What has your babysitting gig ever gotten you other than a headache? Well, when Corbin Reid was merely 12-years-old she babysat for a very gracious couple who heard her sing. The husband then let her and her friend record at his studio. It was then she was bitten by the bug, one that led her not only to training her voice but to the Broadway stage.
Green Day fans may recognize her as part of the American Idiot production. Having shared the stage with the likes of Billie Joe, Reid is ready to have the spotlight on her with her own music career. With a debut single on out and about, Reid is primed and ready to go but first she’s got a little more growing to go as she defines her sound. Read more about that, her time on stage and where she plans on heading after her single “Crazy.”
Kendra: Your debut single “Crazy” has this gritty pop feel, is that what we can expect from the rest of the music you’ve got up your sleeve?
Corbin: I am still in the early stages of finding my “true sound,” but my inclination is always towards strength, or a just a little strange. I love pop music. I am not ashamed to say that. But I love pop and R&B that has a clear and poignant message, whether it’s to call its listener to action or to simply make their heart soar. My favorite musicians right now are the ones who are bringing pop back to a more simple time, but still putting their own spin on it. Nikka Costa is one of my favorites. Her vibe oscillates between the ‘60s and ‘70s and she uses a lot of real instruments which is always cool. Her vocals are so bold and powerful and she has something to say, and says it in a way that I don’t hear everyday. On top of all that she slays as a live performer. Like a modern day Janis Joplin. N.E.R.D has always been a favorite of mine as well. Their album Fly or Die has so many subtly powerful social messages, and just plain fun ones. They are masters on that album of making an “old sound” new. All in all that’s what I want to and am trying to master.
Kendra: If your friends were to point out the craziest thing about you, what would it be?
Corbin: Well my face is a direct indicator for what I am feeling. I have a mind that moves a million miles an hour and anything that’s going through it is usually visible on my face. I also have a unique ability to be so deep in thought that I’ve been told it’s like “I’ve transported myself to another planet.” Like really…someone can be looking me dead in the eyes and it looks like I’m listening, and I am, and then all of a sudden a thought comes in and takes me away. I’m still looking at them but my brain has left the building. It’s very Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I’ve been told it’s pretty crazy and amusing.
Kendra: You’re not the first artist to use crowdfunding. Do you think that’s the only way to go nowadays in terms of making music on an indie level?
Corbin: I do not think it’s the only way, but I do think it’s one of the ways and it’s a good way. With the rise of crowdfunding artists are becoming their own producers and more work is getting made that would normally never see the light of day. I think there is an immense upside to that. We all benefit from others creativity. So many artists are taking the initiative to get it done on their own just so they can be heard and that doesn’t always mean crowdfunding. It could be just learn how to produce on the Macbook’s Garage Band application and then putting your stuff online. The power is in our hands more than ever. And there are so many ways to get it done.
Kendra: Now onto your other side, you’ve been in some of the most celebrated musicals out there from American Idiot to Rent. Looking back, what three things would you say were moments you couldn’t believe were happening and still kind of can’t believe happened?
Corbin: When I performed with Green Day at the season opening game for the Jets in NYC that was a pretty crazy moment. They are such an incredible loving, wonderful group of people. Especially Billie Joe. He has such a big heart and an incredible sense of humor. He came and joined the cast playing the character St. Jimmy for about two months and it was amazing to rehearse him into the show, and to perform with him. He definitely knows how to work an audience. Performing at the Tony Awards was pretty amazing as well. Looking out into the audience and seeing the likes of Al Pacino smiling up at you because your performance is bringing him joy. That’s a pretty cool feeling.
Kendra: What’s more stressful, doing a play or recording music as an artist?
Corbin: I think they give each other a run for their money. But it has proven more difficult for me to record music as an artist because there is no road map. With a play you are saying someone else’s words and while you have the liberty to interpret them, you have a director who weighs in and helps. With music there is no road map. You have to create it and execute it. But I love that about it. There’s something very powerful about putting images, and ideas, and expressing yourself to the world in a way that truly comes from you and you only.
Kendra: How do you think being on Broadway has prepared you when it comes to hitting the road on your own tours?
Corbin: You definitely develop a work ethic doing eight shows a week. And you realize that if people paid money to come and see, you owe it to them to give them your all. And not just because they paid money, but because as an artist my goal is to move people, whether it be to make them laugh, cry or just think about things differently. You never know how you will move people so you always have to show up, no matter how tired you are.
Kendra: Speaking of, do you have any plans for shows this year?
Corbin: I would love to play a show before the year is out with the songs from my EP as well as some of my favorite covers. Realistically I don’t think my music will be ready until December so I would expect news on a show early next year!
Kendra: Before we sign off, can you tell us a little about this project you’re a part of with Issa Rae?
Corbin: Yes! It was a digital project for her channel colorcreative.tv. She choose three writers who were otherwise fairly unknown and provided them with a substantial amount of money to produce their first pilot. The mission of her channel is to give a voice to women, and minorities, and to change the way people pitch pilots by providing them with a visual as opposed to just a script which sometimes falls flat. The project I was a part of is called Word With Girls it’s about four friends who are lesbians and roommates making their way through life, love, and friendship in their mid-twenties in Los Angeles. It was a fairly successful web series first, and had a very pedestrian, relatable vibe, like Girls meets L Word. My character is a bisexual, messy, funny, brazen, wild struggling actress. You can check it out here.
Kendra: If you had to make a mixtape for a crazy night out, what five songs would have to be on it?