Five Minutes, Five Questions Michael Cochren

Five Minutes, Five Questions  Michael Cochren

As musicians and music-lovers alike are itching for the chance to get their live music fix — but in a safe way — Awakening Events offers a solution a few other artists and tour producers are beginning to dip into: drive-in concerts. TobyMac, one of the biggest names in contemporary Christian music, sets out this summer not just for a single drive-in concert, but for an entire tour.

“A few Saturday nights every summer my family and I head to a local drive-in move theater. We always love it,” TobyMac enthuses. “When we started discussing live shows in this quarantine season and the idea of playing drive-ins came up … I said, ‘Let’s gooooo!’ It feels like summer, safe for everybody, and we all get to enjoy live music again. We ‘bout to make some memories.”

One of those tour stops will be at the Kenda Drive-In Theater in Marshall, in Searcy County, where singer/songwriter and worship leader Michael Cochren will open with his band Cochren & Co. As lead singer of the group, Cochren answered a few questions for The Free Weekly ahead of the show.

Q. Describe some of the adjustments you’ve had to make to bring a tour to a drive-in? What will the show look like compared to a typical outdoor venue concert?

A. The biggest adjustments made have been on the side of the concert promoter, I’m sure. This is really uncharted territory for those making the behind-the-scenes plans. But for myself, I’m just focused more on communicating my message through music in a fun way that acknowledges, “Hey, this is new to all of us, but we’re going to have a good time!”

Q. What was church like for you as a child? Was it the inspiration for the music or were they separate things?

A. I was raised in a very small church, and we sang hymns each Sunday. The room was full of harmony. It has definitely played an inspirational role in my own music, especially in wanting to write songs that rooms full of people can sing out to.

Q. What has quarantine brought to your music? How have you maintained creativity or inspiration? And has it resulted in any writing or new music?

A. I spent most of my quarantine time trying to hone my craft. The first week or so I was pretty lazy and kind of depressed, but then I had enough of sitting around and we started playing virtual concerts and writing a ton. I think I’ve come out of this season with at least 15 new songs written.

Q. Tell me about your two latest singles: “Who Can” and “One Day.” How long have you been working on them? “One Day” seems to speak directly to the moment we’re in. Was it written in response to the state of the world right now?

A. “Who Can” and “One Day” were actually written in back-to-back days in the early spring of 2019. I never could have imagined how relevant “One Day” could be to these specific times. We just wanted to write a song that lifted people’s eyes above the pain of this life and pointed them to the hope of heaven and the hope of healing in the presence of Jesus. And we all need that hope in these days. “Who Can” is all about the incredible love and care that Jesus has for us. He knows we are messy people, but he doesn’t run from our mess, he runs to it — in order to work in us for His glory.

Q. On top of the feelings of isolation many are feeling, most of us haven’t attended a social event, much less a concert, in a very long time. What are you hoping people take from the show?

A. I hope people leave feeling entertained. That’s definitely a major part of it. But more than that, I hope people take away a sense of unity with one another, that we can do this together, that we can get through this, because we have hope in Christ.



Drive-In Concert

With TobyMac

Featuring Cochren & Co.

WHEN — 7 p.m. July 9

WHERE — Kenda Drive-In Theater in Marshall

COST — $100/car (up to six people)


FYI — To accommodate social distancing, tickets will be sold by the carload, ensuring fans will be able to experience the concerts with those closest to them while also adhering to safety guidelines.

Categories: Music