Citizen Cope

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Citizen Cope
Citizen Cope.jpg
Background information
Birth nameClarence Greenwood
Born (1968-05-20) May 20, 1968 (age 51)
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
OriginWashington, D.C., U.S.
GenresAlternative rock, soul
Occupation(s)Songwriter, producer
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active1991–present
LabelsDreamWorks, Arista, RCA
Associated acts

Clarence Greenwood (born May 20, 1968), also known by his stage name, Citizen Cope, is an American songwriter, producer and performer.[1] His music is commonly described as a mix of blues, soul, folk, and rock. Citizen Cope’s compositions have been recorded by artists as varied as Carlos Santana, Dido, Pharoahe Monch and Richie Havens. He currently records and produces for his own record label, Rainwater Recordings, which he founded in 2010 after deciding not to work with major labels any longer. He had previously been signed to Capitol, Arista, DreamWorks and RCA.[2] On March 1, 2019, he released his first album in six years, Heroin and Helicopters, on his own label, RainWater Recordings.[3] Billboard magazine called Heroin and Helicopters “Personal and poignant.”[4]

Early life[edit]

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, United States, Clarence Greenwood spent parts of his childhood in Texas and Mississippi, ultimately ending up in Washington, D.C. where he was primarily raised.

Recording career[edit]

Greenwood was initially the DJ for Washington, D.C.-based alternative hip-hop group Basehead. He was signed to Capitol Records in 1997.[5] 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." The Washington Post called him "the city's most soulful export since Marvin Gaye."[6]

Shortly afterwards, Arista Records pursued the songwriter, prompting Cope to buy him out of his DreamWorks contract. In 2004 he released The Clarence Greenwood Recordings, which he also produced. Every Waking Moment followed in 2006 (also self-produced), and debuted at #69 on the Billboard 200 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.[5] He released The Rainwater LP that year, producing the entire album. The Rainwater LP was critically acclaimed[by whom?] and newfound fan Ellen DeGeneres invited him to perform "Healing Hands" in April 2010.

"Let the Drummer Kick" from his 2002 album Citizen Cope went R.I.A.A. gold disc status. Citizen Cope released his latest album, One Lovely Day on July 17, 2012.[7]

In November of 2018, Citizen Cope announced his first album in six years, Heroin and Helicopters, arriving March 1st, 2019 on his own label RainWater Recordings.[3] He released his first single from the album, "Justice," on November 30th, 2018 to heavy acclaim. NPR said "Citizen Cope swings for the fences and scores on 'Justice.'"[8] On 1/17/19 he revealed another tune from Heroin and Helicopters album, The River[9]

Citizen Cope in Seattle, Washington, in 2008

Songwriting and producing[edit]

Citizen Cope's work has been recorded by a number of musicians. In 2002, Santana recorded Cope's song "Sideways" for their Shaman album. He performed "Sideways" in concert with Santana on Santana's 2003 European tour. Cope sang on and produced the track. 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 at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago on June 26, 2010. At the same festival, Eric Clapton brought Cope onstage to perform "Hands of the Saints" together. Corey Taylor also recorded a version of the song. Brett Dennen recorded a version of the song "Healing Hands" for The Voice Project Presents Home Recordings Volume 1 in 2012.

In 2008, he wrote and recorded "Burnin' Love" with Dido for her Safe Trip Home album. That same year, Richie Havens released his version of Cope's "Hurricane Waters" and the hip-hop artist Rhymefest recorded "Bullet," featuring Cope.

His work appeared in a number of soundtracks to films including Trust the Man, Ghost Town, Coach Carter (2005 film), Accepted, The Lincoln Lawyer, and Fracture. His song "Bullet and a Target" appeared in 2006's The Sentinel, Alpha Dog as well as in the television show, Cold Case. Cope's songs have also been included in television shows such as Scrubs, multiple episodes of One Tree Hill, multiple episodes of Entourage, So You Think You Can Dance and on the soundtrack to television show Smallville. "One Lovely Day" appeared in the film Battleship, released in May 2012.


Citizen Cope has toured throughout his career. He now headlines tours in arenas, clubs, and major festivals. In 2002, he opened for Carlos Santana across Europe. In 2010, he was invited to be a part of Eric Clapton's U.S. Crossroads Guitar Festivals. In 2011, he opened for the Dave Matthews Band at the Dave Matthews Band Caravan stop in New York City's Governors Island.

In 2005, Citizen Cope performed the song "Simple Twist of Fate" at The Blood on the Tracks Project,[10] a concert celebrating the 30th anniversary of Bob Dylan's album Blood On The Tracks. The sold-out event took place at New York City's Merkin Concert Hall and was broadcast live on WFUV Radio. Other musicians on the concert included Joan Osborne, Jesse Harris, Vernon Reid, Chocolate Genius, Inc., Toshi Reagon, Alex de Grassi, Ollabelle, Jeffrey Gaines, Brandon Ross, Richard Barone, Tony Visconti, Joel Harrison, and Buddy Cage.

Personal life[edit]

Clarence Greenwood currently lives in Los Angeles, California and Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York.[11][12] He has one child with singer/songwriter Alice Smith.[13][14]


Other contributions[edit]


  1. ^ "Citizen Cope". Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  2. ^ Greg Prato. "Citizen Cope - Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Citizen Cope Announces 1st Album In 7 Years, 'Heroin And Helicopters,' Out March 1st On Rainwater Recordings/Thirty Tigers". Music News Net. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Citizen Cope Shares 'The River' From 'Heroin and Helicopters': Premiere". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-03-01.
  5. ^ a b "Citizen Cope Biography". Artistdirect. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Citizen Cope". Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  7. ^ "New Single "One Lovely Day" Drop Tonight". Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  8. ^ "Citizen Cope Swings For The Fences And Scores On 'Justice'". Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Citizen Cope Reveals New Song; "The River"". Music News Net. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  10. ^ "The Blood On The Tracks Project". David Spelman. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  11. ^ Oksenhorn, Stewart (September 3, 2009). "Citizen Cope takes the long view of making an album". The Aspen Times. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  12. ^ "Citizen Cope Interview". Surfer Magazine.
  13. ^ "She-Alice Smith".

External links[edit]