Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cory Henry’s childhood existed within the pages of sheet music. “I always took an interest in music,” he fondly recalls. His mother was a multi-instrumentalist, playing the keys, organ, drums, saxophone, and bass, along with being the lead choir director at their local Pentecostal church. When Cory was just two, his mother was preparing for choir rehearsal and was practicing notes on the organ, to which he followed suit. “I played the notes right behind her,” he says. Recognizing her son’s innate ability, she sat him down at the organ and they played together. Their first song was “Amazing Grace.” By three, Cory was prolifically playing the organ at church to a pleasantly stunned congregation. Pentecostal masses on Sundays run in excess of six hours, with even weekday meetings for Bible study and choir practice. Cory was in the middle of all of it, providing the soundtrack. “Sunday was like my full-time job at the age of 5 years old,” he says with a laugh, as during the week he learned music for five different choirs, ranging from children to adults. By six, he was performing at the famed Apollo Theater. “My family strapped up the organ, put it in the van, and drove it up to Harlem,” he remembers. It was clear that a star was being born. “I remember one of the ministers at the church asked if when I grew up I would play for the church or the world,” he adds. “ I yelled, ‘the world!’ Something about ‘the world’ sounded right to me.” He foreshadowed his own fate. Once he reached high school, Cory would sneak into the back of New York’s rising star venue The Village Underground to watch performances and experience a new kind of live music. “They really had me coming back because I never saw an organ outside of church before,” he explains. When a spot opened as the organist at the venue, the job was given to Cory. Celebrities were always showing up to scope out new talent, and one fortuitous evening, veteran Jazz musician Kenny Garrett took notice of Cory’s skills. He later brought him on tour with him for years.
While the songs will have new and returning Cory Henry fans eagerly tuned in, his main mission is to bring people together with his music. “Music is a universal language,” he says. “I’ve traveled to so many different countries where we did not speak the same language, but they identified with the sounds and it made people happy. I get instant gratification out of making people happy.”
In his latest album, “Something To Say”, Cory Henry made music to fulfill himself and he is hoping to spread that message to the world. “I feel good because all of the songs came together and they mean something to me,” he humbly advises, “so I hope they mean something to other people.”