Talking Success With Tammy Cochran

By Charles White



What is success?  This is a question that many of us struggle with. We look at actors, athletes and musicians and think they are successful because they have a great deal of money, have been in several films or hold the "number one spot" on the charts.  For Country Music singer, Tammy Cochran, those things do not measure success. Instead, success is found in much simpler things:  family, friends and the chance to do something that she loves.

Tammy Cochran grew up in the rural town of Austinburg, Ohio. She and her family attended a local Lutheran Church in town, where she often sang in the choir.  At the age of eight, Tammy’s father introduced her to the world of country music and she quickly caught the music bug.


At the age of twelve, Tammy won first place in a local talent contest. She continued entering talent contests in the area and began joining different local bands.  When she graduated high school, Tammy was faced with the difficult choice of attending college or pursuing a career in music. With the full support of her parents, Tammy chose to pursue her dream of becoming a recording artist.


In 1991, Tammy and her parents moved to Nashville, Tennessee. It was a big change from her small Ohio town. Without friends or contacts in Nashville, the city seemed very overwhelming. Tammy spent her first seven years in Nashville eking out a living in music while working in fast food restaurants and department stores to supplement her income.


Although her move to Nashville was a huge challenge, this wasn’t the first time that Tammy Cochran faced incredible adversity. Both of her older brothers died of cystic fibrosis, a genetic lung disease, one at the age of 14 and the other at the age of 23.  The loss of her two older brothers affected Tammy tremendously. “When you loose someone that you really love you just want to die because you hurt so bad,” Tammy recounts.


However, through the support of her family and friends, Tammy was able to move through this difficult time. The death of her brothers taught her “not to take life for granted and to appreciate everyday that we have.” It was this insight that helped Tammy through the difficult times in her life, including her failed marriage.


Five years after arriving in Nashville, Tammy fell in love and married. Initially, Tammy thought she had met the man of her dreams.  However, this was not the fairytale relationship that Tammy had hoped for. Tammy soon found herself in an abusive marriage that caused her to shut out the people that she loved. “It really made me doubt myself and it made me not like myself very much because I started to believe the things that [my husband] was saying and slowly I turned inside and away from my friends and my family and locked everyone out of the pain”


One day, she looked in the mirror and did not like who she saw staring back at her. Tammy found herself staring at the person that alienated the people that had stood by her through the death of her brothers and her decision to pursue her musical dreams. Although it was a painful decision, Tammy realized she could not continue to be in this abusive relationship. Consequently, she divorced her husband in 1998.


From this painful time in her life, Tammy learned another valuable lesson. “It doesn’t matter how old you are, what color you are or what you look like, nobody deserves to be treated poorly. Make sure you demand respect from the person you’re in a relationship with.” “Don’t let what people think you should be dictate who you are.”


In 1998, she met Shane Decker, a writer for Warner-Chappell Music, at a Writer’s Night event in Nashville. He offered to help Tammy put together a demo tape. Although not hopeful of success after years of struggle in the music industry, Tammy eventually recorded the demo.  Soon after the recording session, she was offered a job as a lyricist for Warner-Chappell Music. However, Tammy never gave up her dream of being a singer. After attending several industry showcases, she eventually landed a recording contract with Sony Music.


With a contract in hand, a new CD on the shelves and a music video, it would seem that Tammy Cochran has found success. However according to her own definition, it seems she has always been successful. “It’s not all about money. If you have love in your life, you have happiness, you have your health and you have made a positive impression on one person, then you are a success.” “The one true gift that I’ve been given is that I get to sing.”






Check out Tammy's great self-titled album!

Click on this link for a RealAudio sound clip:

Angels in Waiting