SGNScoops recently talked with Erica Cookston, a rising star who beautifully sings Southern and Country Gospel. She delivers songs with a clear, high emotional soprano that touches the heart. This young lady hails from Hollywood, Alabama. She was recognized at Gospel Fest through the 2018 Crimson Music Award for Social Media Artist of the Year. Erica is an accomplished instrumentalist and vocalist, traveling and singing gospel music while in her first year of college.
Scoops: Why do you sing gospel music?
Erica Cookston: I sing Southern Gospel and Country Gospel music because it is what I grew up listening to. I was raised watching the Gaither Homecomings, listening to the Gaither Gospel Hour, and watching groups such as the Crabb Family on TV. I have always loved this kind of music. I do like other types as well, such as the Contemporary, and Praise and Worship, but my heart lies in the kind that I am doing. I do love other kinds of music as well, but I want to be able to reach others through gospel music like the ‘gospel greats’ that paved the way for little people like me to share ministry. I come from a very faith-based family, and we just love the Lord. Many people in my family, such as my dad, have been preachers.
Scoops: Tell us how you came to do compilations with Guy Penrod and Gerald Crabb? Who else would be on your bucket list to sing with? Do you always want to be a soloist?
EC: I was working with Alisa Asbury at Sweet Southern Entertainment and had met Gerald Crabb. They decided to do this project, and I was just lucky to have been able to be a part of it. It is a crazy thing to be on a project with someone that you have always looked up to! The Guy Penrod compilation came about the same way, although I have never had the opportunity to meet him. I think that my number one person on the bucket list to sing with is Karen Peck. She performed at GospelFest 2018, where I had the opportunity to be in the choir on stage with her to sing alongside her. She has been the biggest inspiration in my life, and I listen to her music more often than not. She has a lot to do with why I want to go the direction I am going. I love being a soloist, but I would love to have a group at some point as well. I think it would be a lot of fun.
Scoops: What are you studying at college? And why did you decide to step out now as an artist…why not wait until you are done college?
EC: I am a business major. I currently work in an office, B&B Reporting, as a pre-employment background researcher. I love the atmosphere of an office, and I think it is a good idea just to have a business degree at my disposal. I work 40 hours a week and am also currently taking 16 credit hours at school (so, 5 classes and a lab). I am usually gone every weekend singing. It is very difficult because of the busy schedule and little free time, but I absolutely love it and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I have been singing since I was four years old, and I started doing more things as I first hit the teenage years, with all of the traveling. I am doing it now, more so, because I do believe that the Lord has called me to do so. I don’t think that anyone is too young to try to step out to share their passion. Many people my age are told by our society that it isn’t okay to do so, but I hope that maybe I can set an example to prove that this isn’t the case. I never expected to be where I am today, and it is all very surreal to me. I do know that it was all a God thing, though. He gets all of the credit, and I just am his vessel to go wherever I am called.
Scoops: Why do you have a passion for non-profits (charities)?
EC: Right now I am not working with any organization in particular – I am doing everything independently. I have always had a heart to help others, so I think it is just another one of my passions. I try to be available for anything. I do head up a charity each year in my local area, Scottsboro, where I host a benefit concert to raise money for food distribution. I use these funds to purchase canned food items and meat certificates which go to those in need in Jackson County, providing them with a Christmas meal that they might not originally have. All of the food is purchased locally. I love to volunteer to help out for different causes as well and always stayed pretty busy doing these types of events in high school. I think it is important to show that there is still good in this world, and that sometimes people want to help without expecting anything in return.
Scoops: What has the Lord been speaking to you about specifically in recent days?
EC: Recently, the Lord has just been telling me to be patient and trust in him, and that everything is happening for a reason; things will fall into place. Also, that I don’t need to be scared to step out of my comfort zone because he is with me.
Thanks so much to Erica Cookston for answering our questions! In our eyes, you are already a star as you share God’s love in what you say, and it is evidenced by your actions in helping others. All the best in your future.
Listen to Erica on Reverb Nation HERE.
Read the latest issue of the SGNScoops Magazine HERE.