By: Cailey Griffin
Music is one of the most powerful tools in the world. Music has the power to change hearts and minds. Music has the power to inspire and evoke emotions in people. The musicians who create and share music with the world are truly real-life superheroes. They’ve found a way to take one of the most powerful tools in the world, make it their own, and use it beautifully. Legendary and widely influential musician Sam Cooke was the perfect example of the true power in music. Cooke’s daughter Carla Cooke is stepping into her father’s shoes and bringing light to the world with her voice and music.
Carla Cooke shares her experience realizing music was a passion she wanted to pursue when she says, “I was a very young age when I realized music was a passion, but I didn’t pursue it then. Instead, I got married and started having a family. I have seven children that me and my husband raised. We’ve been married for 31 years. But you know, it came back up when I turned 50. I had the opportunity to go out and tour, and this would be my 1st tour. I was asked to go out on tour with the daughters of Legend, which included Rhonda Ross, who’s Diana Ross’s daughter. We toured for a few months and then we went out on our own and started doing are own thing.”
“Music has been such a big part of my life, always. Even though I wasn’t always touring, I’ve always been involved in singing in the church. I would give concerts every year growing up as a young adult to an adult.”
When asked about the nature of her personal vocal style Carla says, “Gospel, R&B, and a little jazz. It’s a mixture because I sing all different types of music. Although I sing my father’s music on tour, I also incorporate a little bit of myself as well. Some of my music and some music from other female artists that I love.”
Sam Cooke’s passion and immense talent for music has not only been passed down to Carla but also some of Carla’s children. Carla talks about some of her children’s interest in music and says, “You know I have a daughter and she does gospel. She lives right there in Chicago. She does christian music. She has a christian CD out. I have a son who dibbles and dabbles in singing. Two of my daughters go on tour with me. They sing background.”
Carla’s physical relationship with her father was not long lasting due to his death, when she was only 4 months old. However, Carla shares that she has been able to connect to her father through his music and says, “His music touches so many lives. Not only here in America, but around the world. It does the same for me, everytime I hear his voice or hear some of his music, I’m like wow. I get a new meaning from it because he was such a wonderful, talented, songwriter and singer.”
Carla shares that despite other’s opinion, she does not feel pressure to live up to her father’s legacy. When talking about the notion of having to live up to his legacy Carla says, “I can go out and do my own thing and just hope the audience appreciates it and loves what I do, so I don’t really feel any pressure. I think I have my own talent in my own right.”
Carla is currently on the Sam Cooke Experience Tour. A tour where Carla celebrates the life and music of her father by performing his classic hit songs. When talking about the tour Carla says, “It’s going well. There’s so many people who love my fathers music and they come out. After the show I take time to greet and meet people and they tell me so many different stories about how each of the songs affected them. Some even have met my father before or have been on tour with him. So I really enjoy that. I’m really having an amazing time.”
Carla gives information about the reaction she gets from fans on the tour and says, “People come up to me crying, telling me how much my father meant to them. They share how much his music means to them and how he’s touched their lives in general.”
Aside from performances on the tour, Carla is busy working on her new album. Carla talks about her new music and says, “I’m working on a new album right now. It’s a little bit of Jazz and R&B. I’m kind of trying to go back to the old R&B. All the music will be written by me.”
Fans can expect a lot of songs about love on Carla’s album. Carla talks about her passion for writing love music when she says, “my father wrote a lot of love songs and I think he passed that down to me. Cause that’s all I like to write about.”
Carla hopes that the album is released before the end of this year.