Born in the small town of Centralia, Illinois, Corey Stevens grew up, diligently honing his guitar playing and soaking up Middle America. “Growing up in a small town, I really liked it. All my friends complained of how boring it was, but, hey, it was where I was, and I made the most of it.”
Stevens still remembers the moment when his life changed forever. In the early ‘70s, at a music festival, the announcer brought on Ike and Tina Turner. Ike and the band started playing some cookin’ music without Tina, and then the stage was completely covered in smoke. Suddenly, Tina and her back-up singers appeared dancing out of the smoke! I said to myself, “This is what I want to do for a living. It was truly an epiphany! ” From that day on, Stevens ignored the odds and pursued the dream. He knew he had a long road, but he believed in a transformation that only time could unveil.
After graduating from high school, he enrolled in college with music as his major and began an intense four-year study of classical guitar. Stevens remembers, “I learned discipline and practiced many hours a day.”
Southern California would become Stevens’ permanent home in 1980 where he played in original bands and grew restless being a sideman. He worked on songwriting and played in a few cover bands for fun.