Batesville woman looks to ‘greener side of life’

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published July 7, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated July 5, 2013 at 11:51 a.m.
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Debbie Cochran, a Batesville country singer and songwriter, is recording her fourth studio album. Cochran finds inspiration for songs from occurrences in her everyday life, along with memories of family members.

— Singer and songwriter Debbie Cochran, who grew up watching the Grand Ole Opry, said she always imagined herself singing on the legendary Nashville stage.

She grew up singing in church, and her family liked to sing gospel songs at home, she said.

“Every Sunday at our house was like a big gospel concert,” Cochran said.

Cochran was born in Anniston, Ala., then moved to Texas, then to Arkansas. She has lived in Batesville for 20 years now.

Cochran said she was shy as a child and would primarily sing to herself or her family.

“Every time I would sing, my family would say something about my voice, but I thought they were just being kind,” Cochran said.

She never let go of the dream to sing on a big stage, despite her timidity, she said.

She went on with her life and raised her children, but she always had the dream of a music career in the back of her mind, Cochran said.

“I felt like I kept being nudged to try out my dream that I had,” Cochran said.

Cochran thanks God’s timing for what happened next.

“God’s timing is always perfect. He opened this door for me, and Kent Wells’ studio was behind it,” Cochran said.

She came into contact with Wells, a producer in Franklin, Tenn., in October 2010, Cochran said. She then took a song she had written to the producer.

“When he heard the song, he asked me what I wanted him to do with it,” Cochran said. “I said, ‘It would be wonderful if Dolly [Parton] would record that.’”

Wells then gave Cochran a suggestion she said she’ll never forget.

“He said, ‘I don’t know why you don’t sing that,’” Cochran said. “I realized how powerful words are, and they can build you up or knock you down.”

At that point in her life, Cochran said, she wanted to live her dream through someone else, but Wells assured her of one thing: It’s never too late.

“The minute he said those words, a song came to me,” Cochran said.

After talking to Wells, Cochran wrote 10 songs in just two months for her first album.

In 2010, her song “Never Too Late” hit the radio, and Cochran was given the Discovery Award by Robert K. Oermann, a music journalist in Nashville.

“He gave me [the award] when he heard ‘Never Too Late’ on the radio,” Cochran said. “He liked the honesty in my writing.”

Shortly after receiving praise for her first album, Cochran began working on her sophomore album, The Greener Side of Life, released in 2012.

She found success with “Honky Tonk Yourself Right Out of Heaven,” a song from her second album.

“It made the top 100 lyric chart,” Cochran said. She got another good review from Oermann and came back to Wells to record her third album in the last part of 2012.

Before We Met The World, Cochran’s third album, was released in 2013.

Once she started going to the studio, the process of writing and recording songs hasn’t seemed to stop, Cochran said.

“The reason it’s gone so fast is that this is the right time, and I haven’t had any walls come up,” Cochran said. “I don’t waste any time when it comes to writing songs.”

She is currently in the process of recording her fourth album, Bigger Than Life, set to be released at the end of this year.

In her free time, Cochran and her husband operate the Simply Southern Playhouse Music Theater in Batesville.

Cochran said she is thankful for the journey that her music has taken her on, and she just wanted to fulfill her dream.

“I’m not saying that all dreams come true, but you’ll never know if you don’t try,” Cochran said.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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