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Corry's Stories

Puerto Rico 

In early March my Aunt Lili told me that she and her friend from Puerto Rico were looking for a group of six volunteers to fly down to the island to help with the hurricane relief effort. Without needing any convincing, two weeks later my best friend, (producer/engineer of my upcoming album) Nate and I headed down to San Juan. While we were there, several friends came to meet up with us at various times during the trip. We worked with many different organizations such as Para La Naturaleza, Eye on the Rainforest, Corporación del Proyecto Enlace del Caño Martín Peña, The Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, and Fundacion Luis Muñoz Marín.

Most days were spent volunteering in the mornings/or afternoon and during the night time we explored different parts of the island, danced, cooked, and played music. Some of the volunteering activities were; cleaning out spaces that had been infected with mold since the hurricane, planting trees to help with the reforestation effort, and clearing debris from park trails. As we worked and met local families we heard countless stories about Puerto Rican’s struggle living under the rule of a disorganized government, mismanaged organizations (such as FEMA) and what daily difficulties exist for those still living without electricity six months after hurricane Maria. 

The incredible woman behind planning all of our volunteer work (and our temporary mother in Puerto Rico) was Dr. Yogani Govender. Yogani is the Dean at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico and a well known Ecologist in San Juan. We stayed in her home with her husband Danny, and son, Lucien.

Danny and Yogani by Isla De Vieques, before collecting water samples for Yogani's research on the incredible bioluminescent dinoflagellates in the bay

Nate making sure he gets enough sun with his sleeveless TMaddy (left) and Naomi (right) who stayed for the first half of our time there

Danny (Left) Colin (Middle) and Fiona (Right) joined us for the later part of our trip

Throughout our stay in Puerto Rico we learned a lot about what happened after the hurricane. However, it seems that the string of events are so complicated, and corporate motives so hidden, that the story changes depending on who you ask. For starters, Puerto Rico is difficult to reach with supplies due to its distance from the continental U.S, and limited space in San Juan's port. In addition, the electrical and water infrastructure were not well designed even before the storm. Somewhere between misdistribution of medicine, food and water, and several questionable multimillion dollar contracts, a devastated country emerged. Now over six months later, there are still thousands without power. 

Some quick facts:

  • Hundreds of thousands have left the island for places such as Florida, New Jersey, and New York 
  • It was 3 days after the hurricane before U.S ships arrived with water
  • FEMA's Food Contract called for 30 million meals for Puerto Ricans. 50,000 were delivered
  • The Jones Act (which prevents non U.S ships from providing aid) is still upheld

However, even though the country had been devastated, the land, homes and people were stunningly beautiful. 

Aside from learning a lot about the culture and politics of Puerto Rico, I also spent countless hours with Nate discussing our careers in music. Before leaving, I thought the trip would be a break from music...and in a way it was. It allowed us both to step back, share our thoughts, reevaluate our plans to achieve our various goals. We talked about habits, mission statements, work ethic, and countless other concepts that we smoothed out as days went by. Instead of a break from music, it turned into a great paradigm adjustment on how we imagined our musical paths. Now we speak at least once a day on the phone, and help each other navigate through our choices. 

The first of my original songs recorded in the Live from the Attic series, and one of the 5 songs off my EP in progress, Wandering Man


Stay tuned to hear about some of my latest thoughts on the album, music careers, and other travel ideas I'm kicking around. 


P.s thanks so much to Yogani Govender and Lili Loveday for making this all possible!


The Winter Hoot  

I’d like to continue working off last weeks topic about creating a sustainable career as a musician. I think that community is king, and everything comes back to connection. With the advent of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat we are able to connect with one another in ways that have been impossible for all of human history. Artists and entrepreneurs alike are foolish not to use the godly tools the internet provides. (I’m still jumping on the train myself) We used to sell newspapers on the side of city streets, calling out to passerby hoping someone would take interest. Now, we have targeted marketing which can reach specific audiences based on their income, gender, buying patterns, hobbies, location, etc. Through the use of hashtags, and other social media tools we can push our art, message, advertisement, or business ideas to specific groups of people all over the world. Of course, there are questions of morality in some of the methods regarding privacy, and that is a whole other conversation in itself.

Although I am very interested in social media as serious way to spread my music, I haven’t quite immersed myself in it enough to write about it in depth. For now, I want to talk about connection without internet tools

I was recently at a folk festival called the Winter Hoot. The Hoot takes place every February at the Ashokan Center in New York's Catskill Mountains on a beautiful old farm. The event is put together by Ruthy Ungar, and Mike Meranda of the incredible Folk/Americana band The Mammals, (with the help of many others, and a handful of volunteers). Musical acts play in various buildings on the property. Attendees can stay overnight with fellow music lovers, eat food from local vendors, swing dance, jam with other musicians, and walk through the hills and past the waterfall in the valley. Sounds like a dream, right?

Winter Hoot 2018

In this setting, fans are not just paying for music, they are paying for community. Once this is established, the music itself is lifted to a place of higher meaning. It becomes the social glue that brings people together. It seemed that everyone I met had either been there the year before, or were so happy they found it this year and couldn’t wait until the next. This shows some serious loyalty towards the festival.

Maybe we need to reimagine what the actual job title of an artist is. It used to be that (musical) artists must write, record, perform, sell and repeat. This is still true, but now there is even more to do. With modern recording technology and no monetary barriers to recording music, anyone can do it. Perhaps a career in music is more like a career in community outreach among fellow artists, business’s and listeners. Music must be a beacon for society, not only in connecting fans to the artist, but fans to each other as well! 

For my own career, I’m really interested in house concerts, and would like to begin planning a series of shows around the capital district where I play my music in your homes among good company and food. If anyone is interested, just shoot me a message!

This Ain't Gonna Work- Alain Clark

Thanks for giving your time, 



P.S If the Winter Hoot peaked your interest there is a Summer Hoot as well in August, hope to see ya there!

10,000 Hours 

So…I’m about a week late with the release of my biweekly newsletter/blog/YouTube video. I had the flu for a while and was unable to record another video so I decided to wait to release the blog post. Every time something goes wrong, I go back to the drawing board and learn that the solution is usually some form of better organization. From now on, I will always have the video finished two weeks ahead of time so that I can be ready for anything that comes up such as sickness, travel, etc.

I’ve begun booking shows for the summer gigging season. This process consists of cold calls, loads of emails, and visiting local business’s. I have an excel sheet that has over 150 restaurants, cafes, art galleries and bars listed. The sheet shows each booking agent/owner’s email address, phone number, pay (if I've played there before), and state of contact. Right now, my goal is to play as many shows as possible.

Everyone knows about Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hour theory, and whether or not it is exact, the principle of ungodly amounts of practice is undeniable. When we talk about big names such as the Beatles, Warren Buffet, or Michael Phelps, they all attribute their success to their study/practice time. By the time 1964 rolled around the Beatles had played live an estimated twelve hundred times. Warren Buffet spends 5 or 6 hours a day reading financial journals, and biographies of famous figures. Michael Phelps didn’t miss a workout for 5 years. 

Interesting read on society's "Outlier's" 
       and the 10,000 hour principle

Following their approach, I’ll continue to put large chucks of time into gigs, busking, open mics, and any type of performance that connects me to the music community. My goal is to put on the best possible live show, every time. Currently all the money I make is from playing covers, that is, other artist's music. Ultimately though, I am a songwriter and want my career to be centered around the performances of my own storytelling. So how do I eventually profit off of my own music? Even once an artist has a large following there are still huge barriers to monetary success in the industry. Some harsh facts... 

  • Streaming at the moment is not profitable. Artists average around $0.006 to $0.0084 cents per play from Spotify. Alternative streaming sources provide similar payout, and all other record sales such as CD’s or Vinyl are just as unsustainable at this point.
  • The majority of “millennial” consumers expect to listen for free. 
  • There is a massive over-saturation of music online 

We used to monetize the copy of music. “Copyright” was how the economy functioned. A physical record, tape, cd, or for a short while…digital copy. Now what is mostly monetized is the usage. I like Daniel Johansson’s comparison, he says that instead of going into a car dealership and buying a car, it is now like getting a car for free and paying for each usage. 

  • Fun Fact- At one point, Lady Gaga earned $167 for a million plays through Spotify 

So how do recording artists, and songwriters make a comfortable living in such an environment? First of all, we should stop complaining about it in a non-constructive way and make changes for our own careers. Gary Vaynerchuck (Vayner Media) says bluntly that “it’s not 1990 anymore” The industry cannot expect to make all of its money from selling records. Is a song worth less than a penny? Well, a song is worth whatever the market pays for it. For artists to feel upset about what they are paid per stream through Spotify is fine. But it’s up to us to figure out a new way to earn a living. It used to be that the best baseball players in America had to work in the summers to make a living, now the major league players can make millions…so what happened? The market changed, as it always does. 

I think one solution comes from someone I really like listening to, his name is Brian McTear. Here’s an awesome Ted talk (click here) where Brian speaks about where he thinks the music industry, and artists should set their gaze for more sustainable careers. Brian says that because music fans are not paying for music the way they used to, that we must do more than just connect to our fans (social media, large shows, recordings) we must connect them to each other as well. We must build a community. One incredible way to do this is house show tours. Some artists are booking shows set in fans homes. Imagine an artist showing up to your home for a live show in your living room. All you have to do is invite 20-25 of your friends, and perhaps everyone brings a potluck dish for dinner. The fans would gain an experience of a lifetime listening to the artist, and afterwards could sit down for a meal with them. In turn, the artist would connect on a much deeper level with the fans (isn’t connection the whole point?) If the artist was independent, they could book the tour themselves, with their own equipment and vehicle and drive across the country playing shows and keeping the ticket sales themselves. The ticket prices in fact could be much cheaper than what a venue would charge, perhaps $30-$40 per head would be fair for fans, while allowing the artist to make a decent paycheck. 

Imagine the marketing power (word of mouth) behind such a connection. Assuming the show goes smoothly, the artist has deepened the loyalty of their fans, and likely gained a few new ones, (fans always bring friends) Among the new and old listeners, there is probably at least one person would be interested in hosting the show at THEIR house, the next time around. When we compare this model to the stadium concert model we realize that artists often only meet the backstage crew, and a few other industry hands, but rarely does the connection happen with fans, the most important of all the relationships. 

I'm just starting to really dig in, and I think the next post will dive in a little deeper to all of this, but for's the latest video =)

Don't Know Why (Norah Jones)

Skating on the lake has been great lately 

P.S I'll be traveling to Puerto Rico for about 2 weeks at the end of February for some volunteering, and fun with some friends 😜


Catch you on the other side, 


Measurable Goals 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve made lists. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with juggling, and after school I'd practice for hours. Every. Single. Day. I taught myself various patterns and tricks, and made lists of those I had mastered, and those that I had yet to learn. Before I began juggling I collected orchids. I would list all the plants I owned, their soil type, light requirement, etc. I did the same with soccer tricks and drills, then traveling adventures, and now, music. However, at this point, I have graduated from the basic list format and am more interested in macro organization (calendar, and plan oriented). Instead of to do lists, I'm beginning to learn how to plan out weeks, and get the things I need done in order of importance each day.

Toilet paper was the hardest 😂

I love learning about how people use their time. Some interesting people to read about regarding time management are; Warren Buffett, Benjamin Franklin, and Elon Musk. Often the books I recommend most highly to friends are books about individuals who use their time, personality, and outlook to better their lives. The Good Among the Great by Donald Van De Mark is an awesome read about how ultra-successful people in their fields often share the same personal characteristics. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a great one for general to advanced time management. 

Some of the basic foundations of my happiness are music, nature, exercise, human connection (with friends, loved ones, or strangers), and adventure. I don't need every one of these elements each day, but I'm learning how to balance them so that I feel more content with how I use my time.

Cool abandoned house I found skiing in the nearby state park

For me, most "good days" consist of working hard on something meaningful to me. This I have no doubt about. Although recently I’ve realized that often I am missing measurable goals. Earlier this week I met with a friend of mine, Arthur, who is a regular at the coffee shop I work at. He is about 50 years my senior and wisdom seems to float off his tongue with every thought he brings forward. He told me to pretend that he was a prospective business partner interested in my startup company (my music career). He said “give me the numbers!” and my reply was “which numbers”? What Arthur was looking for was a list of goals that I would like to reach and the numbers associated with growth in those areas to prove to him I was serious about my business. Here are a few questions I'm now working towards answering after meeting with Arthur. 

  1. How many folks show up to my gigs on average now, and how many would I like to have in 6 months? 
  2. How can I go about increasing the number of subscribers to the newsletter and how many will I have in 3 months? 
  3. What is my step by step plan for letting music magazines, online arts organizations, local papers etc, know about the album once it is finished? 
  4. How will I continually increase my likes/follows/fans on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, and what are my target numbers?

I've always known that I'd like a continually growing online presence, and for more and more people to come out to shows. All artists want these things. But I'm not sure how often real measurable goals are established with plans to back them up. That's my new goal. 

I always imagined that once I was touring and booking loads of shows THEN I could think about marketing, and networking. But now that seems so backwards to me. I should be connecting and growing a community of listeners as much as possible while I am starting out as a post grad, solo act fresh in the local performing scene. This way once I do become more established, I have a core support group already interested. 

So...I guess I'm starting to REALLY realize that I need to function as a business, I am the musician, content creator, marketer, writer, and all the other jobs involved in creating a brand. Along with putting in a full day of work, just as if I was "going to the office" I also must fill all the jobs required in the current state of the music industry. 

Here's a video about how I feel about all you spending time reading this, coming to shows, or just taking a listen to my music.

You've Got a Friend In Me (Randy Newman)

What's a good day to you, and how do you stay organized/productive? Let me know! 



Happy New Years! 

This Christmas was the first in two years that I spent at home. Last year I was in Vietnam with my wonderful friend Ai, who had moved there for work from Japan, and the year before I was in New Zealand, couch surfing and staying with family. This past Monday morning, I woke up in the same house as my mom, dad, aunt, uncle, grandmother, brother and his girlfriend Autumn. My window view showed snow blanketing our yard, and the lake across the way almost fully frozen. 

Wellington, New Zealand- 2015 (Left)                         Hanoi, Vietnam- 2016 (Right)

Saratoga, NY- 2017

This week my ma and I drove to Woodford, Vermont for some cross-country skiing at Prospect Mountain. This being my first winter upstate in a while, skiing again felt incredible.

After a day on the trails, I drove to Caffe Lena’s open mic night in Saratoga to perform a few songs. I have been going there every Monday to play, meet and hang out with local musicians/music lover’s. I figure I need a home for me and my music and open mics at Caffe Lena allow me to work on my solo performance in a professional venue, without needing to book a full gig. I’m slowly but surely becoming part of the community here in Toga and lovin’ it. 

Waiting for the house to fill at Caffe Lena

In other music news here is the second video for my Live From the Attic Series:

You are the Best Thing: Ray Lamontagne

On a non-musical note I've been thinking about taking another trip abroad somewhere. I know that the older I get the tougher it may be to travel, and although I’m very wary of spending money on anything other than my college loans, I think I can make an exception for traveling (cheaply). I've gone on a few solo trips and by now feel I’ve done enough bumming around on my own, (although I love that) and would like to do something more. I’ve got a couple different ideas;

1. Find someone like minded, who is alright roughing it, and living on a few dollars a day. 
2. Volunteer somewhere and join a community of helpers 

As far as WHERE I’d like to go, I’ve thought about Central/South America where I can practice my Spanish by living/cooking/working with locals. Or I could go somewhere in eastern Asia and dive deeper into the my interests in meditation.

If you have any neat thoughts on traveling, or living abroad give a comment below or shoot me a message! 

Cheers, and Happy New Year!

(P.S HUGE thank you to my dad for lending me his time, expertise and equipment for this video, love ya!)