By Kayla Reeves
Baylor alumna Laura Cooksey is thriving in the world of Christian music with her debut album, “Unshakeable.”
Cooksey graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from Baylor in 2001. Since then, she has accompanied Christian artists like Nicole C. Mullen and Natalie Grant, been featured in a nightly show at Disney theme parks and led worship for Women of Faith conferences.
After her Baylor singing group, Sign of Jonah, parted ways, Cooksey moved to Franklin, Tenn., with her husband, 2003 Baylor graduate Kyle Cooksey.
Soon after, the producer of the Disney light show “Magic, Memories and You!” asked Cooksey to sing a demo for the show.
The producer ended up liking Cooksey’s demo so much that Disney kept her voice in the show permanently, making her name known to more of the music industry, she said.
Her first album, released in January, is a compilation of six songs, three of which Cooksey co-wrote. The album has a five-star rating on iTunes.
Her music is “worship-driven pop with some soulful influences,” Cooksey said, comparing it to the sound of Sara Bareilles or Natalie Grant.
“Some of it is not overtly Christian,” she said. “The last song on the EP, ‘Here We Go,’ is not obviously talking about Jesus, but it is Biblically based.”
Baylor School of Music played a big part in preparing her for this success, she said.
“Whether you’re singing pop music or classical music or operatic music, good singing is good singing,” Cooksey said. “They taught me a whole lot of technique, and those music theory classes that were not my favorite at the time came in handy later.”
Dr. Jean Boyd, professor of musicology at Baylor, taught Cooksey in a music history class.
“I do remember a bright and beautiful young woman who I felt had the drive and talent to go far in her profession, and apparently I was correct,” she said.
Boyd said it is not easy to study music.
“The course of study one takes to get a Bachelor of Music degree is rigorous and long,” she said. “Being a music major is for the very talented and those with the strength of body and soul to finish the degree. Laura was one of those people.”
Of all the things Cooksey has done, she says working with Women of Faith, a national Christian women’s organization, has been her favorite.
“Just to lead thousands of women in worship every weekend has been really, really special,” Cooksey said. “Other than that, I loved traveling with other artists to Third World countries or places where people don’t speak our language, but they still know the songs. It shows that music really is a universal language.”
Cooksey will be going on a nationwide tour with “American Idol” star Mandisa starting this month, and then will continue her work with Women of Faith in the spring and summer. Her goal is to get her music and her message out there, she said.
To anyone who dreams of being a successful musician, Cooksey said she both advises having faith in God’s plan and confidence in yourself.
“Bloom where you are planted,” Cooksey said. “Be faithful with wherever the Lord has placed you, whether it’s in Baylor Chapel or singing at Common Grounds. Whatever it is, do it with everything you have and people will take notice of it.”