Cooper Claire is the moniker and musical calling card for multi-instrumentalist, producer, and songwriter David Cooper Claire.
David has worked extensively as a drummer and sideman in both Michigan and Texas, recording and performing with members of Billy Joel, Foreigner, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, M83, Eminem, Candlebox, and The Polyphonic Spree. Dave has also composed musical segments for the Billboard Music Awards and American Music Awards on ABC (including programming electronic drums, sequencing and designing MIDI loops, and composing synth basses).
Dave produces, composes, performs, and engineers music from his home studio, heretofore lovingly known as Clairified Sound, where he records drums and other instruments remotely for various artists. Dave loves literally every genre of music, and tries to be all at once: emotional, dynamic, precise, and musically significant -- or at least that's the highest mountain that he's constantly trying to climb.
a more long-winded, intimate introduction...
I was born in 1988, and raised in a small Michigan tourist town on the shores of Lake Michigan. My first conscious musical memory was the popular music recordings of my parents, specifically: The B-52s' “Cosmic Thing," The Beach Boys' “Greatest Hits," Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous," and the absolutely magical sounds contained therein. I grew up singing in Catholic school and church, before beginning piano lessons at age six. I wasn’t necessarily interested in my studies, but I couldn’t quit (as my Mom required that I call my teacher to tell her myself that I was done — I just couldn’t do it). I forayed briefly into guitar, upright bass, and trombone before settling onto percussion in elementary school. By the time that I was in junior high, I knew that I wanted to be a professional musician.
Throughout high school, I studied drums privately, attended summer workshops at Berklee College of Music and The University of North Texas, while receiving further instruction from faculty at The University of Miami, Indiana University, and Western Michigan University. During this time, I also played drums in a metal / hardcore band that toured local shows around Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. I graduated in 2007, third in class rank. I then left for Denton, Texas, enrolling as a music major within the division of Jazz Studies at the University of North Texas, where I studied under Ed Soph, and was a four year recipient of the UNT Board of Regents Scholarship. During my fourth semester, I decided that music school was no longer right for me, changing academic outlets to pursue a Bachelor of Arts with specific foci in ethnomusicology, English literature, and business. During this time, I continued to perform with UNT jazz forum groups, as well as the UNT Men’s Chorus, before graduating early in 2010, summa cum laude.
While playing professionally in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, I recorded with producers Jeff Jacobs (member of Foreigner and Billy Joel) and Andrew Tinker (The Polyphonic Spree), in addition to performing with Erskine Hawkins (Eminem), Kaela Sinclair (M83), Siren Sea, Nick Knirk & The Nighthawks, Junior Clark, The Jam Wows, Flesh 4 Fantasy 1980s, Texas Country artists: Todd Mankin, Derek Larson, and Paul Nunn, various metroplex churches, and the independent movie soundtrack "Blissful Lies." In Michigan, I also performed with Edgar Struble (musical director/composer, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Ray Charles, Leon Russell), Pete Peterkin (America’s Got Talent finalist), Terry Lower, and Monty Aidem.
I moved back to Michigan in 2012. During this time, I began writing a singer-songwriter album, an idea to be birthed under the moniker of Cooper Claire, known simply as “The Weird West.” I also worked as a craft beer bartender to save up the necessary funds to purchase my own professional home recording studio.
Unfortunately, during this time, the onset of psychosis, of which I was wholly unaware, began to further grip and eventually envelope my entire existence. I was diagnosed initially as a paranoid schizophrenic in 2014, which was quite the long train running after a couple of very troubling years. Upon being medicated for this condition, I found that I could no longer perform within the capacities required of a true professional musician, which resulted in my quitting playing the drums altogether.
I moved to Pittsburgh in 2014, where I continued recording The Weird West from the confines of my apartment. I again returned to Michigan in 2015, after a brief stay in Brooklyn, whereupon I began pursing an Associates Degree in the field of accounting at West Shore Community College, as a performing arts scholarship recipient. During this second stay at home, I was able to adjust psychotropic medications, pursue more rigorous forms of therapy, and begin a gradually progressive return into the world of music performance. I finished my accounting degree in 2017, during the last semester of which I was fortunate enough to program electronic drums and sequenced MIDI loops, as well as some of the contributed bass lines, for the 2017 Billboard Music Awards on ABC -- a musical highlight of my life thus far. I have also since returned to live performing, most notably after being featured as a guest artist with the West Shore Community College Percussion Ensemble.
Currently, I constitute one-third membership of the West Michigan trio Rare Møöns, whose self-titled EP I produced and engineered, in addition to co-writing and performing. I am currently working on further programming for the American Music Awards of 2017 on ABC in November, and I moved to Denver, Colorado in November of 2017.