Brad Corey



Brad Corey


I grew up in the Gamble and Huff era.  The TSOP era; "the sound of Philadelphia". (Harold Melvin and the  Blue notes. The Tramps, the Intruders, the Dells.  Then there was Fat Larry's Band, the Dells, the Delphonics,  and on and on). For the most part, these were not my major musical influences, although I did and still do  love the Delfonics.  Music has always been a huge part of my life. 

As a young boy, 6 - 7 yrs old I took drum lessons.  But I would  come home, toss my practice book in the corner and turn on the radio so I could play along with those songs.  Never mind practicing "left, right, left", etc.  So mom stopped paying for lessons.  When I was around 9 or 10  my cousin and I took great pleasure in changing the lyrics of almost all Smokey Robinson songs into dirty  lyrics that he and I would sing.  So much fun!  I knew then that I wanted to write songs when I grew up. 

As a  teen, oddly enough I hung with a group of guys who were heavy into music.   There was a lot going on in the  street in those days with neighborhood gangs, black Muslims, civil rights  movements, etc.  But all me and my friends wanted to do everyday was get together in John Lee's basement  and play records all day.  We'd sing, dance, sometimes drink wine, talk about the girls etc, but that was pretty  much our daily routine.  John was the oldest and the biggest of all of us, and when he played James Brown  songs, lookout, because that boy not only could dance like James Brown; he looked like him!  

I remember getting my first cassette deck when they were a relatively new technology (like the VCR). Now I  could record music, make play lists, etc.  Man I was so fascinated John Lee, and my friends didn't see me for  about a month.  I was in my basement with my cassette deck, doin my thing!!! (Lol) I worked for a year after somehow managing to graduate from high school before going off to college in  Maryland.  The opportunity to attend college was dropped in my lap, it was not something that I had planned.   

 Therefore I had no idea what I wanted to major in.  Eventually I decided I wanted to be a recording engineer.   I was advised by the Recording Institute of America to take a split major in music and electronics.  The school  I was attending offered neither a music nor an electronics course.  I eventually dropped out after my grant  money was to last the following year. 

Soon after returning home to Philly I moved into my own apartment in Germantown.  A few weeks after  moving into my apartment I met, and fell in love with a woman named Mikki Farrow.  (Google her).  Mikki was  a professional singer/songwriter, an was several years my senior (I was only 20 - 21 years old).  But that  didn't stop anything; we were meant to be!  Mikki became my mentor, and I became her boy-toy. I moved in  with her. We were together for a number of years (before she left me and ran off to marry Billy Butler,  brother of famed singer Jerry Butler).  In the years we were together she taught me how to write music.   

The first time I stepped foot into a professional recording studio, it was with her.  She was affiliated with Gamble and Huff's rival studio; Sigma Sound!  She often worked with their top producer (and writers);  Norman Harris, Linda Creed, and others.  (Google those names). She also introduced me to a number of famous and influential people, including a producer named T-Life who was handling Evelyn Champaign King,  and Phyllis Hymen.  Through her I met Charo, the Tramps, Dennis Edwards, and others.  We wrote a song for  a woman T-Life was grooming to be his next big star but it never came to be because the young lady refused  to "play ball" and compromise her ethics for game and fortune.   

Mikki did manage to get some of our songs published with Famous Music, a song publishing arm of Gulf and Western pictures.  Not especially good for us; they publish predominately for movies scores, and tracks.  The  greatest thing that Mikki did for me (aside from teaching me how to write music), was to secure me a spot in  BMI.  She sent me on a mission to write lyrics on the spot for a rap song that was being recorded at Virtue  Recording Studio at Broad and Columbia (now Cecil B. Moore) avenue.  Reluctantly I went, put my thing  down, and the song was recorded and released.  I was now a professional songwriter!  In the years that  followed Mikki and I went our separate ways.  I eventually married, and set up my own basement studio in my  house in north Philly. Having maintained a relationship that was forged during my years with Mikki, Earl  Lewis became my greatest friend and partner.  We wrote dozens of songs together. 

While I'm basically a self  taught musician, who plays by ear and can neither read nor write sheet music, Earl was a renowned musician  of international status.  My best friend ever! I earned a living at the time by working for Amtrak and could  travel freely so I often I would ride up to New York, demos in hand, seeking record deals.  But the music  industry often wants you to compromise your morals if you want to have any success.  I've seen it with T-Life,  I've seen it when Mikki was offered a deal to write songs for an upcoming Melba Moore album (and she did  place one or more songs on that album), and I saw it again when an opportunity was given to me.  I could have possibly ended up writing hits for the Spinners but declined because of moral issues.  Another gentleman was offered that same opportunity.  His name is Bruce Hawes. Google him and you'll see he has  written a number of hits for the Spinners.  I'm not saying he compromised anything.  All I'm saying is how the  opportunity was presented to me.  But the reality is that it all fell apart when I started free basing cocaine. 

I  had my own studio in my basement.  Earl and I had formed our own band.  I had a woman named Gloria  Meriweather as my lead singer and front person.  Gloria started missing rehearsals, etc.  I found out that  some pimp had got his hooks in her and had turned her on to free basing.  Being intimately involved with her, I allowed her to turn me on as well.  That was the beginning of the end of that era.  I ended up losing my  studio, my house, my marriage, and lost contact with my best friend; Earl.  I experienced writer's block for  several years.  I'm talking 10 years or more. But it wasn't meant for me to go out like that.  I pulled myself up  by my boot straps and got off the drugs.  Then I came into a large sum of money, bought a keyboard, and the  music came back.  As fate would have it; I ran into one of the musicals that used to travel in my circle "back in  the day", a renowned and we'll known keyboard player named Lamb chops.  Lamb knew how to get in  contact with Earl and gave me Earl's phone number.  I hadn't spoke with Earl in over ten years.  Speaking  with him again put tears of joy in my eyes.  I sensed he felt the same.  We had made plans to hook up in the  next week or two, but it never happened.  Two weeks after finally locating him and contacting him, Earl died  suddenly in his sleep of a brain aneurysm. I was devastated. 

Through the years I've had moderate, and small successes with my music.  I co-produced a sound track for a  musical play called the Haven several years ago.  The play was performed at the Miriam theater on Broad &  Spruce Street, where the co-producer and I got a standing ovation for the soundtrack.   I also was hired to  produce a double CD set featuring songs by the 50' group; the Silhouettes ("Get A Job").  The CD set  features recordings taken from various sources such as phone calls, voice mails, group rehearsals, etc. as  lead ins to some of the songs.  Earl's uncle (deceased)  was a founding member of the group.  When his wife  asked me to convert material from several media platforms (records, tapes, CD's) onto a single media (a CD),  the project turned into the 2 CD set that was to be published. All the material from the various sources were  re-recorded and pre-mastered in my studio, with post-production mastering done by Pete Humphreys of  Masterwork Recording on Delaware avenue in Philly.  After I produced the CD,  and did the design and  artwork featured on the jewel case, last minute legal concerns prevented the project from being marketed to the public.  Over 500 copies of the CD had been made. Today I'm not out there trying to land a big record  deal or trying to get signed by a label or publishing company. Not like I was when I was in my youth.  I  basically write now for my own entertainment and self satisfaction.  And I'm happy with that.  However, if you  hear something you like, and want to purchase, I'd be happy with that too.  Thanks for reading, God bless.