‘Being an artiste, teacher and music instructor has impacted me greatly’ – Coreisa Janelle Lee
Coreisa Janelle Lee was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama to two parents who dedicated their lives to pastoring a church. She attended a performance arts highscool in Alabama where she majored in Music performance. After highschool she accepted full scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music in New York city where she got her Bachelors degree in Music Performance.While Coreisa is her final year of her Masters Degree, she also works as a Flute Teachers Assistant , where she teach students privately about music and performance.
The young musician who grew up with three older brothers who are musicians, including her parents is very passionate about African Music, she recently found out about her Nigerian roots and she says the love and support for her work has been huge online since then , while she looks forward to visiting the Country in the nearest future to showcase her talent and introduce her work to the larger Nigerian community and bring the history to the world through her talents.
Coreisa Janelle Lee shares her Inspiring story with me in this interview.
My childhood absolutely prepared me for what I do now. I grew up in a household of all musicians. My dad and mother pastored a church in Birmingham, Alabama and had a strong belief in talents gifted by God. With my parents both having a background in music, they put me and my three older brothers into music class at a very young age. From there, I’ve danced, sung, played piano and discovered the flute. I started taking Flute lessons in the fourth grade and has stuck with that passion ever since.
Impact of coming from a family of “Musicians “
My parents encouraged my practicing. They put me in all the music programs and pushed me to take all opportunities to continue my talent. They were my teachers at home, telling me what I could do to be better. I played piano in church every Sunday and I watched my brothers interest in music production, as they also fell in love with music. Really, I had no choice but to become a musician. It was my entire childhood. My parents pushed me to audition for the Alabama School of Fine Arts where I was accepted and awarded high training in Flute performance. I then was told to reach outside of the box and audition for a Music conservatory in New York City. I did and received a full scholarship to move to New York and to be trained by the great musicians there. While in New York, I was discovered by Meredith Vieira, a talk show host on NBC, where she invited me as a 19 year old girl to come on the show, tell my story and then was awarded a free, brand new 14,000 dollar professional flute. The rest is history.
Being a teacher and music instructor
Being a teacher and music instructor has impacted me greatly! Originally, I believed I needed more time to work on my skills before reaching out and telling others what they can do better. I was not seeking to teach but for more performance opportunities. After receiving a full scholarship for my Masters, I walked into a position that required me to be responsible for College level teaching. It forced me to realize that I have reached a level where it is time to give back. I had reached a level where I was looked up to, so teaching has definitely brought another level of confidence to my music and place in this world. Also, teaching has technically made me a better musician as there is a moment where you must know the things you are teaching in order for the student to fully receive what you are saying. You must demonstrate, you must speak with confidence and assurance; Therefore, it has pushed me to make sure I know what I am saying.
Plans to bring my vision to Nigeria
I have big plans to visit home. It has been a journey of finding who I am and I am so happy to know I have Nigerian blood. I want to come visit and I would like to share my talents with all of my brothers and sisters. This is where I ask for help from those in Nigeria. I want to organize a recital/performance that will allow me to travel to Nigeria, share myself and meet as many people as possible. I will be graduating from My Masters soon and would like to plan this performance shortly after. If there is anyone with any ideas or wisdom please reach out to me as I would be so grateful! I am looking for performance spaces, a classical accompanist/orchestra and financial support to make it happen.
As a musician, as an Artist, this life can be very unpredictable. At one point everything could make sense and the next you are searching for what’s next. It’s a push and pull on your sanity and I find this the hardest. From personal experience and seeing my students and colleagues experience the frustration, I know that this is simply the life of an artist. Choosing to steer from the 9 to 5 path means that you have to build your own career/success. You not only must organize a 9 to 5 schedule in order to perfect your craft, but must have enough business inside of you to bring enough revenue to stay afloat in the music world. It is very difficult, but once figured out, completely worth it.
On Giving up
I know of many stories of people where they felt like giving up, but for me personally I have never been pushed that far. It has been hard for sure, but I’ve known since a little girl that I am doing what I am meant to do. As I do not know the future, and I also believe “Faith without works is dead”, I continue to work and experience all of the troubles of planning my future, but I have not once questioned if I should give up or not. God has blessed my life and I am so grateful for this peace.
Being a Woman of Rubies
I agree that Women are nurturers by nature. I find those instincts within myself and thank my mother for being such a great example. Through everything I do, I look to encourage and uplift those around me. Now with the internet, I have found that I am able to touch and encourage many people on a wide scale and feel it is my duty to do so. As a musician, a platform that is universal, I have found my calling. My music, my story encourages and inspires others and has helped me to understand I must keep going. As one of the few African Classical Flute performers in the world, I have reached a place where my career is important for the youth growing up looking to see someone who looks like them and made it out successful. For them and for my family and many others, I have and will continue to rise and push. Thank you Women or Rubies for being a platform for people like me to express themselves. I am grateful for the recognition.
On recognition of upcoming musicians
I think being a musician on a recognized level is a very difficult and long journey. There are success stories of quick elevations to fame, but for the most part the stories are usually long and requires patience and smart work. I think those who are recognized deserve the attention and are appreciated, but unfortunately there are also those that work hard and go unnoticed – It is a battle of extremes. I think in order to balance this out, more successful musicians need to have it in there minds to bring more deserving musicians into the spotlight. We all need each other on this earth and no one can ever replace you. There is no need of selfishness and envy.
We all have a place on this earth and should not hesitate to extend our hands out to uplift others.
Any final word for Women, especially young women who want to go into music?
You deserve your beauty and you deserve your talent. Never let anyone try and divide these two characteristics of you. You can be both and you ARE both. Hold yourself with dignity and strength and show the world your power. Do not look down on other women’s power. We are all powerful in nature, we are queens and we all have a place in this earth!
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