JL Cotter: I Might Give Out But I’ll Never Give In

A lot of time people have goals but they do not have the know how to make them flourish. Jared Cotter’s goal was to work in the music business. Initially he began his entertainment career as an independent artist, then moved to television host on Fuse, and now currently songwriter of the number one song in the country “Down” by Jay Sean. Cotter may not have a roadmap with directions but the former American Idol contestant built a career by taking advantage of every opportunity that comes his way to reach his goals.

Singersroom: Take me back to Jared, pre American Idol. You were in college right?

Jared Cotter: Yea, I was In college. My father was always cool with me trying to be an artist but he was like you always need a plan B and I went to college. I knew I wanted to be in music somehow so I majored in music business. I was still trying to do the artist thing. I was waiting tables and doing every open mic I could.

Singersroom: Tell me about the most meaningful song you’ve ever written, not necessarily the most successful.

Jared Cotter: I think everybody has one. For me it was a song called, “I Might Give Out.” I wrote it after a meeting I had with an A&R that told me that he was definitely gonna sign me. He was like you know man, don’t even worry about it, your dreams are gonna come true. He started asking me random questions about what I wanted my style to look like and all this other stuff. I was really excited but, days went by and weeks went by and my manager couldn’t get a hold of him. You know… months went by, and I totally shut down. Then I heard this track and it was perfect for what I was trying to get out. Its called “I Might Give Out But I’ll Never Give In,” and it was about everything I ever went through and just that. I might give out but I might give up momentarily but ill never give in, I’ll keep it going and I’m glad I didn’t.

Singersroom: Tell me about your writing process. Is there any particular frame of mind or place you need to be in?

Jared Cotter: It kind of just comes when it comes. For me like the studio is my home, no matter where it is. I really love being in the studio. Definitely different studios have different vibes. I truly believe, you can hear the same track in one studio and write a totally different song in another. It really just depends. What I do though is I have a list of concepts. Maybe just one line things that I want to write about. When I hear something, I’ll look through that list and be like, ok that’s what this will do. That’s actually how I wrote “Down.” I had this line in my phone. “Even if the sky is falling down” and that’s how that came about.

Singersroom: Jay Sean…How did you two meet? You’ve contributed what is it, nine songs to his album?

Jared Cotter: I think we’re up to ten now. We co-wrote every song together. He’s an amazing writer as well. What happened was my manager, introduced me to this guy named Jeremy Scholar, who is one half of the orange factory who produces Jay Sean. He called me out of the blue and was like “hey man I go this kid coming over from the U.K. I don’t really know much, but I know he’s pretty big out there, he’s doing his thing. Why don’t you come to this session and see if you vibe.” I was like sure. The first session we did, we wrote two songs that made his U.K. album. We just developed this friendship. I consider him like a brother now. He’s one of my best friends. We just kept writing. Two songs turned to five, five to ten and ten to twenty. Every song we’ve written has been pretty good, thank God.

Singersroom: That’s great. Vibing with another creative person is difficult. It’s great that that worked out.

Jared Cotter: That is what was so amazing to both of us really. Because he’s been an artist for like six years and had a lot of success everywhere except America. He was like, man I’ve never had this kind of chemistry with anybody before. I’ve written with a bunch of people too, and was like, me neither. It’s just a blessing.

Singersroom: Lets talk about R&B as a whole. Some people call it glorified video game music now a days. What’s your take?

Jared Cotter: Well you know, I thought that R&B was at a good place until I heard Joe’s latest album. Then I was like “OOOOOHH”, this is what it’s supposed to sound like. I thought everything was cool and I’m a huge Joe fan. I actually just got a chance to work with him, which was like a dream come true. I listened to the album and I was like “OOOHH”, it’s supposed to make you feel something! (laughter) I think it’s trying to come back. I think Trey Songz is doing a good job. He’s got a lot of good records. Mario is trying you know. It’s just changed, the consumer is different. I wish it wasn’t like that but it’s coming back.

Singersroom: So who do you think represents the essence of R&B that isn’t getting the shine they deserve?

Jared Cotter: Tank is a beast. I know a lot of people know him but he needs more mainstream success. [The] same with Joe. I mean Joe’s been around and he’s sold a lot of records but that last album came out and nobody really knows. I was talking to my boy and I was like did you hear that new Joe album? He was like, a new Joe album came out? I was like yea!

Singersroom: Have you reached all the goals you’ve set out for yourself in regards to music?

Jared Cotter: I’m definitely getting there. I’ve achieved some goals that I didn’t know where goals. You know they say it’s not your plan its Gods plan. That’s so right to me you know, right now because I never thought I would d be a songwriter, writing for other artists with a number one hit on the radio. It’s something that I’ve thought about. It’s like ok cool. I host television shows as well on Fuse, I never thought about it but it presented itself so I did it. My goals change all the time and having a number one record is definitely one of them. I still have a lot more to go. I’m still trying to do the artist thing and that’s the next thing.

Singersroom: Do you prefer being in the forefront or the background of the music making process?

Jared Cotter: Being in the background has been really cool. I love it. The publishing deal with EMI is amazing. I’m really happy about where I’m at but my passion is to be an artist. You know. That’s what I really want to do. I’m gonna take another stab at it and see what happens.

Singersroom: Well a lot of artists get it the second time around so it might be your turn.

Jared Cotter: Try like five times but we’ll see. (laughter)

Singersroom: Let’s talk about American Idol, how that whole process came about.

Jared Cotter: The night before I auditioned for American idol, I swear to God I started to packed to move down to Florida to be like a banker or something. You know my parents moved down there two years before and I was in a basement apt struggling trying to make it. The next day there was an American Idol audition, my mother called me and she was like ‘Jared just go to this audition’ you never know, just go. I was so against American idol at first but I went and it was the greatest experience of my life. I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. It allowed people to see me. It lasted and it still lasts. People still recognize me from that. The day after I got voted off, I got a call from Fuse. It was like one door shut and another door open. I did that and I’ve just been trying to walk through these open doors since. —— By: Interview By Fritswa Baffour


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