Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Music journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie artists. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
Tall, tattooed, and sporting two cuts in one of her eyebrows, NYC based electro-soul artist Corina Corina seems to exudes confidence. This, however, hasn’t always been the case.
“My issues with self identity and sexuality are ongoing battles that I’ve been fighting for years,” she explains.
One such battle has stemmed from her bi-sexuality, which is something that, although she’s comfortable with, and very open about, now, she says, “I also feel like it needs to be talked about more. I think bi-sexual women are an underrepresented community, especially for people who don’t know any out bi-sexual women, and I’ve taken it upon myself, kind of, whatever platform I have, to use that, and make people think about things that they didn’t necessarily think about.”
Corina Corina comes by her want to stand for something honestly. The daughter of a belly dancer and a civil rights lawyer, the latter now a judge, she remembers her childhood in Berkeley, California, had a distinctly political bent to it. “I grew up going to a lot of protests,” she says.
During those years Corina Corina could be found on her dad’s shoulders at a rally, or in the back of a room filled with people eager to hear speeches, while she was eager to get to the next page in her coloring book. Corina Corina admits, “I don’t think I really greatly appreciated it all until I was older.”
Now more than two decades removed from those events, she says, “I think they definitely shaped a lot of my values, and my uncompromising way.” She adds that the way she grew up has led to her, “feeling comfortable being different.”
In 2006, after two years at Marymount College in LA, a year at Berkelee in Boston, MA, and a year at San Francisco State University, Corina Corina made the move to NYC. Ever since her first visit to the city, when she was a teenager, she says, “I was just like, this is where I belong.”
Not long after she settled into the city, Corina Corina found herself in the band Rare, and sang with them for four years. After the group petered out she started working on being a solo artist, and met NYC independent hip-hop stalwart iLLspokinn. She remembers, “Pretty much immediately after I started supporting him, and going to his shows, I met everybody (in that hip-hop scene) and I immersed myself in it almost right away.”
Her immersion resulted in her first solo feature, which came on Jesse Abraham’s collaboration with Homeboy Sandman, “Always and Forever,” on which Corina Corina sang the chorus. Soon afterward she began recording her first album, The Eargasm, with producer Willie Green.
The Eargasm features lyrical content that’s deeply personal for Corina Corina. Not only is she open about her sexuality, she takes a stand for all women with songs like “Wrong Direction,” which is about, “being a woman and the kind of pressure we’re under.” She notes when she performs it live, “I always say I’m dedicating it to the men, because women already know what our struggle is, and I find a lot of men really like that song and connect with it.”
The Eargasm was followed up by Come Again: The Eargasm Extended, which she feels shows her evolution, and “what direction I’m heading in as an artist.”
In addition to her solo work, Corina Corina is also one half of the blues duo Max Caddy, with her on vocals, and Jesse O’Neill on guitar. One could say this is a way of going back to her roots, as she’s named after the blues song “Corrina, Corrina,” which was first recorded by Bo Carter in 1928.
Corina Corina notes there are some significant differences between her solo work and her work with Max Caddy, and the blues project has opened up some unique doors for her. “We toured the South and we were booked with a lot of bluegrass groups, and fiddle players,” she explains, “and that sort of thing is completely outside the world that I’ve been a part of.”
While those tours have led to some new experiences for Corina Corina, it was during one her tours as a solo artist that she had an experience that led to her barely recognizing herself when she woke up in the morning. She was in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and she remembers, “I did a show with my tour partner Toussaint Morrison at this beautiful place called Hell’s Kitchen, and I somehow got completely black out drunk. The people there were just so awesome and kind. We were booked to do a house party show with Sketch Tha Cataclysm and Mo Niklz that night after our show, and I showed up not in any shape to perform. I kept trying to leave. Mo and Sketch, being the wonderful friends they are, had somebody paint my face to distract me from leaving. I woke up on a couch, next to Mo and Sketch, who were on the floor in sleeping bags, and I went to the bathroom and my entire face was painted like Frieda Kahlo.” She laughs, saying, “It was not one of my finer moments, but just waking up to that I was like aw yeah, tour life, tour life.”
Corina Corina will be back on the road again starting in September for a seven week national tour, after which she’ll be putting the finishing touches on her next album, which, like The Eargasm, is being produced by Willie Green.
Although she says her next effort will be “a little bit lighter, and more fun,” the one constant listeners can count on is that it will encourage people to embrace who they are, and it will let them know, “beauty comes in different shapes and forms.”
B-Listers are a select group of artists that were featured in my Artist Of The Week series that ran every Monday from April of '06 to April of '11. All of these artists have two things in common; extreme talent, and a flight path far too under the radar for my liking. They took on the title of B-Listers as they embraced being featured by me, Adam B. Check out the AOTW Archives for all the interviews.