Article from The Athen News my hometown newspaper.
Up-and-coming country singer-songwriter Eric Atkinson gave performances April 6 and 7 as a part of Manic Moms, an event hosted by the Ohio Valley Summer Theater to entertain the families celebrating Ohio University’s Moms Weekend.
Atkinson, who grew up in the Athens area and still lives in The Plains, sang about his experiences losing his father, getting to know America behind the wheel of an 18-wheel truck, and surviving heartbreak.
He’s making a play to become a country recording artist and songwriter in Nashville, performing at the Hard Rock Café in Nashville twice in the past several months, among other gigs. He’s in the process of recording a debut album in Nashville, with the first single, “Country Love Song,” due out later this year.
Atkinson said he’s been working hard to pitch his songs to country stars such as Keith Urban, Jake Owen and Luke Combs.
“I feel more comfortable writing about my own experiences,” he explained at the second night of Manic Moms April 7. He is a self-taught musician who began playing music when his brother encouraged him to invest in a guitar, rather than alcohol or other substances.
Aktinson said he used music as a way to tell his story and heal from past experiences, and in finding his voice, he transformed his art into a professional outlet. He moved to Nashville to play rock music and learn about the music industry, though he ultimately returned to Ohio to reconnect with his country roots.
“My mother came out to see me (when he played in Athens Moms Weekend),” Atkinson said from the stage. Her presence made his performance especially meaningful, as several of his songs related directly to his childhood. He said this was the first time his mom had seen him perform on stage.
Atkinson said he’s returning to Athens to perform at the Athens County Fair, Aug. 3-11, at the County Fairgrounds. He’s also booked for the Indian Mound Festival in The Plains next fall.
Asked what advice he would give to amateur musicians, Atkinson replied, “You got to build your home base, and get your numbers up. Then a label will look at you.”
He added that his girlfriend, Rachael Churchheus-Young, has offered him valuable support in organizing and promoting his performances.