TJ Cochran had dreams of moving to Nashville after graduating from Pepperell High School. He told all his friends that’s what he’d do. He was going to pursue a career in music.
“But life sort of gets in the way like it does,” he said. “I married my high school sweetheart and we had two kids so music took a back seat to them.”
But in the last couple weeks Cochran has been getting a small taste of what it must be like to be a famous musician. His song “Rome, Georgia” is taking off on social media with his video being viewed more than 60,000 times and being shared by thousands of people — and it all has to do with being proud of his hometown.
On Aug. 19, Cochran finished writing a song about Rome. He wanted people to know that although he couldn’t pursue a music career in Nashville, he wasn’t disappointed with staying in Rome. The song celebrates the city and surrounding areas, referencing many locations people would recognize.
“It talks about the beginning when me and my wife who was my girlfriend at the time would go across the line to the drive in movie in Centre, Alabama,” Cochran said.”
And as the song progresses, he references local football, the Lindale train, car shows at Burger King and even the Krispy Creme.
As soon as he finished writing the song, Cochran went live on Facebook performing the song in his kitchen. It took off.
“That first video was viewed more than 17,000 times,” he said. “I thought that was pretty cool. I started getting messages from people who are from Rome but moved away and they were saying the song made ‘em miss Rome and brought back great memories.”
So Cochran decided to record the song officially at The Industry in Griffin on Aug. 26. He released a 30-second clip of that recording on social media and it did even better than the kitchen performance.
“That one was like gas on the fire,” Cochran said. “The first video was shared over 550 times but then this one got more than 35,000 views.”
As the clip made its way around social media it became clear to Cochran that he needed to make an official video for the song.
That video was sponsored by a local company called Mudd Sauce and features Cochran playing his guitar and singing the song in various locations including Ridge Ferry Park. It features scenes of Broad Street, the rivers and even Cochran’s wife and his two little girls.
“The reason I shot most of it at Ridge Ferry Park is so you can see the stage in the background,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to play Rome River Jam so the stage is in the video cause one day I hope I get to play up on that stage during Rome River Jam.”
Since posting the official video, it’s taken off on social media with thousands of people viewing, sharing and commenting on it. Cochran has been inundated with messages and calls from people in and around Rome and beyond.
They want to buy his CD, they want him to perform at this venue or the other, and some just want to tell him how catchy the song is or how it reminds them of Rome.
“To be honest I’m starting to be overwhelmed,” he said. “One video has gotten more than 60,000 views. So many people are messaging me and my wife. It’s tough to keep up with everything. I need to find a way to get the CD to people. For the moment I’m just going to be selling it at any venue I play.”
The CD contains two songs, “Rome, Georgia” and “Be Found” which is a song about addiction.
Cochran recently switched jobs and says he has more time now to dedicate to his music. He’s hoping to play at local and area venues.
His next show in Rome is at Troy’s BBQ on Sept. 28 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. And he hopes more local venues might take an interest in him but he knows that many other local musicians are trying to book shows locally.
“Listen, I know there are a bunch of other musicians who are calling these venues trying to play there so I know it’s not easy to get a gig somewhere,” he said. “I’m just a country boy who likes to play music and I’m very humbled by how much attention this song is getting. I really didn’t think it would take off like it did but I feel very blessed that it did.”
To hear TJ Cochran’s “Rome, Georgia,” watch the official video on Youtube. His music is also available on iTunes and Spotify.