Citizen Cope

Clarence Greenwood (stage name Citizen Cope) is an American songwriter and producer. His eclectic mix of blues, laid-back rock, soul, and folk has a large and profoundly dedicated following, built over the past decade of touring due to solid word of mouth.

Citizen Cope’s compositions have been recorded by artists as varied as Carlos Santana, Dido and Richie Havens. He currently records and produces for his own record label, Rainwater Recordings, which he founded in 2010 after electing to no longer work with major labels. He previously had been signed to Capitol, Arista, DreamWorks and RCA.

Born in Memphis, Clarence Greenwood spent parts of his childhood in Texas and Mississippi, ultimately ending up in Washington, DC where he was primarily raised. While living in Washington, DC, Cope began writing songs rooted in his own poetry on the guitar and the drum machine. He made his first demo recordings and performed at open mic events in the DC area. Cope moved to Brooklyn in the late 1990s, where he currently resides.

He was signed to Capitol Records in 1997. In 2000, Citizen Cope signed with DreamWorks and released a self-titled album in 2002. Rolling Stone wrote, “…Cope melds hip-hop with folk, soul and blues…and ‘feels’ this combination deeply….Cope’s uncommon chords and harmonies combine delicate dissonance with unexpected flashes of beauty…” And the Washington Post called him the “City’s most soulful export since Marvin Gaye.” The album’s song, “Let The Drummer Kick,” is certified gold. Shortly afterward, Arista Records pursued the songwriter, prompting Cope to buy his way out of his DreamWorks contract. In 2004 he released The Clarence Greenwood Recordings, which he also produced. Upon hearing it, Vibe magazine called it “flawless throughout,” noting that Cope “makes music that feeds your soul…this is one of those CDs you hear at a friend’s house and rush out to buy.” Every Waking Moment followed in 2006 (also self-produced), and debuted at #69 on the Billboard 200 top-selling albums chart. In 2010, Cope decided to found and run his own record label, Rainwater Recordings. The move allowed him to exert full creative control over his music and career, free from the marketing entreaties of the major record labels he previously had been signed to. He released The Rainwater LP that year, producing the entire album. The Rainwater LP was critically acclaimed and newfound fan Ellen DeGeneres invited him to perform “Healing Hands” in April 2010. “Let the Drummer Kick” off his 2002 album Citizen Cope has recently gone RIAA gold. Citizen Cope is currently working on a new album, to be released in 2012.

A critically acclaimed songwriter, Citizen Cope’s work has been recorded by a number of vastly different musical artists, a testament to the indefinable genre he has created. In 2002, Carlos Santana requested Cope’s song, “Sideways,” for his Shaman album. Cope sang on the track and produced it as well. Shaman has sold over 5 million copies worldwide. Sheryl Crow asked to record the song with Citizen Cope in 2010 for her 100 Miles From Memphis album, and invited him to join her in concert on several occasions to perform it, including in front of 27,000 fans at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago (June 26, 2010). At the same festival, Eric Clapton brought Cope onstage to perform “Hands of the Saints” together. Corey Taylor, frontman for alt-metal band Slipknot, has also recorded a version of the song. In 2008 he wrote and recorded “Burnin’ Love” with Dido for her Safe Trip Home album. That same year, folk legend Richie Havens released his version of Cope’s “Hurricane Waters” and Chicago-based hip-hop artist Rhymefest recorded “Bullet,” featuring Cope. Citizen Cope’s songs have been licensed to appear in numerous films, soundtracks and commercials. His work appears in a number of soundtracks to films including 2006’s Trust the Man (Julianne Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Billy Cudrup) and 2008’s Ghost Town (Ricky Gervais), 2006’s Accepted (Jonah Hill, Blake Lively), The Lincoln Lawyer (Matthew McConaughey), and Fracture (Anthony Hopkins). His “Bullet and a Target” appears in both 2006’s The Sentinel (Michael Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland) and Alpha Dog (Emile Hirsch). Cope’s songs have also been included in television shows Scrubs, multiple episodes of One Tree Hill, multiple episodes of Entourage, So You Think You Can Dance and on the soundtrack to the critically acclaimed television show Smallville. A new song, “One Lovely Day,” will appear in the upcoming film Battleship (Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgard), scheduled for release in May 2012.

Citizen Cope has toured incessantly throughout his career, building a dedicated following that returns to his concerts time and time again. He now headlines tours year-round in not just major markets in the US, but taking note to regularly perform in secondary markets where a great deal of his fan base resides. Cope performs an average of 100 concerts annually at clubs and major festivals alike. In 2002, he opened for Carlos Santana all across Europe. In 2010, he was invited to be apart of Eric Clapton’s U.S. Crossroads Festivals.