Like many adolescent girls, Ericka Corban started writing poetry as a young teenager. When a friend from church presented her with her first guitar, the poems turned into lyrics and the lyrics turned into songs and the 14-year-old Corban knew she knew was onto something.
A church youth leader was Corban’s first teacher, and she cut her performing teeth while singing and playing in front of her congregation. After graduating from Elma High School, the budding musician attended Grays Harbor College and studied music theory and ear training as well as voice.
For many would-be singer-songwriters, that might be the end of the story, but Corban forged ahead, continuing to write and perform, and now the 30-year-old mother of four is starting to reap the benefits of years of hard work.
Over the past year, her music has been played in Starbucks stores around the world, and sales of her recordings have picked up as a result of the exposure. “I was performing at Mill 109 Pub and Restaurant in Seabrook, Washington on a fairly regular basis, and a Starbucks exec was there and enjoyed my music,” she says about her break. “After some paperwork and mailing CDs, my music was playing in the loop at Starbucks stores globally.” Although they don’t directly sell her CDs, purchasing information about her recordings is available in the stores.
“I most enjoy playing concerts with my husband,” Corban says about her musical and life partner, Mattaniah. The two met in music theory class at Grays Harbor College after both had been away from Grays Harbor County for an extended period. “It seems as though fate brought us back at the same time. After one week together we had set our wedding date, and it never changed.” The couple enjoys playing concerts together and wrote and recorded a collection of original music together, Intertwined: The Butler and the Maid.
Although she slots her music in the Pop/Folk/Acoustic lane, Corban’s inspirations are fairly diverse. “I grew up listening to a mix of oldies, country and contemporary Christian music, so my early influences were The Eagles, The Beach Boys, Martina McBride, Steven Curtis Chapman & Susan Ashton,” she says of her formative years.
“As I grew into finding my own ear for music I realized that I deeply love almost all genres. I fell in love with Frank Sinatra, U2, Shakira, Yo-Yo Ma, French Lounge music and Civil Wars. People who I’ve been likened too are: Norah Jones, Sarah McLachlan & Adele. All of the aforementioned artists and more influence my writing, depending on what mood I’m in and what I want the song to feel like.”
The work Corban does with her husband is reminiscent of the collaborative songs of Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, simple harmonies coupled with guitar and piano and no extraneous accompaniment.
The couple, married for nearly 9 years, live in Aberdeen. In addition to homeschooling their four children, Ericka gigs between two and six hours per week and works as a church musician. Mattaniah is a DJ/radio personality at Sunny 102.1 in Aberdeen.
Right now, “The music pays almost half of the bills,” she says. With increased exposure, the couple hopes to up their bookings and would love to be able to pay all their bills through their music.
“I don’t know that I necessarily chose music, so much as I was chosen to do music,” Cordon says. “If I had just decided that I wanted to make a go as a musician I would have quit a long time ago – because it’s exhausting, discouraging, expensive, and time consuming. But I can’t stop. When I’ve tried to forget about it, it keeps coming back and I’m drawn like a moth to the flames.”
“I have an instinct of sorts to simply return to making music – there’s more than a desire to create something new and compelling. I think it’s that challenge and the subsequent satisfaction. Once I feel I’ve done it, that provides me unending pleasure,” she says.
Songwriting is the major draw for Corban. She enjoys live performing but knows that’s her biggest challenge. “I most enjoy writing and recording. The performance is exhilarating – when the stars align as it were – but there’s so much scrutiny in it for me. I feel like I haven’t yet become the performer that I want to be, so I’m self-scrutinizing and, frankly, I’d often prefer to just play from behind a curtain. But I know I’ll only get better the more I do it and put myself out there and take critique as it comes.
While Corban includes some covers in her live shows, most of her music is original. It is available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon (search “Ericka Corban) and most can be heard at www.erickacorban.bandcamp.com and at www.erickacorban.com
Ericka is available for solo bookings as well as with her husband, Mattaniah Corban. They can be reached at 360-581-5150 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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