Learning to create for me first.
A long while back I had the opportunity to meet this young lady who became a good friend over the years. She is true to her love of the piano and will even share a few vocals with you if you can catch her. Corelia's motivation to create and have longevity in the music industry has been one of her biggest goals and every day we can see her growth. Tune in to learn about this wonderful person and get a look into how she uses the sounds of her piano and voice to inspire to creativity!
Thank you so much for taking the time out to be featured! I know that we could certainly talk all day about music and the wonders that come with it, but today is centered around you! First question, how did you discover your talents/skills?
My mother and all the many times we shared being musical and creative.
I can definitely say I saw that coming. Your mom is an amazing musician in her own right and has been integral in the lives of many choral and piano students over the years. I imagine she was paramount for you as well. Could you share with the audience a significant moment that inspired your decision to pursue a creative career?
Elementary school was when I discovered I could play music by ear and my friends begged me to learn their favorite songs and other TV theme songs during our piano class! I felt special and unique so I kept going from there willingly to learn more about classical music for class and became more intrigued about becoming a better performer and overall musician!
At different stages of life, there will be people who propel and encourage you to do more and learn more just for the fun of it. Yours happen to be a few kids in class lol. What artists or creators have had the most influence on your work?
Too many to count haha! As a classically trained pianist, I’m inspired by the professors I studied with: Dr Adonis Gonzalez Matos, my college piano professor and mentor to this day, and my high school piano teacher, who’s also my godmother, Dr. Corine Free. But yeah, they both had me study the best of the best: Martha Argerich, Lang Lang, Daniel Barenboim, Yuja Wang, Khatia Buniatishvili, and Valentina Lisitsa. My mom put me on to Victor Borge because she’s also a pianist, and we both love comedy. We both admire how he is one of the few notable pianists to incorporate physical comedy into his performances, which I respect even more because it’s a whole other skill to be so vulnerable as a comedian. And to incorporate that into your classical repertoire, which in itself is made out to be so serious, it’s genius! One of my girlfriends at Bama State (Alabama State University) introduced me to Hazel Scott when her performance playing the Black and White pianos started going viral on Facebook. From 2014 or 2015 I’ve wanted to know everything about her and even made my tributes to her. Around 2015 or 2016 I had the pleasure of interviewing her only child, her son, Adam Clayton Powell III, over Zoom. Later in 2019, I met one of her grandsons in person, Adam Clayton Powell IV, when I lived in Boston! Another influence, of course, is the obvious Alicia Keys. Throughout grade school and my early adulthood people nicknamed me after her or made comparisons that at first, I used to run away from. Believe it or not, I started singing before I started playing the piano, I wasn’t nearly as confident of a singer as I am now. I have always been a stronger pianist and songwriter. But I’ve always admired her because before I ever knew who Hazel Scott was, I always had Alicia Keys as a modern inspiration who wore her cornrows sang, is a pianist, and writes songs and melodies that resonate with just about everybody!
In all the articles I've done so far, this response has been one of the most thorough of them. I say that because we can get to look into the people who taught you and are still teaching in Montgomery! We also get a chance to learn some names I'm sure many of us have never heard before. This is a tough one, how would you describe your creative style in three words?
I don’t believe I have one. My creative style is either writing/creating music that helps me heal from the trauma. I’ve experienced heartbreak, death, and even sexual abuse, and writing music that reflects what I’ve been through as I aspire to find joy and pay homage to the artist who inspired me. I take that inspiration from singers in various genres from gospel to rap to pop to country to Latin music, Motown, soul, blues, and jazz.
Considering all the things that I've heard you play, I'm not surprised by the response you gave. Stylistically you have a wide variety and that makes a huge difference in terms of expression. So walk me through your typical creative process from idea to completion.
My process is never consistent because I never create my songs just by sitting down and telling myself I’m gonna write a song today! I’m usually inspired in fragments. I’ll hear a melody of a song today that might be the first verse of a song later on. Then I’ll hear a catchy phrase that resonates with whatever I’m going through. That will become the focal point of the song later. And other times, I’ll make mistakes in my piano practice as I’m discovering the music, and those mistakes instead of throwing them away, I reshape them and turn them into songs that I’ve created.
Oh well said! Many of us do create in the same way and I like that you don't lay waste to ideas that you have. Reshaping them for other songs and ideas is pretty smart. How do you overcome creative blocks or challenges?
I don’t always finish everything on the same day. I’ve had to give myself grace to know that everything does not have to be done at once and you can take your time and be thorough in your work instead of trying to rush the process. If I just sit at a table and force myself to write, then the creativity is gone for me. It has to come naturally. The irony is that I understand in the music industry that I am aspiring to gain longevity in that there are time constraints with certain projects. I understand that I have to work under certain deadlines, but I never want to sacrifice my creativity to meet someone else’s deadlines if all they see me as is a product to make money off of. In a perfect world, I would take all the time I need to make sure the music is refined and will sort out like a slow-cooked meal. I cook often I’m pretty good actually ha! And I know the value of taking your time and not rushing the process. You don’t want to burn your food and you don’t want to burn your creativity! It’s a matter of QUALITY over quantity.
Speaking to the point on longevity in the music industry, do you have any routines that enhance your creativity?
I’m either at my piano, editing and mixing my previous songs and getting inspired from previous ideas, or thinking about old and new relationships. This fuels me to write about all my emotions.
Emotions are a major key in presenting good quality work. Especially seeing how you write about the things that are major points in your life. Here's my last official question for the time we have! Which project are you most proud of, and why?
I have too many to count! They’re all like my babies because each song I’ve written came from a place in my life where I needed healing. Since all of my songs have been used therapeutic way, they each are like a remedy to a feeling that needed a song for that specific moment in my life.
And there we have it! Thank you again for taking the time to be featured. With everything going on in life and just before the New Year starts, it is a pleasure to know this will be set and ready on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023! One final question for you and it's how can we stay in contact with you?
Hey there, Zeph Jones, with Think All Be All, and here's your look at our new featured articles! If you know someone, or even you for that matter, who would be honored to be a part of our journey feel free to recommend them on our website! We have an entire section dedicated to telling your stories and building community around creatives!
OHHH WAIT BEFORE YOU GO!!! We released a book called The Challenge in our store! It talks about overcoming challenges and taking the steps to start your journey! And of course, don't forget to share, comment, like, and subscribe to Think All Be All on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and here on our website to get our newsletter keeping you updated on all the cool stuff we want to do in the community with you!
***** BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! My course Intro To Creativity will be available on Jan. 4th, 2024! If you want to dive into learning more about creativity, overcoming obstacles, creating healthy habits, and having fun while doing it this is the class for you! For the Montgomery locals this class will be offered in person, so stay tuned and feel free to reach out for more details on how you can join in the live sessions.*****