Country star Anita Cochran returns home for a concert in the south of Lyon

Growing up in the south of Lyon, Anita Cochran’s dream was to one day sing at the Grand Ole Opry.

That dream came true long ago, with the country music star reveling in multiple appearances on country music’s biggest stage in Nashville.

But after traveling all over the world, Cochran still has one place she wants to play: her hometown.

“I’ve never done a show in the south of Lyon, ever,” she said. “How Did I Never Play a Show in My Hometown?”

That will change this month when Anita Cochran performs from 7-8:30 p.m. on August 26 at McHattie Park as part of a grand finale of South Lyon’s 2022 Summer Concert Series.

“It’s a big problem for the south of Lyon,” said city manager Paul Zelenak. “She’s a girl from her hometown… We’re expecting hundreds of people for this concert.”

It will mark an extraordinary comeback for Cochran after beating cancer and a COVID pandemic tour hiatus after a career that took off more than 30 years ago.

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Cochran, 55, was born to Matthew and Sarah Cockerham, musicians of the Lakeland Gospel Singers who named their daughter after country singer Anita Carter.

At just 4 years old, she learned to play “Amazing Grace” and “Folsom Prison Blues” on rhythm guitar and later added bass guitar, banjo, mandolin, piano and drums to her instrumental skills. She also added her voice to the family choir and the school choir, fondly remembering the teachers from South Lyon, Mrs. Lyons and Mr. McPhale.

Throughout her childhood, Cochran dreamed of playing the Grand Ole Opry. She graduated in 1985 from South Lyon High School and attended Oakland Community College, taking recording and broadcasting classes to learn how to make records.

Anita Cochran, a country music star who has traveled the world, will perform for the first time in her hometown of Lyon Sud on August 26, 2022.

From there, she made her contribution by landing a job at Pearl Sound in Canton, working with artists such as Bob Seger, Anita Baker and Stevie Wonder.

Her big break came when Wendy Moten, who recently finished second on “The Voice,” needed a background vocalist on a record she was recording. Her manager requested a demo of Cochran’s music, and the president of Warner Brothers invited her to Nashville in the mid-’90s, where she has called home ever since.

Cochran has released four records since his Grand Ole Opry debut on May 17, 1997, one of the most important days of his life.

Anita Cochran performs at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.  On August 26, 2022, she came to her hometown of South Lyon to play for the first time at McHattie Park.

She remembers standing in a circle on that stage singing “I could love a man like that” and also “Daddy can you see me?”

Her dad saw her, and thousands of others since then, not only on the biggest stage in Nashville, the only one she gets worked up on, but on stages around the world. His biggest hit came in 1998, a duet with Steve Wariner, “Et si je disais”, which reached No. 1 on all radio stations for two consecutive weeks. Cochran wrote the song.

Four more of her songs can also be heard in the film “The Dukes of Hazzard: Hazzard in Hollywood”, in which she also played the role of Anita Blackwell, the girlfriend of Luke Duke, played by actor Tom Wopat .

“I played a struggling country artist, imagine that,” Cochran laughs. “The music business is always a struggle, but I was very happy and shocked at how quickly I got a record deal. Staying in the business full time for 25 years… I’m so lucky to be pursuing such a long career, making a living and not getting a real job.

To buckle the buckle

In recent years, however, she has had to overcome extreme and unexpected challenges – not only being out of work for a long time due to the pandemic, but beating cancer.

In 2017, Cochran was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, which kept her off the road for almost two years as she underwent surgeries and chemotherapy that made her so sick she almost killed his will to live.

The experience inspired Cochran to write the song “Fight Like a Girl”, which came to her while she was on a tractor mowing a pasture. The song also brought her back into the spotlight, with an invitation to perform on “Good Morning America,” as well as on the halftime show of an NFL Thursday Night Football game.

Anita Cochran performs during a 2018 Thursday Night NFL Football game between the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos in Phoenix.

Her battle with cancer also inspired her to start a charity, “The Love Anchors Fund”, which helps breast cancer patients.

Cochran is now approaching five years of remission and is beginning to tour again across the country, wherever she is called to go, and couldn’t be more excited to answer the call to come home and hope the performance on the 26th August at McHattie Park is “one giant big party.

“After going through what I’ve been through, I’m grateful for every day I have,” Cochran said. “I have been very blessed and lucky.”

Anita Cochran plays the Grand Ole Opry, a childhood dream she has repeatedly fulfilled.  On August 26, 2022, she came to the south of Lyon to play for the public in her hometown.

Contact reporter Susan Bromley at [email protected] or 517-281-2412. Follow her on Twitter @SusanBromley10.

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