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BSC Student Finds Parallels Between Pursuit of Nursing Degree and Professional Singing Career

  • Created
    Tuesday, October 01 2013
  • Created by
    Jim Nelson/Media Relations - (304) 327-4103 jnelson@bluefieldstate.edu

cody wickline(Bluefield)—Pursuing seemingly different career goals at the same time can be pretty challenging, but Cody Wickline is enjoying the experience.  A 2012 Woodrow Wilson High School honors graduate, the 19-year old Beckley resident is in the Bluefield State College Associate Degree Nursing program, and he’s also finding the time and opportunity to test the waters and see how far his emerging talent as a singer/songwriter can take him.

Wickline, who earned a Promise Scholarship, enrolled in BSC’s ADN program at the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center.  Not long ago, he returned from Nashville, where he was invited to record three songs he composed and his producer is actively marketing the songs to major record labels.

When asked about finding time to handle the demands of his academic and professional entertainment careers, he cites ways the pursuits are complimentary.  “In both fields, you have to be sensitive to the situation,” he explained recently.  “In a patient care setting, you’ve got to understand what the patient is going through.  As a songwriter, you also have to understand what it feels like when someone is going through a tough time, and that’s the basis for a lot of my songs.”

“The nursing program at Bluefield State is tough, but it should be,” he continued, “because nursing is a challenging career and your studies have to develop your skills and understanding.  It requires a lot more study in high school.”

While he’s always been fascinated by the healthcare field, Wickline wasn’t always certain he had the skill to sing professionally.  “When I was in high school, we had a foreign language class project and my friend and I composed a song in Spanish,” he recalled.  “I sang that song in class, and it was a hit.  Before the day was over, I visited several classrooms at Woodrow Wilson to sing that song.  That’s when I discovered that other thought I had some ability as a singer.”

As a 16 year old, Wickline devoted his Christmas break to learning how to play the guitar.  “My dad encouraged me to try it, and I taught myself how,” he added.  “I began to record music videos and entered some competitions.”  His success included winning talent contests, first at the high school level, then during a local radio station’s “Texaco Country Showdown.”  That led to an invitation to sing at the station for about an hour, at least once a month, for several months.

In August 2012, a Nashville producer held a music business seminar in the Beckley area and Wickline attended.  “He said he had heard my name mentioned often during his time in Beckley, so I sang for him,” the 19-year old artist recounted.  “He invited me to Nashville and I recorded some of my songs at an amazing multimillion dollar studio.  There were musicians and singers who had backed up Waylon Jennings, Vince Gill, and Loretta Lynn who provided musical backup during our recording session.”  He has also performed twice before a live local and nationwide radio audience at the Wheeling Jamboree, the nation’s second largest live country radio show.  He is also performing with the Lilly Mountaineers, a nationally recognized bluegrass and country band. 

With a musical style that leans toward traditional country artists like George Jones and Waylon Jennings, Wickline is keeping his career options.  “I definitely want to earn a nursing degree.  I want an education, whether I get a recording label or not,” he added. “And, I also want to see how my music career plays out.  It’s a challenge, but it’s also pretty exciting.