My heart is bleeding/Paper cut from reading page one? --?Diary? ?When I write a song,? says singer-songwriter-producer TINO COURY, ?I want a beat you can dance to, a great track?but also a story. There has to be a heart to it.? Witness ?Diary,? the 21-year-old Pittsburgh-bred, L.A.-based artist's new single. ?I read your diary,? Coury sings over the track's throbbing groove, ?and it said that you weren't in love with me.
?When I write a song,? says singer-songwriter-producer TINO COURY, ?I want a beat you can dance to, a great track?but also a story. There has to be a heart to it.?
Witness ?Diary,? the 21-year-old Pittsburgh-bred, L.A.-based artist's new single. ?I read your diary,? Coury sings over the track's throbbing groove, ?and it said that you weren't in love with me.? The heartbreak mounts as each page offers a new puzzle piece of his lover's betrayal. It's a canny combination of exhilarating pop, slamming beats and lyrical drama, which is the essence of Coury's craft.
The single is impacting radio airwaves in March 2010 and is set for digital release May 4. Coury--signed to indie label Eleventh Records, distributed through Universal's Fontana--will release a full-length album later in the year.
?Diary? showcases not only Coury's urgent vocals and flair for sparkling hooks, but also the multi-instrumentalist's substantial production chops. ?I started with a straight piano line as a loop,? he recalls of the song's creation. ?I had the lyrical concept, and the melody and the words started coming for the hook. I then started building the track adding the drums and synths--I wanted it to have a little bit of a club feel.?
Coury is about to be a force in pop music just as he was a star athlete in high school. It wasn't until he suffered a sports injury that he decided to put a hold on finishing college and pursue his true destiny. Since then, he has devoted himself to music with the same fervor, drive and commitment he once did to sports.
?Music was always in me,? says Coury, whose full name is Robertino, the second-oldest of eight children. ?Even as a little kid, I was listening to the radio, imitating, and making believe I played the guitar and drums.?
Through his teenage years, Coury poured his passion into sports, first considering music a hobby, as he taught himself how to play the guitar, cribbing from a Blink-182 tab book, then piano, bass and drums until finally he was writing his own original songs. ?When I was in eighth grade or so, I loved Blink-182 and Green Day,? he recalls. ?I was into hip-hop and pop too, but those punk-rock tunes were so amazing. I got the guitar tabs and starting learning to play the songs, which were simple but incredibly catchy. Blink really influenced my songwriting.?
His parents would buy him various pieces of recording equipment--a four-track, microphones, monitors and software like the ProTools rig--on special occasions, rather than giving him traditional gifts. Coury would then learn how to use them to produce his own music in the basement laundry room of their home.
While fully expecting to continue his higher education on a football scholarship, Coury suffered a freak injury on the football field his senior year of high school, derailing his plans of continuing to play and causing him to take stock of his future.
?My music started developing and sounding really good, so I wanted to devote all my concentration to it,? he says. ?It became an outlet for my competitive drive. All the discipline, practice, and commitment I learned on the playing field became handy when I put my full attention on music."
Coury is an unabashed fan of Top 40 beats, hooks and sing-along choruses, but his musical tastes, as reflected in his tuneful songs, run broad and deep. ?I go across the board,? says Coury. ?I love to listen to the radio, but I also keep tabs on the indie world, to kind of get ideas about how to experiment.?
His own songs turn real-world situations into danceable pop epiphanies, like the sing-song rap rhythm of ?Miss America,? his playful search for Miss Right (?I'm gonna wish on a star/For a GPS to show me right where you are?), with its yearning vocals and U2/The Police chant into the fade. ?Leave Me My Pen? is a nod to his own creative drive (?I need to get it out/I've got so much to write about/And now it's my turn to put it down?), while ?Diary? is a playful tweak at
something we've all wanted to do.
?My influences come from so many different places, whether it's the things I've gone through in my own relationships, a film that sparks an idea that clicks, or something that a friend has experienced that I can relate to,? he says of his song topics. ?I don't try to force it, though. I wait until the inspiration comes to me. I have to feel it in order to write. In the end, for me, it's about telling a story.?
Coury's story is just getting written.
While several of his songs, including ?Promise,? have received local radio airplay in his hometown, Coury has been preparing to launch his career by stockpiling his assets?writing and recording music in L.A. with hit producer Alex Cantrall (Fantasia, Dru Hill), who worked on JoJo's smash single, ?Leave (Get Out).?
?We've developed a great chemistry together,? says Coury. ?Alex really has allowed me work with him and be part of every aspect of the recording process from the drum programming all the way to vocal production. We just really clicked and started developing some great material together.?
One listen to songs like ?Diary?--mixed by Grammy winner Manny Marroquin (Usher, Alicia Keys)--or ?Memory,? and you know Coury has what it takes to make it in the music business. He has the chops of a professional musician and the charisma of a star athlete, a tough combination to resist.
?I see myself as a performer,? says Coury, ?someone like Justin Timberlake,? who in fact gets a playful shout-out in ?Diary.? ?I went to his Future Sex/Lovesounds tour and it was just amazing.?
And while he's now focused on his own music, Coury one day hopes to produce, write and develop other artists.
?The current transformation in the music business offers a variety of opportunities for somebody with my background,? Coury says. ?I can be in more control of what I'm doing as a producer, songwriter and performer. This has become my life, my career, and one day, I'd really like to make it my business.
"But for today, I want to stay focused on driving my own transformation as an artist. I've performed in front of large crowds as an athlete, and now I can't wait to perform in front of large audiences of my fans. I want to give people that same rush I feel when I'm watching my favorite artists.?
For Tino Coury, tomorrow is about to arrive today.