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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

From ODU to Topping the Music Charts

By Denise Watson

Corey Michael Blount, 28, has always enjoyed learning about different cultures. It was the multiethnic campus that drew him to Old Dominion University.

Growing up in Richmond, he attended private schools that were either nearly all-black or all-white. "But at ODU, you had a lot of people mixing with each other," he said. "It was really cool."

He received a bachelor's degree in international studies in 2013. He ended up pursuing another career path, but he maintained his global focus.

He's now a music producer in Hollywood, creating beats for and with musicians whose work is known worldwide. One of the songs he worked on was No. 1 in New Zealand, Australia and Kurdistan. Another made the top 10 in New Zealand.

And he's changed his name - slightly.

His last name is pronounced "Blunt." "I was going to the weed capital of the world," he says, joking about California's openness to marijuana. "I didn't want my name to become a professional joke."

His professional name is Corey Michael.

Now let's go on a magical, musical tour with Corey Michael.

Richmond: Corey Michael grew upsurrounded by music. In 1999, his father, Carlton Blount, became the lead singer of the popular R&B group The Main Ingredient - known for classics like "Everybody Plays the Fool." World-class musicians circled through the Blount house like a turntable, but Corey Michael didn't want to follow them into the spotlight. He used to say: "It was interesting, but not enough for me to get interested in music."

Norfolk: One of Corey Michael's gifts before starting Old Dominion was a computer with music production software. By his junior year, he was obsessed with the sounds he could churn in his room at University Village Apartments.

Hollywood: In 2015, Corey Michael moved to Los Angeles and into the music scene. He networked with producers like rapper and fellow Richmonder Mad Skillz. He started working with songwriter and producerJean-Baptiste, who had an international A-list roster includingBlack Eyed Peas, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, English band Rudimental and Italian rapper Gue Pequeno.

Corey Michael wrote the 2017 hit "Tired AF" with songwriter Jvzel; it has been streamed more than 1 million times on Spotify.

New Zealand: In 2017, Corey Michael bonded with singer Nouri at a party while playing the video game "Fortnite." That night, they wrote the song "Where Do We Go From Here?" Released in November 2018,it grabbed the top spot on New Zealand's charts and also was a hit in the Middle East and North Africa. The video has garnered more than 1 million views on YouTube.

Corey Michael was the male voice on the song. But he wanted credit for only the producing. "I'm a super-behind-the-scenes person," he said. It was also Nouri's first release, and he wanted the focus to be on her. Their second collaboration, "Favorite Goodbye," was recently released. It was a hit in New Zealand.

South Korea: Corey Michael has created music with South Korean rapper CL. She was already a major K-Pop star before snaring the attention of American audiences when she wowed at the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics last year.

Australia: Rapper Iggy Azalea made international music waves in 2014 when she released her "The New Classic" album, which contained several hits including the earworm "Fancy." One of the hooks of that song - "I'm in the fast lane, from L.A. to Tokyo" - could apply to Corey Michael. In 2018, she used one of his tracks for her song "Shade."

This article appears in the summer issue of Monarch magazine. To read more of the magazine, go to www.odu.edu/monarchmag.

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