Hitmaker JP Cooper has rediscovered his love of music after being forced down the wrong pop path.
The soulful star scored huge hits with September Song and Perfect Strangers a couple of years ago, which came as a surprise to him.
It also brought him massive pressure from music bigwigs, who wanted him to repeat that chart success.
The star has since notched up an incredible 10 million single units worldwide, a whopping 11 million monthly Spotify listeners and an extraordinary 3.3 billion total global streams, fuelled by his devoted 560k Spotify followers.
JP told me: “When I signed my record deal I think they thought I would be an album artist with a cult following.
“But then straight out of the gate I had these two huge, huge songs.
“All of the sudden you have that hit and the record label go, ‘Oh, well you can do that, we want more of that’.”
Now JP is back on track and doing what comes naturally again.
He has dialled the production back for a Live Acoustic EP, out now, recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London.
The Middleton-born star said: “The last few years have been so unexpected and so mad, I had this weird unexpected pop success.
“So to step back and ask, ‘What’s going on, who am I and where am I going?’ felt really good.
“The EP is a beautiful reminder as to why I am doing this and why I fell in love with music in the first place.”
JP has recorded with everyone from Craig David to Bugzy Malone over the years and finally feels comfortable combining a commercial sound with his pop instinct.
He continued: “I am trying to marry the two worlds together so there is medicine with the candy.
“I am feeding that soul, the content and subject matter that may appeal to a wider audience.”