by Driven Ambition
Cori, when you came onto the scene the judges including Missy Elliot saw something special in you. When you were picked as a finalist, what was going through your head?
Not only was I surprised and excited, I was a little nervous. I really had no idea what to expect except that we were going “on tour with Missy Elliott,” whatever that meant and I’d probably be singing and dancing at some point. Regardless, I couldn’t wait for whatever was going to happen.
Your bio said that you received classical voice training, not to mention your dance training. What made you go from being a dancer, and operatic trained vocalist to Rock?
I did do opera when I was little for a few years and danced my whole life. I also loved musical theatre and did quite a bit of that as well. I came to do rock by sort of just falling in to it. All of that stuff actually gave me an incredible foundation to build from. It really isn’t so strange. Pat Benatar did the same thing. She was an opera singer as well before she did rock music. I would love to be able to follow in her footsteps.
Being that rock is your genre of choice, how did it feel to be at Electric Lady Studios, where the legendary Jimi Hendrix Recorded?
It really was surreal. There was just some inexplicable vibe that we all got just by being in there. It truly was incredible.
Who is your favorite Rock Star?
Steven Tyler. Not only do I love his music, but he is simply electrifying on stage.
How did you feel when you saw Busta-Rhymes at a party that was thrown for you and the other contestants?
It was pretty neat. He’s a huge guy. At least 6 foot five. We didn’t really get a chance to talk to him but he seems like a nice person and his music, I think is really great.
When you heard some of the other singers singing, did you feel intimidated?
I wouldn’t say intimidated is the right word. More like humbled and at the same time proud. I was humbled because everybody on the show really is extremely talented in their own way and it made me look twice at my own talents (like it would to any normal person). Proud because I thought of all that it took to get there and how many people I had beat out to be sitting in that spot at that moment.
The tour bus was horrible; we all thought so, what did you think?
I’d have to agree with you. It really was disgusting. We tried to clean it up as best as possible, but there really was not much we could do. I guess the bus started to grow on everyone after a while as did the smell (literally).
What was it like to perform in front of Dallas, Teena, and Mona?
Now I would say that was intimidating. They are such respected people in the music business and I really wanted to impress them more than anyone. I am just glad that I had the chance to do that and meet them. Not everybody gets an opportunity like that.
How did you feel when the judges critiqued you on your performance, and did you think they were accurate?
Honestly I think they were right on. I’m pretty realistic when it comes to my performances as I am my own worst critic. I know it wasn’t my best performance ever, but at the same time one must look at the circumstances under which I had to perform. If I had gotten the chance to do it again, I’m sure things might have gone differently, but I guess that is what happens as a performer, you only get one chance to do something. There are no do-overs. I take that as a great learning experience for me that I can definitely utilize in the future.
With the exception of only a few, the rest received tough critiques as well. Did you know that you were going to be in the bottom two?
I didn’t know before hand, but I thought that it would be a possibility. I knew that I hadn’t given the performance of a lifetime and that meant that I might possibly be brought up for elimination.
When you were in Missy’s tour bus, she asked you to sing a song and then said that the performance reminded her of Britney Spears. Missy isn’t pop or rock, she’s hip hop; do you think that her observation was correct, considering her style is not the style that you want to pursue?
No. I don’t think her observation was correct. I’m really nothing like Britney Spears. I don’t have any choreography, I really sing, and did you notice I have brown hair… not blonde? But seriously, no. You are right, hip-hop is not the style of music that I want to pursue, but that doesn’t make what I do “Britney”; it just makes me not hip-hop. In Missy’s defense, I wasn’t really (nor was anyone else) given much of a chance to really do what we do in a real performance situation, so really, she would have no reason to think otherwise. Regardless, what I do is rock and I’m sure if I wasn’t just singing one verse to one part of a song, with no music, she might have gotten it. So, in short, no, her observation was incorrect.
What was the scariest part of the show for you?
The scariest part of everything really was not knowing what the hell was going on ever. We really didn’t know what to wear or what to be prepared for at all. We had to be on our toes at all times ready to jump for whatever. That can be a little nerve racking.
After being around the other contestants, who did you think will win?
Well, I’ll tell you that it isn’t me (or Heather for that matter). Really, though, everyone is super talented and it really is anyone’s game at this point. I guess we’ll all just have to watch and see.
If you wanted to pursue rock, why did you enter this competition?
I kept asking that same question throughout the entire audition process and was continuously baffled how I kept making it to the next round. At the same time, I was always assured that this show was looking for the next “Super-Star” not necessarily the next “Hip-Hop Superstar.” And so I figured… “Hey, why not? What an incredible opportunity? They must want you for some reason, so you might as well.”
What’s next for you?
Right now I’m working on my album to come out sometime in February. I’m so excited. It’s turning out really great. After that I’ll be going on tour with my band and then just take everything from there.
What advice would you offer to other aspiring rock vocalists?
Really just to follow your dreams. Rock isn’t the easiest route to go and it really takes a lot of groundwork and perseverance, but it’s definitely all worth it. Even if you don’t make it big… its not about the destination… its about the journey. Have fun while you’re on it, or really, what’s the point?