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“Who I Am” — Cory Marks’ Debut Album

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Photo Credit Ben Guzman

Mixing country music with the hard-hitting stomp of rock & roll, Cory Marks’ music is full of autobiographical storytelling, guitar-driven anthems, drinking songs, and breakup ballads. While in college, he never stopped playing music but did so privately… that is, until he joined his teammates at a local bar one night, and found himself pushed onstage when the regularly-scheduled musician took a break. “My friends knew I played a little music, and they were chanting for me to do some songs,” he remembers. “It was a packed little bar. I did two originals and two covers, and afterward, people were coming up to me and asking where I was playing next. I didn’t have an answer for them, because this was literally the first time I’d ever sung in front of anyone.” Marks began making weekly trips to the bar, hopping onstage with each visit. As time went on, he wrote a new batch of songs, hit the road, and hasn’t looked back since.

North Bay, Ontario. Which Canadian artists influenced you to start playing drums at 10-years-old?

That’s an easy one. RUSH, the great NEIL PEART. I was fascinated by his style and sound, one of a kind.

Flying with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds as a private pilot. What is your favorite thing about flying?

Flying with the Snowbirds was a dream come true and something I’ll never forget. I’m currently a student pilot with my pilot permit (I can fly solo or with an instructor under a flight school) planning to finish my private pilot’s license by the end of 2020. My favorite thing about flying is the joy and peace it brings to your mind, soul and spirit even when your rolling and looping the aircraft, although certain types of flying take more skill and focus its always fun!

Learning to ice skate at three and playing on the Royal Military College hockey team. Who do you think will win the Stanley Cup this year?

That’s a good question, now that the Leafs are out… again. I would like a Canadian team to win but Colorado or Boston are looking pretty good. Seeing I work out of Las Vegas it would be nice to see the Knights win one soon too!

You and producers Kevin and Kane Churko worked hard to capture your live show for the Who I Am album. Which song’s stage energy was the most difficult to bring to life for the album?

They all had their own challenges in different ways but it was fun nonetheless. This record and these songs were created to feel and give that live energy that can sometimes be hard or challenging to capture in the studio at 10 or 11AM. Nothing a little shine can’t fix!

Billboard called the album the long-awaited next-generation country rock record … a hard-rock and country crossover from newcomer Cory Marks has been a breakout success. Why do you think rock music has been struggling on the album and song charts?

I think we’ve created a new sound for both country and rock and I’m proud of that.. not to mention my first TOP 10 in my career at US ROCK radio and now sitting at #3 at German rock!

How is your album’s music shaped by your hometown?

Some of it is… not all of it but it’s where I grew up. Lost love and won fights, a lot of great memories there. The good, the bad and the ugly!

Read you worked on the album for five years. What would you say are the biggest changes in rock/country music from 2015 to 2020?

Cory Marks.

“Outlaws & Outsiders”, your debut breakthrough single. The song is Travis Tritt’s first on the airplay charts in 18 years. Which one of his songs is your favorite to cover and why?

Yes very excited and so glad to be able to say “Outlaws & Outsiders” was his FIRST ever Top 10 at US rock radio. What an honor!

I like a lot of Mr. Tritt’s music but I think the one I love playing the most is “Here’s a Quarter” It’s just fun and really gives that feel good I don’t give a damn message. Moving on!

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Photo Credit Jody Domingue

The single has over 15 million streams and 18 million video views worldwide. What do you think is the universal draw of the song?

I’m thrilled to say that it now has over 20 MILLION streams globally. I think country music needs a change and the fans want to hear it too… perhaps this is the change they need and were looking for. There isn’t anything like it in Rock or Country so I think it’s just a different sound with a country feel that rocks. This is the anthem for all those Outlaws and Outsiders out there.

“Who I Am” “I got an angel on my shoulder and a lesson in my ear”. What lesson do you hope fans take away from your song?

The good thing about lessons, you find out how to fall. You can always figure things out and move forward one step at a time, no matter what you’re going through. Remember there is no failing or failure, only lessons learned!

Can you describe the day you wrote “DRIVE”, the new song?

DRIVE” was an idea or story I got from a previous video shoot I was on. I had this story and melody in my head that I couldn’t pass so while on a red eye home in the middle of the night… I couldn’t sleep so I asked the stewardess for a napkin and a pen.. 35–45 minutes later over the sound of the jet engines in my seat 35,000 ft above the earth I quietly sang “DRIVE” into my phone then recorded it the next day. This was one of the songs Kevin loved and we thought would fit very well on the record and be a great country radio single!

You wrote that “My Whiskey, Your Wine” is the most country song on the record. Does the song capture a real-life memory?

It sure is and it sure does!

What’s ahead for you musically?

I hope to be back on the road and playing live again soon. I’m also excited to talk to radio, media, press here in Canada and around the world about the numbers this album has produced right out of the gates and the noise it’s making on a global platform. Very exciting times!

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