Cooper:  Absolutely. There have been people in my life whose mission has been to make me feel like a loser, like everything I do is wrong and I'm never going to amount to anything. Not until I was 18 did I realize how passionately Jesus loves me, and that He loves me just the way I am. All of a sudden I felt better about myself. I'm not a hopeless case. I'm not a screw-up.

This song is an empowerment song. [It says] "You know what? I've got clarity on this, and you're the reason it's bad. It's not me."

CMC:  "One Day Too Late" and "Don't Wake Me" sound like the "One Tree Hill" anthems for every prom, graduation and homecoming of 2009-2010. Do you revisit drama-filled adolescent years for inspiration?

Cooper:  For most people, we graduate high school, we go to college and we still feel like we're in high school. [Laughs] You have kids and still feel like you're not that much older than high schoolers. The truth is, you are. The other sad truth is, the problems we go through in high school affect us for the rest of our lives. I'm still coming through what I dealt with in my childhood.

"Don't Wake Me" is very juvenile. It's very high school. Sometimes you unfortunately can't escape all those feelings.

"One Day Too Late" has a grown-up sentiment to it. I'm working so hard to do all the things I gotta do that I realize I don't do the things I wanna do. I don't get the time with my kids that I really want to have because I'm so focused on my work, on the bills, on the house payment. I just wish I could chill out and go hang with my wife and the people that I love.


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**This interview first published on September 24, 2009.