Eric Church’s Longtime Backup Singer Leaves Band

YouTube / Ashley Grimes

When you see Eric Church perform live, there’s a 99% chance you will watch him duet with his incredibly talented backup singer, Joanna Cotten.


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A post shared by Joanna ♚ Cotten (@joannacotten)

She previously had her own record deal as a solo artist and recorded over 20 songs before leaving the label in 2007. Then, Cotten hopped on board with Church and has been singing with him ever since. She is so well-loved by his fans that she has her own merchandise out on the road!


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A post shared by Joanna ♚ Cotten (@joannacotten)

Although Cotten is a classically trained vocalist (she attended Julliard), she has always been a country girl at heart. She was raised in Memphis, Tennessee and admitted that during a rehearsal when her voice teacher was telling her about a church hymn, she brought her now-signature country sass.

“[The teacher] said, ‘Well, you know, Jesus came down from heaven,’ to try to teach me the meaning of the song,” Cotten recalled. “And I said, ‘Yeah, and the devil went down to Georgia!’ I think at that point I was quite busted that my mom was letting me sing other things!”

She left Julliard and moved to Nashville to pursue her country music dreams. Not only can she sing, she’s a songwriter as well, but put that on hold when her touring schedule with Church got hectic. But when things slow down, she always enjoys writing again.

“Just being on the road and adjusting to that life — it sort of drained me of my creativity, because I would just be tired when I got home,” she said during the summer of 2019. “I’m hoping this break I can get back in there. And, here and there, I have done some things that people haven’t heard.”

At every live show, Church always performs a cover song that relates to the city they are in, forcing Cotten to sometimes learn a song the day of the performance! Despite that, she and Church always kill it. At the 2021 CMA Awards, the internet went ablaze with comments about how she just about stole the show.

In a surprising, yet no that shocking, announcement, Cotten revealed that she will no longer be singing with Eric Church. She made the announcement on her Instagram page.

“I want to let you all know that I will be taking some time off after the Gather Again tour to focus on writing some new songs and have a time of rest & recovery,” she wrote. “It was my intention to return, but God has other plans. I also want you all to know that your energy carried me through so many shows with Eric. What a run we had. I am so grateful for the stages I sang on with him & the people I met along the way.”


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A post shared by Joanna ♚ Cotten (@joannacotten)

Eric Church has yet to say anything on social media about Cotten’s departure, but we’re sure she will be missed on his stage!

Watch them perform together below.

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