On Saturday night, May 20th, Matthew Cooper stood alongside other eager finalists, awaiting to hear who would be named winner of the 2017 Sing NL competition. When Cooper’s name was called, he told The Compass it was an overwhelming feeling.
“Words can’t describe it,” he said. “Everyone who participated was so great, and it’s just an amazing feeling to hear your name called as the winner for something like that.”
Cooper, 19, is currently studying music at Memorial University, and would like to pursue a degree in performance and music, hoping to one day perform full time, or work as a professor, teaching other up-and-coming musicians.
Cooper has, in the past, participated in musical events such as the Kiwanis Music Festival, and has received multiple music awards in his life.
Sing NL was a music competition co-hosted by The Telegram and Zack Werner, former Canadian Idol judge and entertainment lawyer, where contestants performed in front of judges and live audiences, exhibiting their talents on-stage in a Canadion Idol-esque set of competitions.
This year was the first year for Sing NL, which will continue on to be an annual competition.
Open auditions for Sing NL were held on March 18th, with qualifying rounds all throughout the remainder of March and April. The semi-finals and finale were held on May 5th and 20th respectively.
Cooper says he’s been a singer for the majority of his life, having taken voice lessons at an early age, and maintaining his love of music and performance his entire life.
Social media has played a vital role in Cooper’s music career thus far as well, as he maintains a Facebook page for his music. There, he posts videos of himself singing. Cooper added that his mother, Sherrie Ann, often posts videos to her own Facebook, which garner a lot of attention after being shared by friends and family.
Although Cooper says his true passion lies in classical music, his love of music and performance began with the singer Adele, and her song Rolling in the Deep.
“I’m more of a classical singer myself, that’s what I love to do, it always has been,” explained Cooper. “But Adele is what really got me into singing, and she’s been a huge inspiration to me from the start.”
Cooper went on to explain that he does not let his love of classical music act as a barrier to his talents, and that he’ll often wander into the pop and country genres as well, which he says is much more popular among people these days compared to classical.
“As I’ve grown musically, so have my tastes,” explained Cooper. “I’ll always love Adele, but I also admire people like Andrea Bocelli and Jonas Kaufmann.”
Sing NL as a whole was more than just a competition to Cooper. He said that the experience was a chance for him to learn and improve on himself as not only a singer, but a performer as well.
“There are things I learned to do in that competition that I don’t really know if I’d have learned anywhere else,” said Cooper. “For the majority of my other performances, I’ve stood still, and sung. That’s the way it is, and in some cases, that’s the rule. Stand and deliver. But during Sing NL I learned to be more carefree with my movements, I got to really get a feel for the stage – I wasn’t stuck in one spot or one position, I could move and really make it a performance, and not just a song. That’s something I’ll always carry with me now.”
As a winner of Sing NL, Cooper will receive a multitude of prizes. These prizes include a two-song demo, professionally recorded by either David Fitzpatrick or Peter Daniel Newman, a music video produced by Up Sky Down Films, a professional photoshoot, a social media package, a month of private vocal training with Sing NL co-host Zack Werner, a consultation meeting with entertainment lawyer Greg Stephens, a media consultation with Caleigh Rykiss, several performances at places like The Rockhouse and Rocket Bakery, a representation agreement with Radioactive Talent from New York for publishing and representation in film, television and commercials, an EFK package, and an interview as well as a performance on NL NOW.
Nothing has been set in stone with regards to any of the prizes just yet, but Cooper said he is looking forward to what his win will bring him.
Cooper won in the adult category of the competition, while the youth category was won by Rachel Cousins of St. John’s.
Rodney Slade of Victoria placed third in the competition as well.