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Behind the Bruin: Corrina Gill's humility in the spotlight

Corrina Gill is a big dreamer with a heart of gold.

Born and bred in Nashville, this junior commercial voice major grew up between the glamor of stage lights and the serenity of rolling countryside. She proudly calls famous songbirds Vince Gill and Amy Grant her parents and best friends.

It was clear to her parents that Gill had music in her bones from a young age. As “big music geeks,” they dragged her from show to show as a child. She’d wiggle and bop in her seat, feeling rhythm before she could even form words.

Naturally, Gill ended up spending her youth singing and dancing away. Though she loved both arts, dance ran the show for a while due to its rigorous nature.

The dance community, however, didn’t treat her so kindly. She felt her body type was not welcome, and at 14, her mom convinced her to “take a year off.”

“And then in that one year, I was like, ‘I’m never going back,’” Gill laughed.

Gill turned all her attention to songwriting; she found it cathartic for whatever nagged at her mind or whatever she couldn’t find a way to say in real time.

“You can't really tie a bow on a lot of things, you know, in life in general. But like, if I'm like going through something or there's a chapter in my life — whether it's happy, sad, anger evoking or whatever, or weird — to be able to write about it is kind of my way of like, okay, I can put it in a section, and I can move forward,” she said.

Gill finds the music industry, as a whole, much more “her speed” than the dance industry. Though both have a harsh reputation when it comes to self-image, Gill thinks there’s a lot more room in music nowadays to be who you want to be — at least in certain corners of it.

“What is so enticing to me about music is, in the spaces that I think music is supposed to be, it embraces every story and every sound and every person,” she said.

“I don't have as much of a cynical view, but also I'm kind of naive. And I'm a dreamer and look at it as how I want it to be rather than necessarily how it is. But it ain't really hurt me yet!”

The truth is, growing up with parents in the industry, Gill got a front-row seat to how it is.

“It's not like, you know, the ‘Hannah Montana’ show … fame isn't just this glitzy, glam, perfect thing,” she said.

But clearly, this didn’t scare Gill off. In fact, she said she couldn’t have had better role models than her parents for navigating the industry with grace, humility and kindness. And despite their busy lives, her parents never failed to show up for her.

Gill’s mom, in particular, always made sure she pursued music for the right reasons. When Gill was young, she used to spout off how she would get famous one day and stick it to those who wronged her. But her mom always brought her back to what counts: loving the work and leading with kindness.

“If fame is why you do it, I think that you lose sight of the beauty of the creativity behind it. I think that the job and the honor that we have as songwriters is to, in my mom's words, create spaces for people to inhabit. It connects us in ways that are so powerful,” Gill mused.

Much like her words, there's a sincerity and maturity to Gill’s music that seeps straight to the heart. Her serene, dulcet tones cascade over chirping birds in her newest single, “Tireswing Song,” which paints fresh love using nature as the palette:

“You feel like flowers blooming in April / The sweetest surprise but I wonder, is it too soon? / ’Cus I wanna love you as long as I’m able / I’d be crushed if we rushed it and wilted by June.”

Gill frequently uses nature as a theme in her songwriting. When she’s not studying or making music, she strolls the trails and nuzzles the fuzzy cows on her family’s Franklin, Tennessee, farm, clearing her mind and enjoying the sun on her skin.

“I would like to make enough money to have a little house with a little lake and a horse and a little stream and be able to grow my own vegetables,” Gill said.

But when it all comes down to it, Gill will be happy so long as she can sustain herself through her songwriting and reach the people she’s meant to reach.

“If that is in Madison Square Garden, that's really cool. And if it's at the same little coffee shop with the same, like, little old people that come every Sunday, that's totally fine. But I just want to be in the company of the people that I admire,” she said.

Gill will perform her original music for the first time with a full band on May 12 at the East Room. After, she plans to make headway on her first album, which she will release in spring 2023.

In the meantime, music lovers can stream Gill’s original singles “Tireswing Song” and “Swallow the Sun” on all music platforms. They can also check out her funk-soul band, The PitchPockets, which Gill described as the outlet for her gritty, groovy alter ego.

Gill’s artistry is clearly multi-faceted, ranging from dreamy finger-picking to bouncy, soulful jams. But at the heart of all her work is a sincere disposition. She was raised to see beauty in others and create from a place of love, and she’s following through.

PHOTO: Corrina Gill. Camille Bostick.

This article was written by Meagan Irby.

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