40 Stories for 40 Years: Eddie Coker

by Emily Roberts | Aug 06, 2018

Eddie Coker was an opera singer when Pepsi KidAround started in 1992. But he had written three children’s songs and pitched Pepsi KidAround organizer Paige Flink, then Director of Community Education for The Family Place, on being a part of the show.

“That first year was the shortest children’s concert ever,” Coker says. “But by the next year, I had come out with my first children’s album, and the rest is history.”

Coker credits Pepsi KidAround for sparking a change in his career at the same time it increased awareness of The Family Place. The signature event, held Labor Day weekend until 2005, brought musicians, puppeteers, storytellers and fun activities together to entertain families. So many of The Family Place’s supporters grew up with the event, bringing their small children, who are now college grads with fond memories of listening to Coker.

“It was so much fun to be given the opportunity,” Coker says. “I had no clue how to be a performer for children other than to be an idiot. I remember being there and singing my song “Becky,” kind of an ode to Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue” about an alligator named Becky. I got a dad up on stage to play the alligator, and everyone loved it. I realized people like to participate! Pepsi KidAround was an important part of learning my craft.”

Since those days, Coker, an award-winning singer, songwriter, and performer, has created the “Weird, Wild World of Eddie Coker” for Disney, recorded 100s of songs for children and their families, gained a huge following on SiriusXM Radio, and has entertained well over a 1,000,000 children nationwide as a live concert artist.

He also founded The Wezmore Project, which teaches children, teens, families and educators about emotional wholeness and emotional intelligence to help kids stop hurting. He’s sung to 60,000 kids in the last two years through the project that seeks to prevent self-harm and suicide.