With ‘The Voice’ Over, Julia Cooper Prepares to Record Songs

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Now that her stint on “The Voice” is over, Julia Cooper aims to continue the momentum it gave her.

The Poland, Ohio, native appeared on the NBC singing competition show last month, lasting a couple of rounds before bowing out. Now she’s cultivating her new – and national – fan base through social media and preparing to record new music.

“I’m constantly posting on Instagram and TikTok and hopefully will be releasing music in April or May,” she says. “Social media is how you promote yourself now. I’m trying to keep people watching me so my following can grow, and when I do produce content, they are there to listen to it.”

Since her final appearance on “The Voice” Nov. 30,  Cooper has been contacted by industry professionals who are interested in working with her. “They’re reaching out to see what fits in with what I want to do as an artist,” she says.

She hasn’t yet decided who she’ll work with and exactly what path she’ll take. While she mulls her future, Cooper is taking a month or two to spend time with her family in the Columbiana area and work on her craft. Early next year, she will return to Los Angeles to write and record some songs.

Cooper is a graduate of Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School in Midland, Pa., and was attending Middle Tennessee State University until March, when the pandemic forced the campus to shut down. It was also around that time that she learned she was accepted to be a contestant on “The Voice.”

Cooper’s impressive voice, coupled with her cool and distinctive delivery, made an immediate connection with the show’s judges. She was invited to join the teams of John Legend, Kelly Clarkson and Gwen Stefani after her audition-round performance, and chose Legend.

Being a contestant meant trips to Los Angeles, where she worked with Legend and other vocal coaches. As the dust slowly settles, she’s starting to reflect on her stint on “The Voice.’

“It still hasn’t sunk in yet and I’m not sure it ever will,” Cooper says. “The experience was once in a lifetime and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to pursue it when the opportunity was presented to me.”

While Cooper has been on many stages in her life as an actress and singer, the magnitude of “The Voice” was totally new and occasionally disquieting. 

“It’s always hard having so many people know so much about you,” she says. “But in the grand scheme, I’ve gained more than I lost.”

Cooper says she learned a lot working with Legend, who guided her through the process of arranging her music. But the biggest career benefit may have been the confidence boost that Legend and the show’s producers  gave her.

“I do not make songs that would be on the radio, and nor do I usually sing them,” she says. “They allowed me to arrange those songs. … And for the first time, I was fully praised for completely making something on my own. [Legend] says, ‘What you are is so cool,’ and the vocal coaches [say it], too. That’s the best thing you can hear as an artist, that what you are is good enough.”

While Cooper was allowed to be “authentically myself” on the show, which she says is a compliment, she realizes that it could have cost her votes from the public. Still, the approach is the right one for the long haul.

“If I was more cookie cutter, maybe I would have gone further,” she says. “But I showed people what they’re going to get from me.”

Cooper made music industry contacts during her stint on “The Voice” and has stayed in touch with Legend, who continues to advise her. 

While it was daunting to be on a national TV show where “everything is out of my control,” Cooper knows it comes with the territory. “It’s a little less now, but a lot still is out of my control,” she says.

The current season will end with Tuesday’s episode, in which the winner will be selected from the five finalists

Who does Cooper think will win?

“I can’t predict the winner,” she says. “When I do, I’m always wrong.”

She noted that the country artists usually fare well in voting by the public because of the genre’s popularity and the show’s strong middle-America viewership.

Pictured above: Julia Cooper of Poland, Ohio, listens to the judges after her initial appearance on “The Voice.” Image via Tyler Golden, NBC.

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