A NO QUIT GUY!
When the man with the distinction of being the only featured songwriter on the Nashville Country Network roster for seven straight years, Charlie Ecker first set out to make his mark on the trail of life as a kid, getting going in the right direction was not so easy. Coming from a broken home, he was excessively shy. And his Mom and Dad wondered why were his grades so poor and energy level low?
What his parents found out was that Charlie had a high IQ but needed something to motivate him.
So he took three piano lessons but did not relate to the teacher much. Then he started to copy Chuck Berry on an old keyboard and taught himself to play! Got way past "three chords and the truth."
Fortunately, two other significant things happened about at the same time that helped set Charlie on the straight and narrow.
First, he had a seemingly natural ability to write, and found himself on his elementary school (mimeographed) newspaper. And then, at his mother’s urging, he joined the Cub Scouts working very slowly all the way up to the rank of Eagle Scout!
“Scouting first taught me the value of focus and determination. Took me about six years to go from Cub to Eagle. When my mother put the medal on my Explorer uniform, she said, “You’re a no quit guy and you will be an Eagle the rest of your life!”
Also, living early on in Upstate New York, and a little chubby at the time, Charlie tried out for his high school hockey team and made it as a third-string, little used, defenseman. "Still was happy to be on the squad."
A few years later, Charlie earned a college degree (split major in Journalism and Political Science at Rutgers) where he was named a Senior Editor at the "Anthologist," the university's literary magazine and, at the same time, to his immense delight, the Captain-elect of the Scarlet Knights hockey team.
Following four years in the Air Force as a military TV broadcaster including a one year 'live' stint, at 22, as 10 P.M. Country-wide News Anchor based in Seoul, Charlie left the service earning the Air Force Commendation Medal, the highest non-combat medal that branch of service affords, for a new programming service to the public.
With the tools he acquired in the military, he had finally overcome his shyness to become a well-recognized anchorman in his home area of Central New York (first Utica, then Syracuse) then on to Associated Press in New York as a broadcast news writer on the national desk.
And his dedication to his country has never waivered, returning to the Air Force during Operation Desert Storm as a Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs specialist and then for ten years in Team Coast Guard to patrol the waters off LAX and the El Segundo Chevron refinery as a CGAUX Flotilla Commander then as a Public Seamanship Instructor.
The information function was something that separately consumed over two decades of Charlie's professional life, both in business public affairs. It started in Manhattan with one of the world's largest firms, Ogilvy & Mather PR, on to Commercial Credit Corporation, Baltimore, and finally transferred to Marriott Hotels & Resorts headquarters in Washington before returning to O&M, this time in L.A., to head its Southern California PR Division.
One of his last assignments was to serve as GOP Communications Director to Rutgers classmate Bruce Brown in their concerted effort to try and unseat, in 2010, their Congresswoman, radical Maxine Waters, who continues to make raucus anti-American headlines to this day.
Like most of us, Charlie, who loves sailing, has faced many challenges, beginning with surviving storms first as a teenage Merchant Marine seaman off the east coast of Africa and more recently on what was supposed to an uneventful crew charter assignment from Cabo San Lucas to L.A. but turned out to be the Captain’s badly planned eight-day struggle in stormy Spring seas. “That, notes Charlie, " was 1,100 miles of mostly sheer terror.”
For most of his life, Charlie has credited his Lord and a little luck for getting him through some big challenges. In 2012, for example, he suffered a serious stroke which came within a millimeter, doctors said, of wiping out his ability to speak. Three years later, on his way to a Fourth of July party, another stroke, while not as vast as the first, hampered his ability to use his left hand.
But the biggest medical hit occurred in 2020, when Charle successfully underwent a tricky three-hour dual colectomy, meaning two doctors were working at the same time removing two distictly separate cancerous sections, one third of his large intestine in all. Eighteen months later, the installation of a pacemaker was needed.
At all times, his loving wife of 38 years, Linda (pictured above) was by his side and rushed him to the ER.
Charlie has forged forward, carefully crafting music projects, most both words and melodies, into a highly-regarded mix with the help of two solid producers: Michael Stanton in L.A. and Stacy Hogan in Nashville.
”My mentor when I joined what was The Los Angeles Songwriters Showcase in 1985 was Sam Brown, who ten years earlier took Michael Jackson under his wing as his songwriting coach. For me, I got off to a solid, and serious, start under Sam's tutelage.”
Since he began his music quest in earnest, Charlie has earned over 25 awards with the biggest of the bunch coming from the Los Angeles Music Awards - “Career Country Songwriter” award spanning the 25 years of this Hollywood-based nation-wide competition, a 'Legacy Award from the Akademia Music Society and "Christian Song of the Year" at the Hollywood Music Awards.
He concludes: “When all is said and done, my constants first developed as a kid – writing, a knack for words matched to melodies and focused determination, opened up a wonderful world for me. And it keeps getting better!”