“Abba Father” is the recently released single by soulful singer Katrice Cornett. While some may know the Jersey-based gospel gal from her song “I Am Your Child”, she probably gained more prominence as the mother and manager of former “American Idol” contestant Jermaine Jones. The truth is, however, Cornett’s involvement with music began at a very young age.
Cornett elaborates: “I was introduced to music by my father, the late Donald W.T. Cary, who was an awesome musician as well. In my family music is in our DNA. At the age of four I experienced my first public performance by singing a lead to ‘Oh Happy Day’ by Walter Hawkins with our family gospel group. I cried through the whole performance but I made it through, and here I am today.”
Cornett recalls her “first project, Brand New Day ‘Live’, was released in January 2006.” A few years later she “released a single in 2010 named ‘I Am Your Child’ which was supposed to be the lead promotional song for my second project at the time. We had to put it on hold due to issues with the band, and I was going through a divorce, and life just happened.”
Perhaps another reason her music was temporarily set aside was because she took on the task of managing her son’s singing career. The most well-known event in her son’s career to date was his appearances on the show “American Idol”. No fan of reality TV in general, your often opinionated penman probed Cornett regarding her personal feelings about reality TV in general and her son’s involvement.
Cornett was surprisingly candid: “I think that reality TV is not reality. I really don’t watch it much because I’m sort of a private person, or at least I was until my son Jermaine Jones made it on to ‘American Idol’ Season 12.”
Cornett confessed: “Boy was that a wake-up call. Being raised in a Christian family taught us to keep our dirty laundry out of the public eye. Well, reality TV is just the opposite of that. I think that ‘American Idol’ is more about the image then the talent. They give you the impression that they are interested in you, your family, and your dreams, yeah right!”
Cornett continued: “There are certain things that make for good TV and reality shows aren’t exempt from (those) criteria. The talent was great the season that my son was on, however, there is nothing in place for these young people when their dream is crushed and they get sent home. In all actuality you have to have an awesome gift to make it to the top 24 out of all those people who tryout all around the world. To be honest I didn’t watch it much before that and I haven’t watched it since.”
When asked about the specifics of her son’s disqualification from the show last year for “unresolved legal issues”, Cornett was once more honest and open: “I know that I will never forget the feeling I had when Jermaine called me from California and told me that they were sending him home. My heart sank, I couldn’t do anything to help him, he was thousands of miles away and he was devastated. They totally blindsided him and did it on national TV.
“To this day I can feel the pain that they caused. If it weren’t for our faith in God and knowing that He is able to restore, I don’t know if my family would have made it through that ordeal. The one thing no one knows is that the same night that they dropped him in the airport to come home my daughter and her friend were on their way to California to be with him and ‘American Idol’ knew but didn’t care.”
Painfully she recalls the torrential tabloid troubles they endured for months: “Instantly, news reporters and TV cameras were at my home. The same ones that were there to cheer him on, that we invited into our lives were the same ones that were now exploiting us and saying all kinds of fabrications in order to get the best ratings. No one was really interested in the truth. It was horrible.”
Her faith and perhaps an inner strength helped pull them through: “God is faithful, He is our defense, our shield, and we made it through and look at the things that the show has gone through since the season that we were on there. I believe and trust in Jesus Christ who is my protector even when I can’t see Him working, He always is.”
She even admits there was a silver lining in the dark reality TV cloud: “I am thankful for the opportunity that ‘American Idol’ afforded my son and my family. It awakened a dream in me that I had since a very little girl. It gave my son a platform for the world to hear his wonderful gift and I know that he is destined for greater things. So as we’ve been saying through this whole thing: ‘thank you for even the trials’, for through them we were made stronger and more prepared for this awesome journey that God has lain before us.”
As her publicist noted “the fiasco is finally behind her now.” She’s once more focusing on her own career. Her new video single, “Abba Father”, tells the tuneful tale of someone who trusts in God even through the hard times.
It’s especially obvious to those who know Cornett that she has had her share of personal experience in this area.
She seems to have weathered the storm well though and has a positive outlook and remains steadfast in her beliefs. Cornett comments: “I am so blessed to have the greatest fans in the world. The response to this song has been incredible and I want to thank everybody who has stuck by me and helped me keep the Faith. To God be the glory!”
As a singer and music director for other Gospel performers such as Stephen Hurd and Timothy Wright, Cornett already has a significant following. She is currently discussing the release of a new disc and reminds music fans: “All of my projects are available on iTunes or my website. One of the popular songs from the first project is ‘He is Great’ which is also on YouTube with me performing it live.” Currently prepping for her next tour, Cornett’s career is about to experience a Brand New Day.
My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.