For Portsmouth, VA native Corte Ellis, the gift of music revealed itself almost as early as he was able to speak, his mother would say. Her first memory of his attempts to sing goes back to the age of two. He was, after all, the son of two singers, the offspring of a family of musicians. By elementary school, Corte was sharing his gift with the world, thanks to his involvement with his church choir, following in his mother’s footsteps, and his participation in school plays. By junior high school, he was ready to start working. Already a popular student, Corte was recruited by four classmates to become one of the lead singers of their R&B group New Image. It wasn’t long before, motivated by a desire to do more than sing songs already popularized by other artists, Corte started writing original music for his crew. And thus began the symbiotic relationship between his aspirations as a singer and his career as a songwriter. Despite the lack of commitment from most of the members of his group, Corte soon realized that music offered him something he had searched for his whole life.
As the youngest of three boys, with three younger sisters behind him, he was constantly seeking a better life for his family. Like many youngsters of his generation, he was, of course, faced with the temptation of relying on the streets. And while he did fall pray for short bouts of time, he learned from the errors of others that the street life offered more perils than hope. With an undeniable talent, Corte found many in his community willing to support his desire to succeed in music. By the time he graduated high school and was ready to kick start his career, however, he lost his most adamant supporter to prison. But as they say: when one door closes, another is bound to open. Only days later, a talent competition at a local nightclub turned into Corte’s first taste of statewide exposure. Under the tutelage of the club’s owner, Monte Marshall, he recorded his first independent album, even garnering regional airplay with the song “Independent Woman.” His growing reputation led to an apprenticeship of sorts with producer Will Skillz, who would teach Corte the art of creating a record. And that relationship would become the foundation of his successful partnership with New Jersey-based production duo the Soul Diggaz. Since their first major label placement with the song “Penny Candy,” for RCA recording group Strong, the trio has enjoyed continuous success. Despite the ups-and-downs of the recording industry, their incredible talent and impeccably maintained relationships have allowed them to work with R&B heavyweights like Beyonce, Monica, Fantasia and Tweet, with Corte crafting the lyrics while the Soul Diggaz created the beats. Still, Corte kept his goal of succeeding as a performer and recording artist in his own rights in sight. His career as a songwriter, which allowed him the opportunity to learn from some of the biggest and best names in the game would soon prove to be the greatest foundation of all.
Today, Corte Ellis is preparing the summer 2011 of his as-yet untitled SRC/Universal Records debut. While he is excited to finally have the opportunity to be the voice that will bring his words to the world, he realizes what his previous successes will mean to his future as an artist. He has already learned how to connect with his audience verbally. His life experiences also allow Corte to bring a different perspective to the male R&B arena, that of a self-professed Street Gentleman. He learned the basics from such fellow Virginia talents as Teddy Riley and Missy Elliot. He learned the art of telling a story through lyric and melody from the great Clive Davis. He picked up the skill of offering fans relatable, catchy tunes from Diddy. And from singer/songwriter, and new American Idol judge, Kara DioGuardi, he learned the idiosyncrasies of Pop music. United under the gift Corte Ellis has spent a lifetime developing, this skill set promises a legion of future fans the kind of R&B redefinition only seen once or twice in each generation.
1. Corte Ellis – Intro
2. Corte Ellis – Life Without You Feat. DKing
3. Corte Ellis – To The Grave
4. Corte Ellis – She The Boss
5. Corte Ellis – Sex In The Office
6. Corte Ellis – Therapy
7. Corte Ellis – You Deserve Better Feat. DJ Webstar
8. Corte Ellis – Richest Woman
9. Corte Ellis – Last Days
10. Corte Ellis – Pullout
11. Corte Ellis – Hello
12. Corte Ellis – Outro