It’s difficult to determine whether the songwriter or the storyteller came first, but as Corey relaxes on the couch and talks about his life and his career in music, it’s easy to believe that they are one in the same. He is the type of person who makes a speaker become a listener, and he crafts his stories about his life with the same care he uses to string together lyrics in his music.
Corey Shields is part of the ever-growing and evolving music scene in the Mid-Ohio Valley. Corey’s music resonates from the cozy walls at local coffee houses to the larger venues he plays as he stakes his claim in the music world. His love for music was born while he learned to play off of his grandmother’s classical acoustic that “had a neck the size of a baseball bat.” Although difficult, Corey credits that instrument in his desire to learn more because of the challenge it presented.
“I have this very vivid memory of sitting in the car and trying to play and trying to figure out this guitar. I never let it overwhelm, and 13 years later I seemed to have figured out a few chords,” he said.
Corey wasn’t always a solo artist, and during his high school days, he performed in several bands including Arcane Audio, which he credits as his first real band.
“There were days when I would stay home from school and just practice guitar. When everything was changing in junior high and high school, music was my constant. When I was 14, my mom bought me my first electric guitar – I just immersed myself in it,” he said.
As Corey said, he’s managed to learn a few chords since he first picked up that acoustic and now writes and performs original music. He just released his first EP, “The Saturday Sessions” on Spotify, iTunes and Bandcamp. His lyrics are simple, yet refined and relatable while his voice offers a soothing reprieve from songs overly modified by the digital age.
Each song tells a story, and that story might mean something different to ever set of ears listening. The third song on his album, “Magnolias Bloom,” is a folk sounding track with a clear story unfolding about taking chances.
“I’m a pretty emotionally driven guy – and “Magnolias Bloom” was me talking to myself. Of course that’s hidden within the lyrics. I never want to tour or leave my current life, but it’s about moving forward with my music,” he said.
Corey’s leap into the world of performing was taken to a new level when his wife really started to encourage him to move forward with his passion. As a husband, father and IT guy during the day, Corey began to expand his dreams of being a musician. The past summer was dedicated to conquering his fears of rejection and putting himself out there as a performing artist.
“My first gig was an open mic night at The Adelphia – and I don’t consider myself a singer. It was scary at first. I would cold call people and ask for time while still being afraid that they might reject me. I just wish I could put into words what this past summer did for me,” he said.
As Corey continues to grow and continues to do things that are outside of his comfort zone, he sees more opportunities on the horizon. He performs every Tuesday at The Adelphia and is a frequent act at Jeremiah’s Coffee House. He is also scheduled to perform in Washington D.C. in the near future.
Following that, Corey plans to release a full album this coming spring featuring more of his original lyrics and authentic sound. “Some guys write stories their whole lives, and I plan to keep writing those stories as long as I can,” he said.