By Jeffrey B. Remz, November 2002
"Songs have a way of taking you back to certain times of my life," she says. "Sometimes I'll be listening and I'll just drift to a certain point in my life, and I realize it was the song that was doing that. I really think the best songs are the ones that evoke emotions or memories."
For Cochran, those emotions and memories are the product of growing up in tiny Austinburg, Ohio, a town of maybe 1,000 people in northeastern Ohio near Lake Erie.
Cochran stared singing at home and by the time she was a young teen was signing at the local dance hall performing country music. She went through a few bands before forming her own and singing hits of the mid-to-late 1980s period.
Cochran set her goals on a career in country and soon after graduating high school, she moved to Nashville.
In probably what is an unusual move, her parents moved with her. Her father worked as a heavy equipment operator, while her mother was an investigator.
Cochran was no overnight success. In fact, it took her eight years before she inked a deal with Sony. During the difficult time of her marriage, Cochran hit a club where a friend was playing. He wanted her to come on stage and sing. She agreed, even though she hadn't done so in awhile.
Hardly anyone was there, but one person there worked for a publishing company. Cochran agreed to return there the next night at his request, and he brought along Blake Chancey of Sony.
Chancey apparently liked what he heard because he recorded Cochran and later convinced Sony to sign her.
A few singles did not do much of anything, but "Angels in Waiting" did. It was a difficult song for Cochran because it refers to her two brothers, who both died of cystic fibrosis, a hereditary disease affecting the ability to digest foods and breath.
The song wasn't a huge hit, but it received much airplay and gave Cochran a toehold through publicity.
"I was actually surprised that everybody seemed to relate to it because to me it was so personal," says Cochran of the sad ballad.
In fact, before its release as a single, Cochran had lunch with her mother to ensure she was okay about its release.
"At first, I thought this is about me and my two bothers," says Cochran. "Who is going to relate to this? Then you realize everybody I come into contact with this relates to this song whether it's a grandmother, a brother, a sister or a friend. That's what took me by surprise."
As an added benefit, Cochran says the song helped generate much awareness about cystic fibrosis. "I just feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing by helping out the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation."
As for her parents, Cochran says, "they were totally thrilled because they know my brothers would have been thrilled with it and been proud. They were huge supporters of me and my singing."
Cochran says she didn't feel a lot of pressure with recording the second album. "The record company didn't really put pressure on me," she says. "If anything, I probably put a little bit of pressure on myself. You have your whole life to make your first album and a few months to make your second. I was still out touring, writing songs, supporting the first album, doing interviews when I was trying to work on the second album."
Due to the delay in picking songs, Cochran required nine months to finish the sophomore disc, a very long time. "I'm glad the time budget went over because I think we made a much better album that we would have," she says.
Cochran indicates she has adjusted to the ups and downs of a musical career. "When the first single came out ("If You Can" from the debut), I kind of drove myself (crazy) looking at the charts and looking at the numbers and all that stuff," says Cochran.
But the single did not do so well, delaying the release of the album.
'It just made me a nervous wreck," she says. "After that happened, I didn't even pay attention really. I just learned to accept whatever happens happens. I've got to know that I did my job and pick songs that I can be proud of, and everything else is out of my hands."