Corrinne May is a global troubadour. Born in Singapore and based in Los Angeles, she brings to her performances a unique East meets West perspective. Music critics who have raved about her music & voice include Performing Songwriter Magazine (“May’s voice is instantly intoxicating – beautiful and adept”), Nashville City Paper (“One part Sarah McLaughlin, one part Carole King..”) & Indie-music.com (“May’s work make the soul tremble”). She has co-written with legendary songwriters Carole King and Carol Bayer Sager. Her music is also featured on film & TV (ABC’s “One Life to Live”, Columbia/Tri-Star’s “So Close”).May regularly performs in Los Angeles (The Mint, Hotel Cafe, Genghis Cohen, Molly Malones). She recently performed with her trio in Chicago for “Voice For Asia”, an event held to raise awareness of the orphan crisis in Asia. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two cats. Here is an exclusive from the sultry voice from Asia.
When did you come to the US?
C.M:I came to the US in the fall of 1996 to study music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. After graduating in 1998, I moved to Los Angeles at the beginning of 1999 and I’ve been in Los Angeles ever since.
How hard was it starting off as an artist?
C.M:It was challenging, but it’s what all artists have to go through. I think the hardest part about starting off as an artist is in finding one’s own voice and in staying true to who you are both as an artist and as a person. There are so many distractions, so many voices telling you what you should do in terms of an image, or the type of songs you should sing, or the way you should market yourself. So, the most important thing to cultivate as an artist is an understanding of who you are as an artist, what unique qualities you have that make you different, and just being persistent in finding the people who want to hear your brand of music.
Do you have family life?
C.M:Yes, my husband is here with me in Los Angeles. However, the rest of my family is in Singapore. So, it’s hard not to be able to celebrate special occasions like Chinese New Year, or Christmas, or even Mother’s Day with the rest of my family. It’s also hard missing out on family milestones, like my nephew’s first birthday celebration, for instance.
How do you balance family life as a wife and your music?
C.M:I’m fortunate that my husband is also my partner in music production. He understands my music, he understands the business and he helps to manage me and also to produce my albums. He is also a wonderful cook! We don’t have any children at this point in time, so that makes it a little easier to balance our music careers and our family life.
When did you start singing?
C.M:I started singing when I was a toddler, but the first choir I joined was when I was 7 years old, and since then I’ve been involved in school choirs and college choirs. However, I only started singing as a solo artist after graduating from Berklee.
What is your genre of music?
C.M: Singer-Songwriter, Adult- contemporary Pop.
Why did you choose this genre?
C.M:I grew up listening to a lot of pop music, and my taste in music leans towards melodic pop ballads. The singer-songwriter genre is perfect for me, because it gives me the chance to express myself as a writer, and as a singer, to emote the feelings I write about. It gives me the chance to share my gifts of music in the best possible way.
What is the message in your music?
C.M: There is always hope, there is always love. Life is full of surprises, good ones. Don’t lose sight of the important things in life like love and family. Each person’s life is precious and given for a reason.
What inspires you?
C.M: Stories of courage and strength. People who have been through a lot in life and who still keep the faith and who still love with their whole hearts. People who sacrifice because of love. My Catholic faith also inspires me. People who love much inspire me. My family and friends inspire me. Music I hear inspires me. The stories of saints inspire me. Nature inspires me. Daily life inspires me. In short, anything can be inspirational. I make it a point to keep my eyes and my ears and my heart open for moments of inspiration. I keep my journal and a pen ready to pen down thoughts when they strike me.
What have your challenges been?
C.M:It’s hard to be so far away from the rest of my family and that has been a challenge for me.It’s sometimes hard to have to build a career, one step at a time, one fan at a time. It definitely teaches me patience. Learning to live in a different country has also been quite a challenge, but in a good way.
How have you overcome them?
C.M:I have good friends who help to support me in challenging times. My husband has also been a great source of love, comfort and support. I rely a lot too, on prayer and I find much comfort in my faith in overcoming and in accepting challenges. I listen to music as a source of comfort as well.
Where do you see the future taking you?
C.M:I see myself continuing to write songs, challenging myself to write even better songs, and perhaps eventually, taking on the role of a mentor, or a teacher to other artistes who are trying to start out and find their way. I see myself, reaching out to sing for even more people, in the hopes that my music will help to make a positive difference. I see myself perhaps having a family of my own someday.
What is your greatest achievement so far?
C.M:I think my songs have been my greatest achievement so far. I’m grateful for the gift of each and every song that spills from my pen. Every song is precious to me and I hope to keep on writing even better songs.
Tips you’d like to give others in the business.
C.M: Be passionate and joyful about your chosen career. Be patient and persistent. It is a slow-growing tree, but it yields much fruit and satisfaction. Dig deep for the unique way you can express who you are as a person and as an artist. It is a life-long process and never ends. Be prepared to have people challenge your way of life.