?Last things first. Yes, Kori Withers is the daughter of soul/pop icon Bill, but she’s determined to craft her own lasting impression.
Withers co-wrote “Live Like a Warrior” from Matisyahu’s 2012 album “Spark Seeker,” and she’s since paired her lilting vocals with legend Booker T. Jones on “Watch You Sleeping,” from the latter’s Concord release “Sound the Alarm.” The Los Angeles-based ASCAP artist has performances in New York, at South by Southwest and, most recently, L.A.’s El Rey Theatre for Jones’ “Sound the Alarm” promo concert under her belt. Of the younger Withers and her own soul/pop brand, Jones told Billboard.com (June 4), “Kori is very expressive. She’s her own person; a beautiful singer.”
Adept at piano and guitar, Withers grew up loving ’50s musicals and ’70s-era singer/songwriters. She’s also a world music fan who earned a master’s in musical theater writing at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Like her dad, Withers’ creative quest is straightforward: Make people feel something. “If you don’t have at least 30 seconds of interesting material, there’s no reason to keep pushing,” she says. “A good song needs to elicit some kind of reaction.”
Unlike her dad, who Withers says pretty much likes to write alone, she’s more focused on collaborating. Upcoming plans include attending Guda Music’s songwriting camp in Berlin. “Despite cultural differences, people can still get in a room and come out with a song,” Withers says.