At 23, local gospel singer/songwriter Corey Barksdale has already stood on quite a few stages and the next one will be in Sweden.
This fall he will perform in a Nat King Cole Tribute, he said. In the past he has performed in Jerusalem, the Netherlands, Amsterdam and even the Apollo Theatre in New York City. Currently he is promoting two songs he wrote, “You’re Irreplaceable” and “Persona.” “Persona” debuted on Bonnerfide Radio Morning Show, a four time Stellar Award nominated online station.
The Southside native has had many doors open for him, he said. In 2010, he was invited by BET Music Matters artist Jonathan McReynolds to cowrite and record on “Why.” Barksdale has been fortunate enough, he said, to make national appearances on “The Steve Harvey Talk Show” and “Rejoice in the Word,” on the Word Network. He performed at the 2014 Gospel Fest June 28.
Barksdale said he counts all of his blessings because he knows every opportunity has come from above.
Singing has been apart of his life since he was three-years-old, he said.
“I don’t remember talking without singing, I don’t remember having any type of conversation with anyone without being a singer,” Barksdale said.
He might be young, but he said he realized at an early age the importance of giving back.
“I’m a giver, that’s one big part of me,” he said. “Every job I work in is about giving and it’s about being in service to other people.”
Between working on his music and performing, the Chicago native works as a mentor with One Summer Chicago, which gives youth jobs during the summer months. And if that’s not enough, he also dedicates time to helping parents and students find resources like transportation.
The songwriter said he can’t imagine his life without music because it has always played a role in his life. If he hadn’t had the option of choosing it as a career, he said he could see himself going into the business field. At Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy, where he attended high school, he had a teacher, he said, who got him interested in entrepreneurship.
“He became a mentor of mine and really helped me to develop that passion for business,” he said. “I really thought that instead of being this professional singer I would just flat out be an entrepreneur.” He said he plans to make room for both in the future.
Creating “Persona” was personal for Barksdale because the song came from real life feelings and experiences about trying to fit in, he said.
“I try to be honest and say hey I was one of those people who really struggled to be themselves because I wanted other people to appreciate me and still be cool with me,” he said. The song is about loving who God made you to be, he said.
Barksdale encourages other new artists to do that.
“As you’re coming up and figuring out who you are, take ownership of who you are and try your best not to imitate anybody else, then you will be the most successful,” he said.
The music artist said he never would have imagined being where he is now a few years ago, but now that he is here, he thanks God everyday.
“I have definitely always been taught to believe in myself and believe anything is possible with God,“ he said. “When I have that confidence, I know anything is possible, but at the same time all the opportunities [I’ve had] were all big surprises to me,” he said.
“Persona” can be heard on Rejoice 102.3 WYCA Radio. To stay up-to-date with Barksdale, follow him on Twitter @CoreyBarksdale and like his fan page on Facebook.