James V. Cockerham

JAMES VINSON COCKERHAM is an Atlanta based African-American Composer, Songwriter, Arranger, Musician, Playwright, and Founder of CoPro Records, Inc. 

He grew up in Wilkesboro, NC, the fourth of six children; his mother was a domestic worker for three generations of judges, and the town’s newspaper publisher and his father worked for the Southern Railway.

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 and also learned to play the keyboard instruments by ear. 

James began his musical training in the third grade and by the seventh grade, he had directed his first choir.  

He attended Livingstone College and earned a BA degree in Sociology, although the majority of his time was spent in the music halls. 

Recording his first record single in 1970, he released a ‘45 entitled “Every Sign of Spring” recorded with “The Superbs” (college group) at Arthur Smith Studio in Charlotte, NC. 

His first album was recorded with The Rickard’s Chapel AME Zion Choir in 1970. 

In 1995 he created a music composition entitled, “New Meaning” which was licensed to the Toni Morrison Society. 

He received the Moondance International Film Festival Seahorse Award for Best Music for Film Score in 2013. 

His stage play works have been performed by treasured entertainment industry icons such as: 

Academy Award-nominated Ruby Dee Davis and Ossie Davis, Q. Parker of the R&B group “112,” Grammy-Award Winning Recording Artist PJ Morton, John  Patton of the movie, “The Color Purple,” Chantae Cann who recorded with “Snarky Puppy” and many others. 

His orchestral works include:  

“Soon I Will Be Done”, arranged for Thomas Anderson, Conductor and performed by the DeKalb Symphony Orchestra; Coloratura

Soprano, Arietha Lockhart, ASO Symphony Chorus also performed it with the DeKalb Symphony Orchestra. 

James featured on the Be Still and Know CD, Instrumental Jazz Trumpeter, Keyon Harrold; Coloratura Soprano Arietha Lockhart and Herman Pate with music capturing traditional orchestral arrangements of his favorite hymns as he quoted: “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.” 

In 2019 his arrangement of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was performed by The Gateways Music Festival Orchestra at Kodak Hall Eastman School of Music in New York. 

Spanning over four decades he has recorded (6) six albums, (4) four CDs, and written (4) four musical stage productions. 

In 2020 the highly anticipated release of his new album will capture James songwriting of social-conscious songs in a variety of genres and styles that will add to his diverse repertoire featuring some of the industry’s most desired recording artist performing his songs with titles such as: How Do You Hate in the Name of Love; Thank You for the Rain; Dirty Glasses; Love in My House; Memories of Yesterday; Looking Out; Enough is Enough and Let Them Go. 

With so many notable accomplishments; we can only anticipate continued music added to his catalog of work.