Country newcomer Corey Wagar has been getting an education over the past few months -- but not in the classroom. The singer-songwriter, 18, has been touring the United States promoting her album "On The Edge," as well as her current single "I Hate My Boyfriend." She tells Billboard.com that she is loving every second of her career climb.
"It is amazing," she says with a smile. "For me, at such a young age, to get to see America has been really awesome. I've made so many great friends and have so many cool stories that not everyone my age can say they did. To pack up a car and just drive wherever you want to go -- you can be in Kentucky one day and Louisiana the next is awesome. To get to do what I do and share my music with the world, I love it. It's been nothing but amazing, interesting, and cool. Everyone comes out of High School and into college, but my life is all over the place. I have a map that I can show you with pins all over the place to mark where we've been. It's really cool to be able to have that lifestyle, and be able to see so many cool things."
She admits that it might be difficult for some to understand that, for right now, her education is coming from watching how the music business works.
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"Every time someone asks me about college, I would get a little frustrated because they would say 'Oh, you're not going to college? How dare you?' I say I'm getting a better education now than I ever would have going to school for music. To be able to work with Kent Wells, Regina Raleigh, Jerry Duncan and PLA Media has been an education within itself. I've been learning with everything that I'm doing. There's no recipe to success, but it's all been a learning process. Sitting in the studio watching Kent, I would have never been able to learn that anywhere."
Wagar says that in her native state of New Jersey, she was definitely in the minority when it came to being a fan of country music. "There was that Barbara Mandrell song 'I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool,' and that was me. I was in third grade, and my friends were listening to the Backstreet Boys and the Spice Girls. My uncle and I used to drive to the beach every day during the summer, and he would force me to listen to the Dixie Chicks. At first, I stuck my fingers in my ears and said 'I don't want to listen to it.' One day I listened, and what really caught me was their Fly album. The stories that they were telling and the harmonies were insane. I was in third grade, and it caught me. I sang along a little bit, and he looked at me and said 'You kind of sound like them a little bit.'
That changed her outlook immediately. "I just fell in love with them," she recalls. She also cites her father as a musical influence, and said that some of his favorites included The Eagles and Kenny Rogers.
Her music has found a home on several radio stations across the country. Thanks to exposure on stations like her hometown WKMK in Neptune, NJ, she has opened for such superstars as Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, and Darius Rucker.
Wagar says that she us just trying to build her career one day -- and one fan at a time. "I have been so lucky. In this business, it takes a lot of luck, and being in the right place at the right time. We've been sp fortunate to do so many cool things. I wake up everyday and I can't believe I'm doing what I'm doing. I've learned to cherish every moment."
On her agenda for the coming year? Hopefully, more of the same, she says. "The biggest thing I have learned is not to make plans. Most of the ones I have made have went totally opposite in good ways. I just take it day by day. In 2012, I would love to continue writing and recording, being on the road, but I just see what happens and what comes my way."