Citizen Cope: "As Long as I Can Play for People and Touch People, It's a Beautiful Thing"

When describing the music of Citizen Cope, aka Clarence Greenwood, you may get stuck. Sure, you can talk about the mellowness, his smooth voice, and the catchy melodies, but it's hard to pinpoint exactly what he's doing. Spotify may "suggest" him to you, but after listening to what artist? The music is a creature unto itself.

Citizen Cope is celebrating the tenth anniversary of the release of the Clarence Greenwood Recordings by touring, well, pretty much everywhere. The man has six stops in California, a couple on the East Coast, and even a show in Mexico. Best of all, he plays at Revolution Live tonight.

We spoke to him this week about poetry and Brooklyn.

New Times: How does it feel to have the tenth anniversary of an album out?

Citizen Cope: It feels great, It was a special record for me. I wanted to play the album in its entirety so it's a special tour for me. I used to play it out of order. There are some songs I didn't play in a few years that I'll be playing on this tour, like "Night Becomes Day" and" Pablo Picasso."

Any new music in the works?

Yeah, I've been working on a couple new songs and I've been trying out some new things. I'll start recording in the wintertime. I'm not really sure if it'll be an EP or an album. I'm not really sure what my next move will be. I'm working, experimenting with different tempos, some drums machines as well. Before, it was live [instruments].

What do you like better playing acoustic or with the band?

I like both. I'm on a band tour right now. I haven't played with band in a year so it's good to get back and play some shows. We are all in a good place, it's kind of early in the tour.

Everyone is into making it a special event for people, so it's a good thing. But acoustic is more intimate, a more poetic type thing. As long as I can play for people and touch people, it's a beautiful thing.

Any other projects besides music that you're working on?

Well, I'm working on some poetry and trying to do some other creative things outside of touring like writing, screenwriting. There are some things in film and television that I would like to look forward to doing, but it's still in the beginning stages.

You were raised in DC and live in Brooklyn. Can you explain how those cities have influenced you and your music?

Brooklyn has changed a lot -- it's kind of more corporate. DC in the '90s was more urban. I met a lot of people who were really interesting, like subcultures. There is a major shift in the city from what it has been in the last 5 years. There is a kind of economic design going on. It's pushing a lot of interesting people out of the city. I've learned a lot from living in the city. It's prepared me a lot for the music business which can be difficult.

So you learned a lot of street smarts?

Yeah. My family was from the country, so there are those smarts and there are city smarts. I think if you have a chance to be in those places to develop the best aspects of where that intelligence or knowledge can take you.

What have you learned about touring you can pass on to others?

You really gotta love music and you gotta do touring even if you hate it because it gets really intense, just with anything you choose to do. If you like to play, it's a good aspect to get better. Anybody who wants to do music gotta put their love into it and enjoy themselves.

Citizen Cope, 8 pm, Friday, October 3, at Revolution Live, 100 SW 3rd Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Visit

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