Cooper Alan Moved to Nashville in 2018 to pursue his dreams to become a singer/songwriter in Music City. Less than two years after relocating, the world shut down like many others, he turned to TikTok to keep himself busy.
Instead of spending hours watching mindless videos, Cooper decided to put the platform to good use and began to use it as a way to connect with country music fans. After sharing country covers on the social media app, Cooper then released original music on TikTok and quickly became a social media sensation.
To date, he’s racked up 6.7 million TikTok followers and garnered over 63 million likes on the platform and amassed over 481,000 followers on Instagram.
In 2021, he signed to Cooped Up Records with industry icon Victoria Shaw at the reigns as CEO and he’s continuing his musical journey into 2022.
Now on the Cooped Up Tour and preparing to release new music later this year, Cooper Alan is proving there’s more to him than viral videos.
Check out our recent Q&A with the rising singer/songwriter below.
Growing up, was there a certain moment that it clicked and you knew you wanted to pursue music and at what point did you decide it was time to move to Nashville?
It was a Kid Rock concert…long story short, I knew that’s what I wanted to do, I wanted to make people feel like that. I wanted to perform; music was my thing. I’ve been playing pretty seriously since about eighth grade. I played all through high school and college. I wanted to go to college. I went to go UNC-Chapel Hill. I needed to kind of cut my teeth a little more, learn how to entertain, learn how to work the crowd, and I also wanted the college experience and get a basketball national championship under the belt – which we did. But, I always knew I wanted to be here so, soon as I graduated, the move was here.
So you moved to Nashville in 2018 and then after two years, everything shut down. What was like that for you?
It was wild but then ended up… I hate saying it, but it’s been the best thing to ever happen to me.
Obviosuly because of TikTok. It seems like you embrace that label, being an artist who uses TikTok. What are your thoughts on being labeled a TikTok artist?
Honestly, I think it’s kind of an honor. You know, people are always wary of kind of the new thing that disrupts or whatever when it starts, but I think over time, as people have continued to see hard ticket sales from TikTok artists, big streaming numbers that are organic from TikTok artists and real fans. Then you look at a guy like Walker Hayes that had the biggest country song of the year, by far, from TikTok, so I think the narrative is kind of changing.
I think that’s a great way to look at it. I don’t see it having a bad connotation at all. Have you ever thought about it like that?
No. Any way that you reach fans, I don’t think should ever be belittled. Any way that you build a fanbase is always really cool, no matter how you reach them, whatever platform you do it on.
Was there a certain video that you shared that you remember thinking, ‘I could be onto something here with TikTok?’
I’d had a couple viral cover videos where my mom handed me guitars, all this stuff, showing up at people’s doors. But it was really “New Normal” that was my first original song that kind of popped off on there and I was like, ‘oh shit.’ I mean, now we’re getting not only followers, but people are streaming songs before there’s a demand for that music there. So, that was a huge – probably the biggest turning point for me. Then the ticket sales stuff in the past seven months has been an even bigger turning point. So, it’s been really cool.
I saw all of your posts showing the sold-out rooms saying ‘TikTok can’t sell tickets…” That’s got to be pretty mind-boggling to see that many people showing up, right?
It is. Still, it never gets old. It’s still mind-boggling every time. And then when we started doing this, we were like, you know, if we do one hundred tickets in every market, that would be awesome. We considered it a success. And then we showed up in Louisville, Kentucky, and there are five hundred people in there. And then we went to Detroit and there are five hundred people in there. It was just bigger crowds than we ever thought. People knew the words to our songs – they were eager to see it. They were just there to have fun and, you know, see some of their favorite artists from the internet and that was so, so freaking surreal.
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I was driving down the road and heard someone blasting “Can’t Dance” recently. How does it feel to have people connecting with your music?
So cool. And you know, people using my songs at their weddings or like, you know, in videos about – it’s just to see the music connect with people, for them to want to blast it in their car or on their motorcycle driving down Broadway… it’s like, ‘holy shit that’s my song.’ So yeah, or you know, first dances, engagements, people recovering from surgeries – all this stuff, that’s what you do it for, you know?
You’re going on tour with Tigirlily. Love them! Can you talk about being on the road and how that tour came about?
It’s going to be awesome and they’re such badasses and the sweetest girls, and I love their harmonies, their songwriting – they’re great, great entertainers. Before their internet stuff took off, they would play down on Whiskey Row every Saturday and every time I had family in town, that’s exactly – we would go to Whiskey Row for four hours and party with Tigirlily. It’s going be really cool to have them on the road and – just like with Thomas [Mac] and Alexandra [Kay], doing road stuff with your friends is really cool. I’m really lucky.
Speaking of Alexandra Kay, how did the two of you meet?
We met through 615 House stuff. So, that’s why I met Thomas and Alexandra…that’s where I met Tiger Lily. And so that was the coolest part of all that is kind of finding your class of people and finding some of your best friends in town. And now, I talk to them every single day.
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What else do you have planned for 2022? New Music? More touring?
Yeah, a lot more music, a lot more touring. I think we’ve got seventy dates on the books this year and we haven’t booked the fall yet, so it’s going to be busy and fun. And then, you know, just keep giving my fans what they want in terms of the music and let them kind of help me through that process and decide what they want. As fo the music, I will probably release a project’s worth of songs. Just release, you know, as singles. That’s just how it works best for me – for some people, projects better, for me, it’s giving each song those couple of weeks to have their time and let me promote it. So, it’ll be a lot of new music just kind of spread out.