DIY Artist of the Week: Ocala Musician Thad Kopec

Based in Ocala, Florida, IRC’s DIY Artist of the Week is musician, singer and songwriter Thad Kopec, who started writing and recording music when he was 19 years old. Now at the age of 20, he has written “more than 50 songs.”

With that and other songs he plans to record, Kopec is aiming to drop his DIY debut album this fall under the moniker ‘North,’ which is already on our anticipated albums of the fall of 2012 list. Since the ‘North’ alias will make it difficult to find him in web searches, we respectfully suggest adding something to that, like ‘North Kopec,’ or what have you. But, at the same time, one can see how the DIY ethos chime in to say, “well, yeah, but I don’t really want to be found.”

For a 20-year-old self-taught musician who only really started playing and recording a year ago, Kopec is off to an impressive start with his thoughtful, endearing and uplifting songs; he’s clearly an extremely talented artist, and the more we listen to his fairly large catalog of lo-fi tracks, the more convinced we are that he deserves to get more notice, and suspect that will happen when more people give him a fair shot – we’re always looking for totally DIY artists and bands that make some good shit.

In addition to writing and composing each of his songs, Kopec records all of the instruments and produces the final tracking himself. But Kopec does get help from others on occasion. “On this particular recording [“The Ghost and The Thief”], I’m playing everything but drums, which are played by my friend Curt Hensley. On all my demos on Soundcloud though, I do play everything, except for on the ‘White Christmas’ cover, on which Josh Gilligan plays bass and piano.”

“The Ghost and the Thief” – Thad Kopec, single

While there’s definitely influences like Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver in his songs – which he freely admits – Kopec is authentic and original at the same time. “Once I started to discover that I could write songs,” he said, “it was contagious.” Kopec recently recorded a video session with Oceana and Carousel.

His most recent song, the uplifting folk rock track, “The Ghost and The Thief,” is the newest example of his talents and abilities as a songwriter, singer and musician, especially for a young guy with no formal musical training. Clearly, Kopec has the early indicators of hundreds of musicians over the years who’ve started off with some self-recorded songs, and gone on to gain recognition for their work.

“Keeping Secrets”Thad Kopec

All things considered, the lyrical depth of his songwriting, the quality of his musical arrangements, his heartfelt vocal range, and the professionalism and maturity of his overall production put Kopec on our Artists to Watch list, without hesitation. We literally listened to every song he has up on Soundcloud page (approximately 50 tracks), and picked some of our favorites for this profile. It should be noted that some of our favorites were also among those which have been hearted, played or downloaded the most by others. But it’s apparent from the number of overall plays that Kopec has still not received the wide recognition he deserves.

When listening to his songs, the influence of artists like Iron & Wine, Fleet Foxes, Sufjan Stevens and Bon Iver is unmistakable, and you can tell that he has been steep deep in the music of those artists for enough time to have used those roots as a basis for his own style and sound. There is still work to be done on perfecting his existing skills, but again, given all the facts, it made sense to us to profile Kopec as a DIY Artist of the Week.

The next song, “Heart of Man,” is one of his most recent tracks. While listening to the song, it’s apparent that his music is evolving before our very ears. The song is a more complex arrangement compared to his earlier tracks, which again signals a growing sophistication, but also risk-taking. And so you know that you are getting something original and pure, rather than music that is being directed by producers and label executives.

thadkopecBest of all, the more that you listen to his already extensive DIY discography, the more likely you are to realize that Kopec’s music is coming from the heart, which just so happens to serve as nice segway to “Heart of Man.”

“Heart of Man”Thad Kopec

If you are wowed by Kopec’s songs, you’ll probably be even more enthralled once you listen to more of his music via his Soundcloud page.

It would not be a huge surprise if Kopec starts getting some phone calls from labels in the next couple of days or weeks. But at the same time, he might be better off remaining DIY. The final conclusion from our perspective is that more people have got to hear Thad Kopec. In the past, we’ve had our own DIY favorites, and sometimes they’ve gone on to bigger things, and other times they’ve built a smaller following, but few have gone unnoticed by others.

We’ll definitely do an update when more information is available regarding the planned DIY album release. It’s great to hear people’s feedback, so feel free to leave comments below (no signup required).

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