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Vanessa Maria

Vanessa Maria was born Vanessa Maria Cochran on October 4th 1963 in Parkersburg WV

She was a music teacher who loved teaching music to young children. She gave up a promising music career because she loved teaching so much. But at the same time promoted her music, her way on a small scale trying to avoid the spotlight of fame.

Vanessa lost her battle with cancer on October 12th 2014 just eight days after her 51st birthday. She had been battling cancer since she was 24.


Vanessa took piano lessons and dancing at a very young age and continued to do so till she finished high school. She graduated at Ravenswood High School, class of 1982. She then went on to college and graduated from Parkersburg Community Collage, May 1987.

She then applied for and became a music teacher at a Raleigh County, West Virginia elementary school.

Vanessa recorded her first album titled “I Walk By Faith” in 19-- at Harvest Studio, a Christian music recording studio located in Huntington WV

At that time, Vanessa did not know she had the cancer “ Hodgkin Lymphoma”. A cancer that originates from white blood cells called lymphocytes.

It was only months after the release of her album that she started noticing the symptoms of the cancer.

Vanessa underwent treatment for the cancer at “Riverside Methodist Hospital” located in Columbus Ohio. Her life would never be the same again. She completed her treatments and soon went into remission with no signs of the cancer present.

Vanessa soon got her life back together and concentrated on her music once again. A new album “Jesus Is The Key” was recorded in 1998. This album was a very special album with songs written by Vanessa, friends and family.

A friend of Vanessa's father, “Ed Dillion” wrote the songs, “He Went To The Cross Just For Me”, “Jesus Is The Key” and “Upon Mount Calvary”. He also wrote the lyrics to “The Dogwood Tree”. Vanessa's mother, “Eva Cochran” wrote “God Has A Whole Lot Of Love” and the melody to “The Dogwood Tree”. “James Porter”, Vanessa's band teacher from high school wrote “The Lords Prayer”. Vanessa always admired Mr. Porter and was very proud to have him write a song for her new album. The song “I'd Like To Be Living” was written by Ed Dillion and Randy Gilkey with Vanessa writing the melody.

Randy Gilkey, born September 16, 1976 is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and recording engineer from Oak Hill, WV. Randy lost his eyesight shortly after birth. Being blind never stopped Randy who began playing the piano at the age of two.

Vanessa's love for music and her faith in God always remand strong through her years of remission. She went through ups and downs getting sick on a regular basics because of her weak immune system. Her faith reflected in her music and her voice was was that of an “Angel”. She wrote the following: "I know that my savior is Jesus Christ and that he can heal and smooth the soul through music, I pray that he may use my voice to help those to have faith and believe" .

Her next album “Pure Magic” would be different this time, a country album. Her father loved country music. This album again featured music written by herself, family and friends. The song “Pure Magic” lyrics were written by a friend, “Randall Angus” and the music written by Vanessa. Mike Keele, a friend of Vanessa's sister, Mercatrena, who lives in Utah wrote the lyrics to “Man Of My Dreams”, “Rodeo To Rodeo”, “What Makes You Think” and “Way Up High”. Nathan Willamson a relative wrote the lyrics to “One Night”, “Love Makes The World Go Round”, “Stand By You”, “I Was Standing In The Shadows” and “Movin' Too Fast”. Vanessa wrote all music for them.

Her brother Derek wrote the music and lyrics to “Bounty Hunter” and “Cowboy”. He had written them for a male voice but she took them and made them her own. Derek quoted "I have always loved to hear her version of these songs."

The album was recorded in 1993 at “River Track Studio” at that time located in Louisa, KY. The cover of the album was created by Ed Connors of Ripley, WV which features a Pegasus that Vanessa painted.

Her next album would be a gospel album and this time she traveled to Nashville TN to seek the help of producer “Dick McVey”. After meeting with Dick McVey, he agreed to produce her next album “O That I Were An Angel”. Vanessa had the opportunity for a much bigger music career but had to decline because of her fears for loosing her health insurance, a gamble she simply did not want to take. In 1998, her album “O That I Were An Angel” was recorded at ABM Records in Nashville, TN.

Vanessa wrote the song “Stormy Weather” and I think her choice of music reflected what she was going through and how her faith still remained strong.

Vanessa then met with Riverside Film and TV Productions and a video of “O' That I Were An Angel” was filmed at Hawks Nest State Park in West Virginia. The video can be viewed at website.

In March of 1999, Vanessa was invited to attend the Thirtieth Annual Dove Awards in Nashville TN.

In 2004 Vanessa was nominated for “King Eagle Music Award” in the Trailblazer Category at Donelson, Tennessee.

Soon after the release of “O' That I Were An Angel” Vanessa went on her own personal tour performing at churches and events threw out West Virginia and the surrounding states. She performed at the Ripley West Virginia Fourth of July Celebration in 1995. A video of her performance at the Ripley Fourth of July Celebration can be seen at website.

Vanessa continued to recording her own albums in her own studio and many other albums were recorded and sold. Those albums were:

One Starry Night” A Christmas album featuring the song; “One Starry Night”, written by Randall Angus, a friend of the family. Other songs on that album are; “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”, “What Child is This”, Away In A Manger”, “Once In Royal David's City”, “The Little Drummer Boy”, “Ava Maria”, “O Holy Night” and “Joy To The World”.

Do You Love Me” The songs on this album are “Breath Of Heaven”, “He Came For Me”, “Do You Love Me”, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, “My Fathers Heart”, “Amazing Grace”, “He Is Exalted” and “I've Just Seen Jesus”.

Vanessa's music career was full of accomplishments that not many are aware of, she was one of the cast of the “Hill Cumorah Pageant” in 1992. The “Hill Cumriah Pageant” is an annual production of the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” staged at the foot of the Hill Cumorah located in Palmyra, New York. The pageant features 700 cast members and runs for seven nights in late July and attracts approximately 35,000 viewers annually.

Vanessa was working on a new album titled “Autumn Mist” but unfortunately she never had the opportunity to finish it. Her brother Derek took the recordings she did on cassette and remastered them to finish her last album “Autumn Mist”. The cover of the album feature's Vanessa's own art work, a self portrait of her playing the piano in a field.

One of the last songs recorded by Vanessa was a duet with hip hop artist “Big Rich Tha Don”. Richard, “Big Rich Tha Don” was a good friend of Vanessa's brother Derek. He contacted Derek about her doing a duet with him on a song that he had written. When Derek presented the ideal to Vanessa she was thrilled. So Derek set down and wrote Vanessa's lyrics and recorded Vanessa on a 4-track recorder. He then emailed the recordings to Richard who worked his magic and recorded the song “I Will Always”. The song was fantastic but Richard never really released it. The song was never released until the album Benefit for Vanessa Maria, “Fly” in October 2014.

The music on this album are: “I Will Always” Big Rich Tha Don and Vanessa Maria, “Candle on the Water” six year old Ashley Ferrell a cousin of Vanessa, “Sugar” by Aged Machine,(band leader Jeremy Camp, Vanessa's nephew), “Is There a Telephone up in Heaven” and “Time Machine” by good friend Keith Haynes, “Nashville” and “Long Walk Home” by Vanessa's brother Derek Cochran, “A Lot More To Me” and “Fly” by friends Rock of Ages.

Vanessa never married and was told she could never have children. That's way she loved teaching music so much to children. She always said they were her children.


Pure Magic

I Will Always

Oh That I Were An Angel

Hear It In The Music

Oh That I Were An Angel

Autumn Mist

One Night Stand

Get Back

Way Up High

Life After Death