Sometimes a dream isn’t all you’d hoped it would be; but, just as often as not, it becomes something so much more than you could have ever imagined.
So it was when the Harbor’s singer/songwriter Ericka Corban (whose been compared in style and voice to Norah Jones, Colbie Caillat, Sarah McLachlan, and Joni Mitchell) sought to rise through the ranks of NBC’s The Voice this season.
Excitement welled up inside of her when she was chosen from more than 40,000 applicants to perform a live audition before the show’s judges (which, when you pause to consider it, is an amazing compliment in itself).
Her performance wouldn’t air until four months after filming in L.A., during which time she was to keep the results of her audition under wraps. It was hard, for no chairs had turned for Ericka. She describes it as “a season of darkness”—a time of disenchantment and self-doubt in which she was unable to share her painful secret.
“I thought it would determine whether or not my music was meant for more than just friends and family,” she says. “I’ve battled through a myriad of emotions since that experience and even planned to just give up on my dreams.” If she didn’t ‘make it’ with The Voice she said she would “just go back to being a mom.”
It had been six years since she’d made an album, and she’d spent seven years playing gigs around the Harbor with hopes of a ‘successful’ music career. This stab at stardom, she’d resolved, would be the litmus test. The talented home-grown girl (raised in Elma, now living in Aberdeen) had been paying her dues for nearly a decade, so was this nothing more than a pipe dream?
“I had too much riding on it,” says Ericka. “[Now] I realize the lack of wisdom in that,” she says. After months of questioning God and self-reflection, she said that, “new songs started rising up in [her] heart,” and that she’s, “realized that anyone who has ever accomplished anything worthwhile in this life has failed a number of times. It’s the courage to get up and continue that makes all the difference. “
And the failed attempt, it turns out, may be a blessing in disguise. “In a way,” she says, “it’s kind of the best of both worlds.” She’ll not be molded by music industry producers and marketers—shaped into something she’s not—but she’ll be able to remain true to her own music and build a career on her own terms. And while she didn’t climb to the top of reality TV stardom, the show, which exposed her to 12 million viewers, has opened new doors. She says it’s given her “a measure of credibility”—another hopeful step toward the career she’s imagined for her and husband Matt—who often performs with her.
“We have to keep pushing forward,” she says, realizing that music is something inside her that has to come out. “We’re always going to make music.”
Stone Soup Artists’ Wil Russoul says, “You want to see a heart as precious as God has ever made? Or listen to a songbird whose voice is as beautiful as a sunrise? Or meet an ambassador of the best of what Grays Harbor has to offer? Then look no further than Ericka Corban.”
And so the dream is still alive and now there’s even a new album in the works. Ericka has written hundreds of songs over the last decade and the couple have chosen a baker’s dozen of the best to record. They note that making an album is expensive—musicians, mixing, mastering, marketing and more are all costs that must be covered. And so, they launched a 30-day Kickstarter campaign on June 5 to pre-sell the album and raise the needed funding. The project will be produced here in Grays Harbor and, with the exception of the producer and drummer from Seattle, will use musicians from the Harbor, too.
The songstress’s past recordings have been placed into the soundtracks of indie films, received airplay in Starbucks stores worldwide and are, of course, enjoyed by listeners around the Harbor and beyond. And now, because of her appearance on The Voice, she’s been interviewed by media nationwide and her popularity on social media has exploded, not to mention interest in booking her. As a result, she’s played in churches, coffee shops and casinos, as well as opening for Air Supply at the D & R Theater in Aberdeen and for Rodney Crowell at the Capitol Theater in Olympia (July 8). Information about upcoming concerts can be seen at erickacorban.com or on her Facebook page.
The wife and home-schooling mother of four (who’s also the author of an upcoming children’s book) finds it a bit difficult to juggle it all, even with the support of her husband. “It’s been hard for me to say ‘no,’ but I’ve had to,” she shares.
Ericka quotes Mehmet Murat ildan, saying, “‘A lighthouse is not interested in who gets its light, it just gives it without thinking. Giving light is its nature.’”
“We are grateful to do what we love and make a living at it,” says Ericka, who now knows beyond all doubt that God has called her to bring joy and light to the world through her music. “We make music,” she says, “for the people who are meant to hear it.”
Because, as Walt Disney once said, “Dreams really do come true.” Sometimes they just take a little more time and look different than expected.
Visit Ericka Corban’s Kickstarter campaign site to pre-order the upcoming album and see footage from her audition on The Voice here.
Ericka’s music can be heard and downloaded on her website.