HOW TO BECOME YOUR BEST
Exclusive Interview with Queen Cora
1. Queen Cora, tell us about your experience and journey in business and life.
Wow, my journey has been so full! I always say life is rhythm, a series of up beats and down beats and my life has been reflective of that. I have always been an avid expression of left and right brain use: Logic and creativity. I’m originally from Houston and the youngest of 4. I’ve always been competitive and very creative, athletic and academic. I was active in diving, relay swimming, basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, softball, and I graduated valedictorian of my high school. I started playing drums in high school and ended up changing my major to music my freshman year while studying at Howard University in WASHINGTON, DC. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance and moved to LA because I didn’t get into Juilliard School of Music. My first night in LA landed me my first gig with Phil Upchurch and the rest was history. I went on to tour with P!nk, Frank McComb, Il Divo, Zac Harmon & The Midsouth Blues Revue and so many others. I competed in the Guitar Center Music Store’s annual national Drum-Off and won! Out of over 5,000 people nationwide, I won a jeep and thousands of dollars worth of equipment. I’m the only female to ever make it to regionals, finals and to win! Eventually, Prince heard about me when I was 24, came to hear me play and offered to buy me the drumset of my dreams”! I ended up recording and touring with him for 5.5 years and had an absolutely amazing journey with him. I learned so much from him. We would talk about business, work ethic, dedication and just hang. His presence further shaped my comfort with being multi-fasciated in business and the arts.
I took a break for a little while and a few months later got a call from Kim Burse to see my availability to play drums with Beyonce which continued for about 3 years. I continued to evolve as a producer and leader and learned another level of strategy, creativity and passion sharing time and space with Beyonce.
I took a little more time for myself and, as of late, I’ve been on a World Tour with, Italian artist, Zucchero. In the midst of all of that, I started a production and publishing company, wrote 2 books for youth and young adults. This year I have also launched a construction company where I take shipping containers and make residential, recreational and commercial structures and ship them to clients wherever they need them. So life has been quite exciting!
2. Queen Cora, what is your greatest accomplishment that you are so proud of and why?
My greatest accomplishment is 2-fold. I am proud to say I am the only musician to have performed in two of the NFL’s Top Ten Super Bowl Half-time Shows. In 2007 with Prince and 2013 with Beyoncé. I am proud because it showed me that my drive, dedication to excellence, risk-taking and sincerity to love and live life to the fullest will only continue to allow me to experience life in the grandest way, not just once, but over and over again.
3. Queen Cora, what advice would you give to someone aspiring to get your same level of success as a drummer and businesswoman?
The best advise I can offer is to be true to yourself. Be the most sincere expression of your being, with the resources you have and who you know yourself to be at that moment. I say that because oftentimes we live life in regret of what we could have done better or what we wish we had and if you settle in the thought that you offered the greatest effort you could, then it doesn’t get any better than that. You only grow and you love yourself through that growth. That type of love radiates and attracts people who will value you because they recognize that you value yourself. As a business person and drummer who happens to be a woman, my advise would also be to know your craft, know your worth and be about your business. There is definitely a greater level of intensity that you HAVE to bring to the table to merit respect and those are the tools that are essential. The other half of success is the balance of self. Spiritual, mental and physical nourishment is the conduit that I suggest be the underscore of your life’s. I eat to live, I laugh often, I cry when I feel it, I take breaks, I treat people kindly and I appreciate even the most hurtful lessons in life so I can continue to grow and be my best royal and regal self! This is sum of success as I know it!
QUEEN CORA Coleman
Cora C. Coleman, (03 September 1980) better known as Queen Cora, is an author, producer, business owner, and international drummer. She has played in cities around the world including United Kingdom, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, and Switzerland. Queen Cora is best known for being the only musician to play in 2 of the NFL’s Top 10 Best Super Bowl Half-Time Shows with both musical icons, Prince & Beyoncé. She is the only female in 28 years to win state, regional, and the national levels of the Guitar Center’s Annual Drum Off earning the title of The Nation’s Best Amateur Drummer.
Queen Cora was born in Houston Texas and graduated valedictorian of Kashmere High School. Her formal musical experience began under the tutelage of high school band director, William Portis and was active in marching and concert bands and jazz ensemble. She also was introduced to gospel music at church under the direction of Mamie L. Johnson
Queen Cora graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Performance from Howard University in Washington D.C. She is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota Professional Music Fraternity for Women, an honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma, and an honorary alumni of Howard University. Cora was a member of the Howard Dive Team. While in school, she performed with The Washington Ballet, The Washington Symphony Orchestra, The American University Orchestra, The Howard University Marching Band, Concert Band, Percussion Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble. Her expedient growth and evolution as a drummer and percussionist merited her Howard University’s first recipient of the Avedis Zildjian Scholarship for Outstanding Percussionist.
Queen Cora is the 2002 winner of the Guitar Center National Drum off and has remains constant as a celebrity judge. 2017 will begin her role as an official Guitar Center Mentor for the competitors.
Queen Cora quickly established her brand and reputation and worked with artists such as Richard Smallwood, Tom Schuman (Spyro Gyra), Yusef Lateef, P!nk, Frank McComb, Zac Harmon, Lalah Hathaway and so many others.
While performing at a Super Club in LA, she was pleasantly surprised by vocal great Rachelle Ferrell and the genius pop icon himself, Prince! After great conversation in between sets, the evening ended his assistant asked for her contact because Prince offered to buy the "drum set of her dreams". The rest was history!
Prince opened a nightclub called 3121, in Las Vegas at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino. Queen Cora can be heard on several albums and graced multiple television shows throughout their time together including the Super Bowl XLI Press Conference and historic Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show. She was proud to be on the front row to share in his BET Lifetime Achievement Award. After 5.5 years of an amazing journey she took a personal pause.
5 months later, Queen Cora started drumming with Beyonce for the promotional release of her 4th Studio Album entitled 4. She was regularly seen with massive power solos surrounded by pyrotechnics and excellent production. She was also promoted to the position of band leader. Queen Cora continued to tour with Beyonce on the Mrs Carter World Tour and had her second half time show experience playing drums with Beyonce at the Super Bowl Half-Time XLVII. She can be seen on the 2011 Glastonbury Festival | Pyramid Stage, 2011 4 Intimate Nights with Beyoncé | Roseland Ballroom, NY NY, 2012 Revel Atlantic City | Ovation Hall, New Jersey, 2013 Super Bowl XLVII halftime show | Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, 2013 Life Is But a Dream, first aired on HBO on February 16, 2013, 2013/2014 The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour | 132 Show World Tour. Queen Cora respectfully withdrew from the band January 1, 2014.
Since it's television debut in 2010, The Queen has also been the house drummer for BET’s annual Black Girls Rock Awards alongside Music Director/Keyboardist, Kim Burse. She has played with Jill Scott, Fantasia, Ledisi, Erykah Badu, Mary J Blige, Alicia Meyers, Kathy Sledge, Ciara, Estelle, Faith Evans, Lalah Hathaway, Sheila E., SWV, Coko, Raven-Symoné, Keke Palmer, Ruby Dee, Teresa Clarke, Marcelite J. Harris, Iyanla Vanzant, Kelly Price, Keyshia Cole, Marsha Ambrosius Keri Hilson, Ciara, Missy Elliott and many others.
In 2016, Queen Cora designed her own 360 degree "Cosmic Electroacoustic" drum set and released it as the closing act of the Sweetwater Sound Gear Fest along with her first edition of The Queen Cora Magazine. A month later after hearing of her and watching her videos, Italian artist, Zucchero Sugar Fornaciani, asked her to join him for his Black Cat World Tour. They traveled to 7 countries, 23 cities and performed 36 shows before 140k+ people.
In the midst of the tour, she partners with European film company Immersive VR and produced a Virtual Reality piece of her 360 performance at the historic 360 degree Royal Albert Hall called Queen Cora presents The Royal Albert Hall from the Queen's Throne.
As if world travel is not more than a lot, Queen Cora has also been an avid and active mentor. She has authored GAGU Gathering a Greater Understanding The Ultimate Life Guide for Youth, as well as, Who Am I? for Preteens & Teens. She has launched her royal line of bath robes and towels that feature her distinguished crowned Q.
Queen Cora has also kept a foot in the finance and construction world and has launched Building Simple, Inc., a cutting-edge construction company that takes solid-steel shipping containers for residential, commercial, and recreational use, and delivers to clients anywhere in the country. As a vegetarian and environmentally conscious advocate, she is proud to represent an sustainable blend of luxury, efficiency and design.
Queen Cora will continue the Black Cat World Tour for 2017.