarily writing with any particular focus in mind. After I lived with those songs for about a year I ended up working up my own versions and that was the moment I realized I had to release my own music again. I emailed Ed asking for his blessing and he was so kind and encouraging. His endorsement for me getting back in the artist seat was a huge part of this process.

How do you approach writing a song that you will record for yourself differently from one that you write for someone else?

I honestly don’t usually think about writing for myself vs. someone else. I just like to try and write the best song we can and land on whatever song is in the room that day. I usually go back after a few weeks and listen through songs to determine which ones could work for me.

The songs on the EP are overwhelmingly upbeat— songs about being in love or being cared for. When did you realize there was a theme to the songs?  

I think this was all part of finding my voice again as an artist. This EP is a very accurate representation of where I’m at in my life at the moment: raising kids and trying to be the best father and husband I can be. My wife is my rock and truth. She is in every song I write.

What’s the difference between writing a pop song and a country song?

When I write a pop song, it’s always about the melody first. We may spend the first three hours just defining and working on melodies and the last hour writing the lyrics. Country writing is usually the other way around. I love landing in the middle somewhere.

What do you look for in a co-writer?

I always get excited when someone can figure out a way to say something we’ve all heard a million times but in a completely new way. I also love when people push the boundaries melodically and sing melodies I would never think of.

Which of your many No. 1s is your favorite?

The last No. 1 is always my favorite, because it’s literally like winning the Super Bowl. So many things have to line up and go your way in order for a song to go No. 1.

What do you want people to learn about you from this EP that they haven’t learned from the songs you’ve had cut for others?

I’m excited for people to hear me sing the songs I love. It’s funny, but most people I write with in Nashville didn’t even know that I was an artist before this. I spent 10 years of my career trying to erase my artistry becauseI had this strange theory that nobody would take me seriously as a writer/producer if they also knew that I was an artist. I now know that I was wrong because the support from the Nashville community has been so overwhelming.

What are your goals for this EP? 

This EP is just the beginning for me. I want to consistently release great music. Ultimately, I would love to play the Ryman. I realize this is a crazy goal but I like setting crazy goals for myself. My artist career will definitely run parallel to my songwriting career. I’m not changing anything I’m doing as a writer/producer. I truly love that as well and it’s what has given me the opportunity to make my own music again.

Do you want other artists to cut these songs now that you’ve put your stamp on them?

I would absolutely love other artists to cut these songs. Keeping that door open has always been important to me because writing for others is what got me here and I’ll never turn my back on that.

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