Name: Cory Irvin
Profession: Professional Musician/Producer/Songwriter
One Word That Describes You: PASSIONATE
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
To be nominated as one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction lets me know that I have captured attention through positive means. I’m elated to be considered for the acknowledgment and the opportunity to be attached to such a reputable source. The society that we live in rarely showcases and illuminates successful black men. This is truly an honor to even be considered.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
The struggle for me has always been being the best man I could be.
I started playing piano at the age of 5, and since then I’ve experienced success on many levels. However, when you release a song, an album, or even just have a great performance, the masses always demand something better than the last—no matter how great it was. It doesn’t sound like a struggle but in my industry, you are only as good as your most recent success. So, for me the struggle is simply being better.
In my case, most would simply say, “Practice more.” However, the struggle is not practical, it is mental. So I am starting to overcome this struggle, by trusting my gift. The Bible says, “Your gift will make room for you.” Simply put, the lesson here is, “believe in yourself.”
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
When I meet someone, I look for honesty, genuine motives, and a good sense of humor. Most important though, is sincerity. It is a trait that cannot be construed, it is not recognized, it is felt.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
I am currently the music director at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Miami Gardens. However, as a producer/songwriter, I am always working on different projects. Most recently, I co-produced the title track of gospel trailblazer, Jonathan Nelson’s latest CD, Fearless. I also tour with Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Jamison Ross and R&B legend Brian McKnight.
What is the best advice you ever received?
“Time does not lend itself. You have to manipulate time.” That simply means to take advantage of the time you have been given. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. How we use them is what separates mediocrity from greatness.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Stay true to your original motivation, what’s driving you. Modify, reform, or even mutate the plan, but never forget the reason you started doing what it is you do. Be deliberate and intentional with your actions. Demand respect by respecting others and having consistent integrity.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I prepare by doing loads of homework. Whether a concert or recording session, I always want to have a bulk of research to pull from when going into a creative situation.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
I unwind with rest! My schedule can be very intense and hectic, which makes it difficult to get adequate rest. My best vacation experience is when my wife and I went to Montego Bay to surprise my brother Tim for his 40th birthday. For one week, our only responsibilities were to exist at an all-inclusive resort on white sand beaches.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I’ve been fortunate to travel extensively over the last several years and to be relegated to just one place seems unfair. I have a few places: a tropical island (Montego Bay, maybe) to relax, Brussels to refocus and study, plus the history there is incredible; and Miami or Los Angeles, to work.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I am married to Danielle, with two handsome sons, Cory Jr. (9) and Adam Josiah (4). Every day before they leave for school I ask them a question, “How do you become great? “ Their response is the same every time: “Consistently making great decisions, having faith in God, and not procrastinating.” As toddlers, I taught them how to say the answer. I continue to ask the question now, to teach them how to believe in the answer. If we don’t teach our sons and daughters how to be great and not make the same mistakes older generations have made, the next generation won’t be any better than us. As black men, my sons are already at a disadvantage. I tell them that they have to be 10 times better than everyone else to really stand out. And even then they might not be chosen. Let’s continue to guide and teach our sons how to be BLACK MODERN MEN! The world needs us.
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