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‘Voice’ singer books local gigs

A television show gave Julia Cooper a nationwide “Voice.”

She now is ready to use that springboard to showcase her voice as a songwriter as well as a singer.

Cooper, who grew up in Poland, will play two shows next week at Birdfish Brewing Co. in Columbiana that will focus on her original songs, and she plans to return to Los Angeles in early February to start work on new material that she hopes will be released by spring.

But first comes a video and full audio version of Maggie Rogers’ “Alaska,” the performance that made three of four judges on the recently completed season of NBC’s “The Voice” spin their chairs in hopes of landing her for their team.

She only got to sing an abbreviated version on television. Friday’s release will be the full song.

“I’m excited to share that with everyone,” Cooper said. “I know a lot are looking forward to it.”

Cooper is looking forward to performing for a live audience again. She will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Jan. 14 at Birdfish, 140 E. Park Ave., with Anna Kathleen of Salem opening both shows at 7 p.m. The Jan. 14 date quickly sold out, leading to the second show being added.

“A lot of it will be fun older stuff, folk music I don’t write anymore but love to play,” she said. “I’ve moved on to a new repertoire that I’ve been working on the last six months to a year.”

She described her newer songs as “more improvisational, more R&B- and jazz-based than anything they heard from me on ‘The Voice.'”

Cooper, who was voted off of “The Voice” in November following a Four-Way Knockout Round, had nothing but good things to say about the experience, especially in building her confidence.

“When you’re in your room creating music and mom is telling you it’s great, that’s nice to know, mom, but you don’t really know if what you’re doing is good,” she said. “I got a lot of validation from the show. Who I am and what I am as an artist people really like.”

It also was educational. Cooper was studying commercial songwriting at Middle Tennessee State University outside Nashville when she decided to audition for “The Voice,” but the television show provided its own learning experience.

“I learned more about myself and the business, I gained so much in such a short amount of time,” she said. “I went to school for songwriting, but when you’re doing it, that’s when you learn the most, not in class.”

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