Citizen Cope Shares Sweeping New Single “Close To You”

Article Contributed by Girlie Action Media | Published on Friday, May 12, 2023

Today, veteran singer-songwriter Citizen Cope, a.k.a Clarence Greenwood, announced his upcoming LP entitled The Victory March due out this summer via his label Rainwater Recordings. Alongside this announcement, he has shared a new single, the languid and airy “Close To You.” The song is classic Cope, with the singer showcasing his rootsy soul-inflected vocals over echoing acoustics and soaring horns. The song builds with high arching harmonies as Cope sings of the sacrifices he has made to form a strong relationship. The track came about from a scrapped film scoring commission, and allowed Cope to explore a new grandiosity: “I wanted to make it bigger,” he says, “so I brought an orchestra in on a couple of songs. I’ve never really been able to afford a whole session like that, I always just played those parts on keyboards. So it’s a life-long dream to be able to do that, and I’ve taken that approach to this whole record.”

The track comes as Cope’s classic 2004 record The Clarence Greenwood Recordings approaches platinum status despite never formally charting, a testament to its enduring popularity. He is also currently embarking on his All The Songs You Want To Hear acoustic tour, which sees him performing stripped down renditions of classics, fan favorites, and unreleased new material across the US. Tickets are on sale now here.

Listen: “Close To You"

Explaining the album’s title, Cope says he sees the record as one about finding connection amidst chaos: “I wanted to celebrate the gift of life and of knowledge,” says Cope. “You get on the road and you see how disconnected people are. There’s a lot of discontent out there—in most cases, rightfully so. People feel like they’re not a part of something. We’re just thrown into a pit against each other over commerce, more financial and economic differences than actual human differences, and we get confused… I felt like writing something positive, with more of a hopeful slant.”

Musically, this material—co-produced by Alex Elena (Alice Smith, Lily Allen)—adds more expansive arrangements, with horns and strings, to Cope’s signature blend of hip-hop-based beats with blues, soul, folk, and rock. Cope brought in some exceptional musicians to realize the material, including keyboardist James Poyser from the Roots, drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. (from Paul McCartney’s longtime band), John Ginty on organ, and studio percussion ace Bashiri Johnson. At a concise seven tracks, the record sees Cope at his most focused and refined.

Throughout his solo career, Cope's compositions have been recorded by artists such as Carlos Santana, Dido, Pharoahe Monch, and Richie Havens. "Let the Drummer Kick" from his 2002 album, Citizen Cope, went RIAA-Certified Gold. In 2004, he produced and released The Clarence Greenwood Recordings, followed by Every Waking Moment in 2006. In 2010, Cope founded his own record label, Rainwater Recordings, allowing him to exert full creative control. Free from the marketing entreaties of the major record labels, he released The Rainwater LP later that year. One Lovely Day followed in 2012. After taking a hiatus from his own record releases, Cope came back stronger than ever, releasing Heroin and Helicopters in 2019 and The Pull of Niagara Falls in 2021.

With The Victory March, Citizen Cope feels he has nothing left to prove. Twenty years in, he’s found that there’s really no choice other than to pursue his own sound and speak his own truth—which has proven to be about survival and hope rather than despair, a message the world desperately needs to hear.

Tour Dates:
May 12                        Glenside, PA @ Keswick Theatre
May 13                        Glenside, PA @ Keswick Theatre
May 14                        Fairfield, CT @ The Warehouse
May 16                        Albany, NY@ The Egg at Empire State Plaza
May 17                        South Deerfield, MA @ House Theater
May 18                        Boston, MA @ The Wilbur
May 19                        Portland, ME @ State Theatre
May 20                        Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Made
May 22                        Montreal, PQ @ Le Studio TD
May 23                        Toronto, ON @ TD Music Hall
May 24                        Cleveland, OH @ Music Box Supper Club
May 25                        Munhall, PA @ Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead
May 26                        Cincinnati, OH @ Ludlow Garage
May 27                        Louisville, KY @ Headliners Music Hall