Country singer Corey Kent, raised in Oklahoma, has a story unlike many others. Trusting God, listening to his heart and being humble despite the many opportunities that come his way are just a few attributes of his career. “I didn’t have a natural ability to play, but I had a natural interest. My parents never had to make me practice, I locked myself in my room and I played alone. When I was 11, I had a music teacher who offered me the opportunity to play at the local state fair. I literally only knew three songs, but I knew people at the fair wouldn’t stay longer than three songs anyway, so I just looped them for the duration of my set! These guys walked by and heard me sing and then approached me at the end saying they were starting a young Western Swing band and wanted me to be involved. It turned into them offering me a job to be the lead vocalist. At that age, I had no idea you could get paid to play music and it just blew my mind. So of course, I said yes!
What was supposed to be just one show, opening for Asleep At The Wheel and Texas Playboys at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, OK, turned into five more years of touring with the youth band. As other band members got older and transitioned into college, Kent was the youngest of the band at 16. He was at a crossroads to continue pursuing music or be a “normal kid” and play sports for the rest of high school. Later that year, Corey found himself nosebleed from a Willie Nelson concert with a scalped ticket. After years of dreaming of being on stage in front of huge crowds, even at the expense of actually enjoying a concert, he found himself sneaking into the front rows near the stage. On his way down, he found cardboard and a Sharpie at a concession stand and made a sign: it’s my dream to play a song with you! Twice Nelson saw her sign, handed her a handkerchief, and told her to put the sign down. After apologizing to the guy standing behind him, Kent held the sign up for a third time. Finally, Willie leaned over and said, “Okay, kid, what do you want to play?” Kent responded with an unexpected response – a 1930s swing western song. Nelson looked at his band, picked them up and said, “Well, get on here!” Corey Kent attributes this moment to when he knew without a doubt that music was what he was meant to do in life; that something bigger was at work because he was about to stop the music altogether.
Fast forward a few years, a move to Nashville and living the starving artist life out of the back of his car, couch surfing with friends and returning to Oklahoma for college, Kent found himself in being scouted for The Voice Season 8 at the age of 20. After a little apprehension about trying, wanting
“Do things the traditional way of just playing gigs and doing the thing,” Corey went through the entire season until the Blake Team Semi-Finals. “I couldn’t make up my story even if I wanted to. Things happened. The older I get, the more I truly believe that if something is going to happen, against all odds, it will happen one way or another. There is always a way to overcome every seemingly impossible circumstance.
A part of the story that many may not know is that after The Voice, Kent returned to Nashville to complete college online in his freshman year. “Long story short, I had a band together when I came back to Nashville. We were approached by a major record company with a contract offer and something was wrong. I respectfully declined the offer. At that point, everyone but my then girlfriend (now my wife) told me I was crazy, that I was letting go of a huge opportunity that may never come again. listened to my heart, despite the possibility of something like this never happening again, and fast forward five years – I now have that same major label, plus four others, offering me contracts. my instinct paid off and I couldn’t feel luckier to be where I am now.
Check out Corey Kent’s latest single, Wild As Her on all streaming platforms.
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