In an over-saturated world of internet talent, South Carolina native Cooper Lightsey, or Lost Coop, makes original music that stays true to his values as an artist while experimenting with his style.
Lost Coop has been experimenting with different means of releasing his music for a few years. He started playing the guitar in high school when he realized his passion for music and has pursued it ever since, he said. Today, he attends Full Sail University in Florida as a second-year recording arts student.
Like many kids who grew up with the internet, access to the world of musical exploration and experimentation on modern platforms such as YouTube has played a part in Lost Coop's inspirations and career.
“Being a kid, you had everything in the palm of your hands. You could look up whatever you want, whenever you want," Lost Coop said. "I think that had a super important role of growing my love for music and my passion.”
Today, he said he prefers not to use apps such as TikTok or SoundCloud because of the stigma they have.
“I want to succeed long term and not just have a quick viral moment. I want people to truly understand where I'm coming from and not just be a quick trend," Lost Coop said.
He said he wants to avoid his music turning into the "one-hit-wonder" TikTok and other viral platforms can create. Instead, he uses his local fan base and social media tools, such as Instagram ads and Snapchat promotions, to market.
“[Social media] is kind of like a domino effect; more people like it, they'll tell more people, type of deal. As an artist, that's really all you can hope for. You can put $100,000 in advertising, but if your music is s—, you know, it's not going to do too well," Lost Coop said.
His song "beg & plead" was recently reviewed by writer Sam Morrison for Lyrical Lemonade, a multi-faceted company that handles some of the biggest names on the rap scene.
“Lost Coop took it upon himself to create some of the smoothest melodies and flows that you’ll ever hear. What I love about this offering is that it continues to get better as it goes on. The beginning is intriguing and by the middle of it, you’ll be completely hooked to the powerful ambience that is present,” Morrison wrote.
Lost Coop hasn’t started performing live yet, but he said it's a big goal. He said he can't wait to perform live and wants to perform his instrumental rap with a live band instead of recorded beats.
Within the many different categories in R&B culture, Lost Coop said artists such as Tyler, the Creator, Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar are some of his favorite artists and personal inspirations.
As a visual artist himself, Lost Coop said he incorporates a distinctive aesthetic to his album covers and entertainment appeal.
Beau Dosher, a childhood friend of Lost Coop and the owner of an online thrifting company, said Lost Coop has a '90s "skater-esque" style.
“He's definitely got more of a classic aesthetic," Dosher said. "Baggy jeans; polos ... really likes obscure T-shirts that say the most random s— on it that has no meaning."
Although he has inspirations, he doesn’t strive to create a specific genre, he said. Instead, he opts to create music he is interested in at that time. Throughout his music, he uses instrumentals and vocals in combination with typical hip-hop sounds, such as singing on hip-hop beats or soul blues instrumentals interlaced with R&B sound.
“Most people can't even play live instruments. [Lost Coop] can do both. He can be a studio rat, or he can just play an instrument,” Nick Pisasale, a good friend and a fellow musician, said. “When you're seeing somebody that can do live instrumentation and recorded sound, it's just like, you know he's doing something different from what most people are doing now — because everybody wants to be a rapper right now; everybody wants to be a producer right now; but not everybody's even musically capable.”
Lost Coop can be found on Instagram.