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THE KATIE GIRL FACTOR07 / 21 / 2017

Katie Girl: An unusual woman whom men don’t choose over less interesting and less difficult women. (Urban Dictionary)

What do Carrie from Sex and the City, Khadijah from Living Single and Beyonce all have in common?

Like most American women, I’ve related to quite a few of the dating scenarios on HBO’s hit show, Sex and the City. The four central characters follow the same modern American female archetypes as shows like Living Single and The Golden Girls did before them. Since my early 20s, I’ve always thought of myself as a hybrid between Carrie and Samantha (or Khadijah and Regine, Dorothy and Blanche): creative and free spirited while at the same time unapologetically ambitious and a little flamboyant.

katie girl street shot

I’ll never forget the first time I saw the “Ex and the City” episode I was a junior in college. In that episode the show’s central character, Carrie has a realization about her longtime tumultuous relationship with the love of her life, Mr. Big and its demise.

While Carrie and her three best friends sit in a bar, Mr. Big is celebrating his engagement to Natasha, a simple, seemingly perfect straight haired woman he has chosen to marry over Carrie. Miranda, her straight shooting lawyer friend brings up a concept from the classic Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford movie, The Way We Were (1973).

In the film, Streisand plays Katie- a loud, opinionated, complex curly haired woman whom Robert Redford’s Hubbell falls in love with but ultimately leaves her to marry a “simple,” safer woman. Carrie realized she was a Katie girl being left by Mr. Big, her version of Hubble.

“Ladies, I am having an epiphany. The world is made of two types of women…the ”simple” girls and the ”Katie” girls. I’m a ”Katie” girl!”

Although I was too young to understand the gravity of the Katie Girl factor at the time, the concept stuck with me for years. Little pieces of the story’s arc have found their way into most of my relationships over the past decade. I’ve met quite a bit of conflict within relationships for being outgoing and extreme in my thinking. I don’t fit neatly into a conventional heterosexual monogamous relationship model as I am queer, polyamorous and defy a lot of gender norms as a woman. Appearance-wise, I’m tall, heavily tattooed and have wild, thick wavy hair that I’ve worn just about every possible way. I’ve been a bartender and a  musician for my entire adult life which lends itself to a lot of drinking, social interaction, late nights and meeting new people. I love being me and I’ve always naturally drawn soon-to be lovers in with the excitement within my world.

They love it all until it becomes too much for them.

This real life Katie Girl archetype isn’t just a theme for the Carries of the world, nor is it unique to being a professional heterosexual white women in pre-911 New York City. Complicated women being rejected and misunderstood by their partners is just as applicable today and across all cultures. In my experience, it isn’t limited to heterosexual relationships either, I have had a nearly identical experience with both male and female partners in the past. To find a modern day example of a Katie Girl, I had to look no farther than Queen Bey herself. She draws on her own experience of it over and over on her instant classic, Lemonade. In  “Don’t hurt yourself,” my personal favorite song on the album, Beyonce says to her cheating husband, “’Til I realize I’m just too much for you.” I found this line to be instantly relatable. Unfortunately, even Beyonce has been rejected for taking up too much space.

Although I can relate to all these women, I’ve never seen myself as a one dimensional character. I have always been aware of the nuances and complexities that go along with being a human. Yes, I’m a boisterous, tattooed, heavy drinking queer woman but I know that there is more to me than that. I’m also a yoga practitioner who loves to read, adores my family, loves animals and still sleeps with a Teddy bear. I am all of these things at once and perhaps most of all, I am a woman who thrives on connection and deeply desires to be loved.

Maybe my extreme personality, lifestyle and appearance have always overshadowed the softer parts of myself. I’ve often been in relationships that started out fun and exciting until my partner has discovered that I will not shrink to be smaller or compromise my identity to make them feel secure. I’ve had the experience in relationships where I’ve wholeheartedly believed we could build a future together only to discover that my lover has never seen me as marriage material. During the final heated conversations leading to some of my most painful breakups, I’ve been told things such as “I never saw myself ending up with an artist,” “I can’t accept your sexuality, it means you’re going to have to sleep with someone else one day,” “I’m not just gonna stay home with kids while you’re on tour.” …You get the idea.

As a real life Katie girl, I fully embody my eccentricities and present myself as authentically as I can from the very beginning of a romantic connection. I don’t see myself as a victim. I realize that being with a woman who is complicated and large in personality isn’t always easy but like any other woman, Katie girls want nothing more than to be seen and fully accepted.

“Katie Girl” The Song

I wrote the song “Katie Girl” after the most painful breakup I’ve ever been through. Defeated and heartbroken, I felt rejected for all the qualities that make up who I am. The partner who I had been fully committed to had found me to be hard to love. In the song I vented my frustration about this being the demise of some of my other past relationships along with my anger and disappointment about it.

Much to my delight, although the song is heavy in content and feel, it has resonated with many of my listeners over the years. There are a lot of Katie girls out there who feel as if their wild hair, large personalities, and even larger ambitions have been seen as a threat to the people they’ve fallen in love with. These are qualities that no Carrie, Katie or any other woman should ever be apologetic for. As Warsan Shire, the woman who gave poetry to Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ said best, “women like her cannot be contained.”

Watch the Katie Girl official music video HERE

How I Learned to be HUMBLE. As an Indie Artist05 / 10 / 2017

Although I’m not famous and haven’t made much profit as a musician (yet), my career has been pretty cool so far. I’ve worked extremely hard for every opportunity I’ve had and I remain grateful for every triumph, large or small.

Being a musician is a hard path to be on and naturally I get discouraged at times. I’m not motivated by outsider validation or money which is probably why I’ve never once thought about quitting. Even after all these years of working my ass off and seeing very little external results, I’m in this for life. What continues to drive me after all these years is the strong core belief that I was put here on earth to be an artist. I’ve always known exactly what I want to spend my life doing.

The overnight success story is rare and is almost never the recipe for longevity. There are no guarantees in this industry and a “big break” won’t sustain a whole career. We’ve seen time and again that artists looking to make a quick buck by hopping on a trend never create music that stands the test of time. Those who have built a legacy are the ones who created timeless music and had their finger on the pulse of something original and fresh. Even that is never a guarantee because guarantees simply don’t exist in this industry.

I know that it doesn’t matter how hard I work or how talented I am, I learned a long time ago that nobody owes me shit. It may sound harsh but learning that lesson early on has kept my expectations realistic and given me an incredible amount of self reliance and humility. I’ve worked alongside plenty of artists who had some level of success early on and have gone on to having to be in the trenches with the rest of us who have never caught a big break. I admire their humility (sometimes, at least) but it’s gotta be hard to sleep on floors once you’ve slept in a hotel room. As crazy as it sounds, I think my slow burn has kept me from getting used to any special treatment. When I do get to sleep in a hotel room or am given anything other than well drinks and PBR, I’m thrilled!

We’re not doctors, teachers or lawyers. There is no surefire credential or internship that will land us in a prestigious position. You can’t google the standard salary for a musician and then walk into a job interview and ask for it. We don’t get raises after a probationary period and we damn sure don’t get health insurance or a 401k. For most of us, our success is all about luck, determination and timing. We could spend the whole arc of our careers chasing fame and fortune and never attain it. This is a real fear for almost all of us and it’s not an unfounded one. We are quite literally gambling years of our lives. Because of the high risk involved, it is especially important that we don’t take the small things for granted our put our lives on pause while we wait for something to happen. That is the most dangerous gamble of all: missing out on experiencing our careers entirely while waiting for the phone to ring.

Like most young singers, I spent my early days hoping I would get discovered, sign a record deal and make millions of dollars. Instead of my fancy record record deal, I went to college. After receiving a degree in music I had a long series of career opportunities that didn’t pan out. I spent my early 20s becoming anorexic and then spending years battling with it and recovering from it. I got into a toxic relationship, and then another one. In my mid 20s I moved to New York City spent four years leading a funk a band that didn’t go anywhere before I finally found some direction. My point is, life happens, shit takes time and even then it often doesn’t work out. Some of us take longer to learn our lessons and find our groove than others. I always knew I had a unique voice and it took me years to develop my signature sound. By the time I decided to reinvent myself as an indie solo artist named Corina Corina, I was already in my 30s. In pop culture years for a woman, that’s ancient.

So there I was, finally writing honest songs that were very true to who I was, pulling from the soul, hip-hop, blues and pop influences that had inspired me throughout my life. Perhaps it was my age or the fact that I had been through so much, but once I arrived to the place I was searching for, I knew I didn’t have time to waste. I was hungry. I was tired of making excuses and getting distracted like I had in my 20s. It was my time.

My debut album, The Eargasm was a great first effort. I felt like my whole life had lead up to this moment, I put everything I had into it’s release and after a few positive blog reviews and a hugely successful release show in Brooklyn, everyone else moved on. I was devastated. I had been waiting for this moment my whole life and I thought everyone else was waiting as well. It quickly became apparent that they weren’t. Even my closest friends and family may not have listened to the album more than once. I wasn’t picked up by a record label or “discovered.”

I didn’t have what I thought I’d always wanted. What I did have was my own album. Every song was written by me and the artwork and packaging were beautiful. Once in awhile someone would download my album or sing along to a song at a live show. If I had hit the big time my first time out, these may have felt like little things. But for me, there were no little things. Now, as I gear up to complete my third album and begin my life over again in NYC, I vow to you all, my ride or dies, that no matter what happens in my career, I will never miss the little things.

 

Xo,

Corina

Eargasm release TBT

 

ADIOS BARBIE: THE FEMME DATING DILEMMA04 / 06 / 2017

For most of my adult life I’ve been seen as a femme: a feminine-presenting queer cis woman. I share my frustrations with others about our invisibility as queer women in our heteronormative culture. The only times I’ve felt visible within a queer couple is I’ve had a more masculine-presenting female partner. This type of coupling has its own hardships but in most cases, we’ve been seen by outsiders, as a couple. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case when I’m with another femme.

After 15 years of dating as a queer woman, I’ve become hyper-aware of the attention femme couples attract within our misogynistic society. I’m not entirely proud to admit that in my early years of dating I didn’t question the microaggressions and oversexualization I experienced. I accepted the catcalling, objectifying and blatant disrespect as the norm. I had never experienced anything different. I don’t have all answers but I can begin a dialog and commit to exposing this behavior.

Read it here.

AN ODE TO (MY LIFE WITH) NAS04 / 06 / 2017

As a teenager, my greatest joy in life was to get high and watch Rap City on BET. Although I grew up in Cali, the sounds coming out of New York in the late 90s resonated with me and I quickly become a connoisseur of acts like Lost Boyz, MC Lyte, Redman, Salt-N-Pepa and Wu-Tang Clan…And then came Nas.
nas performing
Nothing at the time compared to how I felt the first time I heard Nas’ first album, Illmatic. To this day, listening to “Memory Lane” instantly alters my mood. The magic between him and DJ Premier was and still is undeniable. Listening to that record in its entirety is like visiting with an old friend. It feels as good to me now as it did when I was a teenager.
Read it here.

INDIE ON THE MOVE: TIPS FOR MAINTAINING YOUR MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH DURING A TOUR04 / 06 / 2017

“I have a love/hate relationship with touring. For all the incredible memories I have from years on the road, it was also stressful, exhausting and emotionally taxing. I’ve read hundreds of DIY music blogs about touring that emphasize the importance of self care but only begin to scratch the surface. We all know the value of proper nutrition and exercise but emotional health is rarely discussed in depth. After years of DIY touring, I have learned some very specific tricks on how to take care of myself in order to stay sane in the middle of insane circumstances. This begins with prioritizing and being protective of essential things such as rest, quiet time, connection and personal boundaries.

Read it here.