Oklahoma-raised country singer Corey Kent has a story, unlike many others. Trusting God, listening to his heart, and being humble despite many opportunities being thrown 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 would lock myself in my room and just play on my own. At the age of 11, I had a music teacher who presented me with the opportunity to play at the local state fair. I literally only knew three songs, but I knew people at the fair wouldn’t stick around longer than three songs anyway so I just looped those for the entire length of my set! These guys walked by and heard me singing then approached me at the end stating they were putting together a Western Swing youth band and wanted me to be involved. That turned into them offering me a position to be the lead singer. At that age, I had no idea you could get paid to play music and that just blew my mind. So of course, I said yes!”
What was supposed to only be one show, opening for Asleep At The Wheel and Texas Playboys at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, OK turned into an additional five years of touring with the youth band. As other band members got older and moved on to college, Kent was the youngest in the group at 16. He was at a crossroads of continuing to pursue music or be a ‘normal kid’ and just do sports for the rest of high school. Later that year, Corey found himself in the nose-bleeds of a Willie Nelson concert with a scalped ticket. After years of dreaming about being on stage in front of a huge crowd, even to the detriment of him being able to actually enjoy being at a concert, he found himself hustling his way into the front rows near the stage. On his way down, he found some cardboard and a Sharpie at a concession stand and made a sign: it’s my dream to play a song with you! Two different times, Nelson saw his sign, handed him a handkerchief and told him to put the sign down. After apologizing to the guy standing behind him, Kent put the sign in the air a third time. Finally, Willie leaned over and said, “alright kid, what do you want to play?” Kent replied with an unexpected answer- a western swing song from the 1930s. Nelson looked at his band, got them on board, and said, “well get up here!” Corey Kent attributes that moment to when he knew without a doubt that music was what he was supposed to be doing in life; that something bigger was at work because he was about to quit music entirely.
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 moving back to Oklahoma for college, Kent found himself being scouted for The Voice Season 8 at the age of 20. After a little apprehension about trying out, wanting to
“do things the traditional way by just playing gigs and doing the dang thing,” Corey made it through the entire season up until the semi-finals on Team Blake. “I couldn’t make up my story even if I wanted to. Things just happened. The older I get, the more I truly believe that if something is meant to happen, against all odds, it’s going to happen in some way, somehow. There’s always some way to overcome all seemingly impossible circumstances.”
Part of the story many may not know is that after The Voice, Kent moved back to Nashville to finish college online in his junior year. “To make a long story short, I had put together a band when I got back to Nashville. We were approached by a major record label with a contract offer and something just didn’t feel right. I respectfully declined the offer. At that moment, everyone except my then-girlfriend (now wife) told me I was crazy. That I was passing up a huge opportunity that may not come along again. I listened to my heart, despite the possibility of something like that never coming along again, and fast forward five years- I now have that same major label, along with four others, offering me contracts. Waiting and following my instincts paid off and I couldn’t feel more blessed to be where I am now.”
Check out Corey Kent’s latest single release, Wild As Her on all streaming platforms.
CLN Community & Event Sponsor