Bleu sits down with ATL Pop/R&B artist, Cori Sims, whose new single is startin’ something.
Featured in the VH1’s TLC biopic, CrazySexyCool, and with his hit single “Startin’ Something” receiving ample airplay, Cori Sims embodies all that it takes to make it in today’s industry – talent, dedication, and indelible style. Born Codero Benjamin Sims, Cori Sims is no stranger to the competitive, indie scene that exists in Atlanta. Beginning as early as 17 years old, Sims has already shared the stage with superstars like Fantasia, Day 26, and many more. Having signed with Atlanta-based entertainment company, Sky’s The Limit Entertainment, Sims is poised to contribute to the R&B genre, which is lacking in fresh, new talent. Bleu chats with Cori about his latest video for “Startin’ Something,” his influences, and what makes him the next artist to watch.
Kiara Gillette: You were born in Omaha, Nebraska, but raised in Atlanta?
Cori Sims: Yep, on the dot. I was an army brat I kind of just got dropped off in Omaha and raised in Atlanta. But I did go back and forth to Omaha because, you know, I got family out there. It’s rough out there. People think it’s a good town, but not really. My mom wasn’t having that. So she said you know what, you going to Atlanta. I’ve lived all around. So it was a lot of moving that I did.
KG: Does your military upbringing have any effect on your music?
CS: No, I really don’t try to discuss it too much. If anything, it’s made me tougher on my music because I’m hard on myself and I have the dedication that a lot of artists don’t have. But I don’t put it in my music, I really don’t need to because I had struggles, but it’s not that type of struggle. My mom did the best she could for me. Actually, if I wasn’t in Atlanta, I wouldn’t be where I am now. So that was an investment within itself.
KG: What were some of the influences on your music growing up?
CS: I would have to say Usher. You know, a lot of people like to say Michael Jackson, Prince… Yeah, I like them, I love them! Definitely looked up to them, but my age range, being realistic, it would be Usher. That’s the person that made me say yeah I want to sing. That’s the person I was mimicking in the mirror and running home saying I’m going to do this and I’m going to do that. So I would definitely have to say Usher.
KG: Yeah, Usher is a good one! (Laughs) You can bust a move. Who are some of your dance influences?
CS: (Laughs) I would have to say Michael.
KG: Nobody can touch Michael, for sure. So fast forward, you’re pretty much sewing your roots in Atlanta, which is a very difficult scene to start off in. How did you link up with D4L? “Laffy Taffy” (2005) was a big hit.
CS: This is how this went down. I have a manager, his name is Demetrius. At the moment, at the time, I did not know that he was managing one of the members out of D4L the group, which was Stuntman. One day he was like yo get your stuff we’re going to go to the studio. I didn’t ask no questions. So I got my stuff and we went to the studio. And as I was sitting there, Stuntman walked in like this was right around the time they had “Laffy Taffy,” you know, so they was on. So I knew exactly who they was and I had this smirk on my face ‘cause I realized where I was and what was going on. So after I left the studio, my manager told me I wasn’t going to tell you, but you’re not the only person that I manage, I manage [Stuntman] too. I ended up doing a song with him, getting a little fan base off that. And then I basically ended up meeting Shawty Lo, did a couple of songs with him. He sat me down… and we just pretty much chopped it up from there. We had a very, very, very good relationship. So celebrity-wise and business-wise those were the first two people that I worked with. That’s how that whole story goes with that.
KG: So was Shawty Lo a mentor to you?
CS: We still communicate. I have to honestly say yeah! And if he’s not a mentor, then I would say that he’s somebody that me growing up that I looked up to because they were on. They didn’t have to waste their time with me. They showed me a lot of ropes. So yes, I would definitely say both of them, I wouldn’t leave Stunt out ‘cause I met Stunt first. So yeah shout out to both of them.
KG: How difficult is the scene in Atlanta? I feel like so much of the focus is on Hip Hop and not R&B and Pop.
CS: (Singing) It’s so hard out here in Atlanta! It’s so many artists out here that want to rap and sing and they want to do this and that. It’s just really hard, it’s very saturated. It’s a lot of celebrities out here and it’s a lot of people that want to be on. And that’s my outlook on it. My outlook on the music industry period, if you going to make it period, let alone Atlanta, you got to have a different style, a different look. Bring something to the table that’s different. A super-duper strong ass grind, a good management, a good assistant like Kia. You got to have your team because honestly it’s not going to happen, either major or independent. I’ve had them both. And honestly, independent is dope because that’s for me. And I also know that if you don’t have the team, you’re not going to make it. If you don’t have the dedication and something new like even the dedication, I mean you can be the hottest artist out, but if you don’t have something different, a different look a different sound, and you’re actually talented, it’s not going to happen. It’s just not. You also have to know the right people to be in the right places. That’s how I feel about it.
KG: I wish I could sing like you ‘cause that was the best answer. (Laughs)
CS: (Laughs) Thank you.
KG: So we have “Startin’ Something” your music video and your song that’s out right now. Tell me about the project and what’s going on with that.
CS: The song is hot! You know, I’m a Pop/R&B singer, but I came out with a R&B hit and just trying to bring back real R&B. I feel like I did my thing. It took a lot of dedication to do this video. The video was shot by [Marv L. West]. Like I said, it’s just real R&B and that’s what I wanted to put out. The track was produced by T.C., he’s done songs for people like Brandy and Tamar Braxton. I think it’s something fresh. Something that I think the ladies will appreciate and are appreciating.
KG: Is there a mix tape or album coming out?
CS: No… It could be on the album, but it’s definitely not going to be on the mix tape. Right now we’re working on the one song “Startin’ Something.” We’re going to push that and see where that goes.
KG: Is the song available for download?
CS: Yes, go to soundcloud.com/corisims.
Words By: Kiara Gillette
Photography By: Seats Photographix
Stylist: Zoe Dupree