AN NRT EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
An Interview with Cori & Kelly
The duo shares their origin story, mixing country with contemporary Christian music and creative influences
 


AN NRT EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW, An Interview with Cori & Kelly
Posted: August 20, 2020 | By: KevinMcNeese_NRT
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Cori & Kelly is a worship country duo who incorporates the sounds of country and bluegrass into their music. They're known for their beautiful harmonies and amazing vocals. They love God and appreciate this opportunity to share His message with their listeners. They're based in Panama City and have been singing to the world since their debut single, "Take Me Back to Church" in 2018.

Some of the duo's many accomplishments include being named "Duo of the Year" at the 2019 ICMA Awards, earning two number one spots on the top 100 Christian Country charts (one which lasted for 13 weeks.), and being placed on our Indie Artist Watch for August 2020. 

Their focus now is on their new, updated release of "Victory Song," music from their second album, as well as establishing their independent label and publisher, We Anointed LLC. 

I talked to Cori and Kelly about their creative inspirations, their influence on different genres, their time in COVID-19 quarantine, and, of course, their upcoming projects. 

 

Tell us about yourselves.

Cori: I work at my home church as the preschool ministry coordinator. Also, I'm a co-leader on the praise team. I've been married to my all-time favorite fella for 11 years. And, we have three kids: ages eight years, six years, and six months. I enjoy binge-watching good Netflix shows and shopping on Amazon. 

Kelly: I'm a Kindergarten through second-grade music teacher, as well as a worship leader at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Hazlehurst, Georgia. I'm also a mom to an eight-year-old and three-year-old, as well as a wife of a high school band director. I love antiquing and drinking coffee.

You've been able to speak to multiple genres. What audiences are you wanting to reach with your music?

Cori: Our desire is to reach all spectrums of audiences, but know that we jive most with the Christian and country world of music, right now. 

Kelly: God has blessed us with the ability to write songs and produce a sound that has a unique combination of worship and country, which allows us to speak to the mainstream country and contemporary Christian audience. We're definitely starting to see a shift towards this within the contemporary Christian industry with the new Chris Tomlin record as well as the popular songs "Holy Water" and "My feet are on the Rock." We just want our music to speak to anyone who is willing to listen, no matter what genre.

What are some of your creative influences?

Cori: Taylor Swift, for sure. She is the same age as me. Watching her go from a young solo artist to this amazing performer and brilliant songwriter has been extremely inspiring. If I could choose anyone to sit down and pick their brain, it would be her.

Kelly: Carrie Underwood. I've always loved her voice and admired her for speaking out about her faith in the mainstream country genre and staying true to that. 

Tell us about your latest single, "Victory Song."

Cori: Kelly and I were already moms and wives when we began this ministry together. We knew wholeheartedly how overwhelming life can get. So this song was born out of those experiences where your surroundings can just wear you down sometimes and we both wanted to claim our victory over it, as well as to encourage others to do the same. We have complete victory because of Jesus Christ. We just need a reminder every now and then. 

 

As COVID-19 restrictions continue, what do you miss most about performing live?

Cori: Our audience. Seeing them worship along with us is what I miss most for sure.

Kelly: definitely being able to interact with everyone and feeding off of their energy.  

What's the biggest challenge you face as a newer group?

Cori: Probably just how to get our music exposed to a larger audience. 

Kelly: We have our very dedicated following. But, I believe that finding anyone in the industry who is willing to take a chance and play our songs to help get our message out to a larger audience is a challenge. 

What's next?

Kelly: We're currently creating an electronic package to send to churches across the world. That will be an encouraging "get back in church" initiative. Our song, "Take Me Back to Church," has such a powerful message that speaks to a multi-generational audience. If listening to this song can get even one person back in church, then we've done our job. 

How can we be praying for you?

Cori: That the right doors open up. Both of us daydream about singing full time. And we're trusting God's timing.

Kelly: We currently live almost five hours apart after our family had to move due to Hurricane Michael hitting Panama City in 2018. God has proved to us that long-distance partnerships are possible. But, we know that Satan will still try to wriggle his way in somehow. Please pray for protection over our ministry as we continue on this journey.

Kevin McNeese started NRT in 2002 and has worked in the industry since 1999 in one form or another. He has been a fan of Christian music since 1991.

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