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Playing guitar and piano, Johnny Coppin’s music is essentially British, always melodic and evocative, and includes traditional material among the original songs. He’s recorded his fourth Christmas album and is touring it over the festive season, playing St Lawrence Church, Biddulph, 14 Dec.

Tell us a bit about your sound and your influences.
I am a singer-songwriter who plays both guitar and piano – obviously not at the same time. My songs are strong and melodic, and I am influenced by music and poetry from Britain, Ireland and North America – from artists such as Richard Thompson, Paul Brady and Tim Buckley.

How have you evolved as a musician over the years?
In the beginning, I was a co-founder of the folk band Decameron, co-writing the songs, sharing the lead vocal role and playing guitar. Throughout my solo career I have since added songs both written and played on the piano. I have also developed other interesting projects, such as working with writer and poet Laurie Lee, releasing several Christmas albums, touring a Christmas show every year and writing music for theatre.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
I’m currently releasing my fourth Christmas album and touring the country with the All on a Winter’s Night show. Then it’s back to songwriting and planning the next album.

How do you stand out from the crowd in a saturated industry?
I try to write and sing songs with strong tunes and meaningful lyrics that appeal to lots of people.

What’s on your rider?
Cups of tea as well as still mineral water, and fruit juice.

Tell us about your worst live show.
Once, at an open-air set I played with my band, the opening song had a dramatic keyboard beginning with low lighting that gradually built until the song proper. At the very moment when all the band came in, the surge in power caused both the PA and lights to cut out! All rather embarrassing… followed by a long pause until we could start all over again.

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