James V Cockerham is #Flyah Skip to main content

James V Cockerham is #Flyah


JAMES VINSON COCKERHAM
Atlanta African American composer, James Vinson Cockerham, grew up in Wilkesboro, NC. His mother was a domestic worker for three generations of judges and the towns newspaper publisher. His father worked for Southern Railway. He was fourth of six children.
Cockerham began his musical training in the third grade. His learning continued in the Lincoln Heights Elementary and High School Band and Chorus. James learned to play keyboard instruments. When he was young, his family could not afford piano lessons, so he borrowed music books from his cousins and taught himself to read them. He played by ear and directed his first choir when he was in the seventh grade. His oldest brother and sister moved to New York and they would bring jazz and gospel albums home when they visited. He was in middle school when he learned to play gospel and jazz. His older brother, Harry, allowed him to tag along as they played the Top 40, R&B, blues and jazz music from the 1960s and 1970s in clubs.
James attended Livingstone College and earned a BA degree in Sociology. He played for The Prayer Meeting Choir and for various performing groups on campus. He also played in rock & roll, pop, blues and rock bands while in high school and college. This involvement helped him develop an appreciation for many musical styles and genres.
His first single was recorded in 1970. Also, his first album was recorded with The Rickard’s Chapel AME Zion Choir in 1970. Cockerham, as a composer, playwright and recording artist, has recorded six albums, four CDs and written four musical stage productions. His works have been performed by Academy Award nominated Ruby Dee Davis, Ossie Davis, Q. Parker of the R&B group “112,” PJ Morton who is now part of the “Maroon Five Band,” John Patton of the movie, “The Color Purple,” Chantae Cann who recorded with “Snarky Puppy,” The DeKalb Symphony Orchestra and many others.
Instrumental jazz trumpeter, Keyon Harrold; Coloratura soprano, Arietha Lockhart; and Deacon Herman Pate are featured on Cockerham’s latest 2015 work, Be Still and Know, a CD with traditional orchestral arrangements of some of Cockerham’s favorite hymns. James says, “I love the hymns of the church. These melodies have been around for centuries and they are just as beautiful today as they were yesterday.”
James received a Master’s Certificate in Orchestration for Film and TV from Berklee College of Music in Boston at the young age of sixty-five. Most of his recordings are gospel music. However, after forty-five years in the music industry, he will soon release a series of single projects to broaden his audience. Some of the new song titles are: How Do You Hate in the Name of Love; Thank You for the Rain; Different Kinds; This is My House; and Memories of Yesterday.
There is more music to come from James V. Cockerham. Listen. 


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