GFM recently had the privilege to chat with Richmond, VA based songwriter, producer, singer Corey El on the eve of the release of his single “Nothing Like You” on the HLX/Emeritus imprint. For these ears it’s really a simple proposal: press play and even if this music is a little younger sounding than what you deem the “Grown” sound… the quality, passion and purpose here is undeniable.

As you have witnessed time and time again from me in these posts my barometer of greatness in music is if I make the choice to listen to a track again and again. I have made that conscious choice on “Nothing Like You” and true confession time… my hunch was further buoyed by my 12 year old daughter who came into the room as I was preparing to do the interview and remarked how “Nothing Like You” should be on the radio if it is not already.

Please take the time out to listen to not only what this young artist has to say in his music, but read his story and listen to the music. If you’v been here before you know the rest: make sure you share this music and get familiar with the name Corey El!

On his beginnings…“I was literally born into this… being that my dad is a musician(Richmond based multi-instrumentalist Carl Lester El who has toured with a who’s who of R&B/Soul/Jazz over his illustrious career)that’s what he does day in and day out. Since I came out the womb he’s had me at shows and rehearsals and things like that. I really didn’t have a choice it’s been something that’s been a part of my life. Being that I’m so shy and introverted by nature, I’ve been pushed to do certain things like being a part of the choir and dance ministries at church which helped with my confidence.”

On the influence of his hometown of Richmond, VA “There are a lot more opportunities here[Richmond,Va] then even five years ago, showcases, open mic nights and locally based internet radio stations to support local acts. It’s a good place to get your feet wet because there’s a lot of support.”

Influences “When I first started writing I used a lot of Michael Jackson’s material as reference because I didn’t really know how to structure music. As I got older I wanted to find ways to come into my own and not use my influences as a crutch. Now a lot of times I don’t know what I’m going to do, so I’ll just sit down and vibe out on the keyboard and sometimes a few other influences will creep in, but Michael was definitely the first to help me get the whole structure of how to write.”

On being inspired to write “Nothing Like You” “I don’t feel like we have enough empowerment songs in urban music. I just feel like there’s not enough songs about loving yourself, loving who you are. I just had to work on how to say it in a way that didn’t sound like you were trying to preach to someone. I sat with the song for a long time and then one day the lyric to the chorus came back to me.”

On lining up the sound of Corey El to an element in nature… “Music is like water, we all need it… music is vital. We would die without water and some folks are even scared of water. So I would say water because even though at the beginning it can seem so vast, you can discover so much so just like spending time with water you can discover things, hopefully there will be things with my music that you will discover or you might not have thought about after listening.”

“Nothing Like You” from Corey El out now on HLX/Emeritus

To purchase “Nothing Like You” go here.

For more info on Corey El checkout the official press release below…

Songwriter, producer, singer and all-around musical phenom Corey El handcrafts multidimensional songs that sparkle with contagious melodies, playful beats and razor-sharp lyrics. Each of his originals is an auditory time capsule that plunges listeners into his own memories and experiences, energized by the very essence of life: self-discovery; love and daring to let one’s own authentic colors shine. With a soulful wisdom far beyond his years and his finger on the pulse of his generation, Corey El lends a fresh perspective to decades’ worth of musical styles, inspired by the pioneering sounds of pop, R&B and urban music gurus such as B. Slade (Anthony Williams II), Kanye West and Michael Jackson.

The son of dexterous professional multi-instrumentalist Carl Lester-El, a young Corey El knew instantly how music can impact moods, viewpoints and connect people’s hearts and minds on a global scale. Because of his natural ear for a multitude of melodies and grooves, he was able to express himself instantly through singing. His father taught him how to track on a Casio keyboard, and as soon as he learned to write, he was making his own fully-formed tunes. By the time he was a teenager, he was already producing, writing and arranging for local artists in the studio, and he eventually felt the pull to focus on creating his own original work.

Now, Corey El continues to experiment with exciting melodic flavors, sounds, poetry and stories as he invents new ways to grow and express himself. A multi-talented and self-contained artist, he has already put out several singles via YouTube and streaming sites and created videos giving insight into his creative process. His new, empowering single, “Nothing Like You” encourages others to stay true to their authentic selves even when faced with bullies who try to limit their dreams. “Nothing Like You” is available now!

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.