Since the remarkable age of 2, jazz organist, pianist, and gospel musician, Cory Henry, has performed music and demanded the attention of crowds all across the globe. Henry was born and raised in the city of Brooklyn, where he developed an atypical ear and unbreakable connection to music while attending services and gatherings at his local Christian Pentecostal church. You might have seen Cory Henry at the Grammy Awards a few years ago with his former ensemble, Snarky Puppy, or maybe even 23 years ago when he performed at Manhattan’s Apollo Theater at the age of 6. Whether you’ve already experienced Cory’s music or not, there’s not better time to witness his live performance than this Friday in Williamsburg.
With support from New York-based Rhythm & Stealth, Cory Henry and his new band, The Funk Apostles, are slated to deliver their soulful brand of funk music at Brooklyn’s newest music venue, The Hall at MP, on Friday, February 10th. This is a hometown show for Cory, which he tells us in this interview is a very big and very special deal to him as a musician and individual. Expect a particularly memorable performance on Friday riddled with new music, deep jams, and undeniable vibes. Advance tickets are still available via Ticketweb – this is not a show to miss!
CEG: Hey Cory, thanks for taking some time here to catch up ahead of your show on Friday at The Hall at MP. To kick things off, what do you have in store for Friday’s show? You were born and raised in Brooklyn, so these types of hometown shows must be particularly special!
Cory Henry: I can’t wait to play in Brooklyn. Yes, my home town! This is where I was born and raised on the streets of Bed-Stuy. Brooklyn is such a special place. A mix of cultures and people from all over now resides here. It’s great to come home after traveling and feel the love from some of the people you’ve known for the longest time. Brooklyn Friday night is gonna be a party! We’re playing new music and we’re ready to tare the roof off this weekend.
CEG: Tell us about the origins of Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles. How did you, Adam, Taron, Nick and Sharay first get together to start making music?
Cory Henry: The Funk Apostles started January 2015. The group was based off of a few conjuring ideas that’ve been in my head for years. Prior to January 2015, I had met each of the members of the band either in passing or working with other groups. Each story is really unique (and would take forever to tell), and each player comes from a different part of the country. In each separate conversation, I told these guys I wanted to make music with them, and that’s what we ended up doing! The timing was right all around and we haven’t stopped since. We’ve played over 250 gigs together to this point.
CEG: What new music do the Funk Apostles have in the works? Are there conversations about a potential 2017 studio album?
Cory Henry: The Funk Apostles are currently working on our first studio project to be released in early 2017. The music is funky, of course, but also soulful. I can’t wait for the world to hear this one. I think its my best project yet.
CEG: What process does the band take when writing and recording new material?
Cory Henry: We are still working on a process as it changes daily. Because we spend lots of time on the road, we’ve adapted the mentality of making music anywhere, which is pretty unconventional of course, but it works well for us. I write most of the concepts and send demos to the band. Once the band gets it, it becomes something else. The process to our first record, even though tedious, was necessary because working this way brings the band closer, and that makes the music better.
CEG: Looking back at your personal background, tell us a bit about your history and career in music. What band or musician would you point to as an important source of influence?
Cory Henry: I’ve been playing music since the age of 2. I grew up in a Christian Pentecostal church called Unity Temple, which is where I received hands-on training by being able to watch and develop my ear. I also took Jazz Studies during high school and started playing secularly at the age of 17. I’m influenced by so many people like James Brown, Herbie Hancock, Billy Preston, Prince and Stevie Wonder. These artists play and create music that bridge the gaps between the songs they sing and the lives they live.
CEG: Now looking to the future, apart from new music, what goals do you have for The Funk Apostles over the next couple years?
Cory Henry: I’m so focused on letting the music dictate my goals, that way I’ll be happy with whatever results come my way. I would love to win awards and things of that nature, but I want to focus our efforts on trying to do our part in changing the world through our music.
CEG: Finally, I like to end interviews with an open forum. Is there anything else you’d like to share here that we didn’t cover?
Cory Henry: We are doing so much this year and we wanna just tell everybody, how many bodies? Everybody! You can find updates about me at CoryHenry.com.