By: John Philip Wyllie
During the daylight hours, Angela Correa is a Latin American Studies graduate student at SDSU, but after the sun sets, she can often be found in one coffeehouse or another, guitar in hand entertaining the patrons. There was a time not too long ago when singer/songwriter Angela Correa was playing open mike nights dreaming about one day having her own show.
“I remember thinking, oh my God, this is so amazing, maybe one day I’ll get to do a (full-length) show. That would be so cool!” With a year of performing the San Diego coffeehouse circuit under her belt, Correa is gaining popularity, receiving radio airplay and has released her first eleven song CD entitled “Red Room Songs.”
“I’ve played music ever since I was little kid (growing up in the rural community of Yuba City, California). When I was younger, it never really occurred to me to play music on my own. I always thought you needed to be part of a band.” Correa played in a variety of ensembles and enjoyed a certain measure of success in the mid-90s as the primary song-writer for the Sacramento-based club band Chocolate Honey Monkey. She moved to San Diego a year ago and is beginning to make an impact on the local coffeehouse circuit.
While her grandparents were Mexican immigrants, Correa grew up in a predominantly English-speaking household and at a time when many recent arrivals to American shores generally wanted to assimilate into American society as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, for many, this was at the expense of their own heritage. In recent years, Correa has made a concerted effort to rediscover her roots.
“I didn’t learn a lot about my heritage growing up,” Correa explained. “We would often go to Mexico as kids and we knew that was where (our family) was from, but (at that time) I really didn’t know much about the history of Mexico. In college, I started checking out those types of classes and I became very interested in it.” Interested enough to pursue a Masters degree in Latin American Studies.
Correa enjoyed her stint performing as part of Chocolate Honey Monkey, but she eventually became overcome with an overwhelming desire to travel. She left the band, packed up her guitar and lived abroad for several years in places like France, Chile, Russia and Guatemala. She absorbed her travel experiences like a sponge and at the same time honed her guitar and songwriting skills. With the travel bug out of her system, she relocated to San Diego last year, but she returned with a new take on life and with a desire to become a solo artist and to eventually delve into some previously unexplored forms of music.
Having long been fascinated by early American folk music and artists such as Roscoe Holcomb and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Correa would one day like to do a comparison of American Dust Bowl/Depression era folk songs with those created during the more recent Northern migration of the people of Southern Huahaca to the United States.
“The two groups have a lot in common,” according to Correa. “In both cases, these were people forced to leave their homes in order to find work. They were coming to a place where they were not wanted and they experienced what it was like to be on the bottom of the totem pole.” This is just one of the many ideas Correa has considered for a future project. At present, her studies and budding career as a coffeehouse musician and a recording artist require the majority of her attention.
“Red Room Songs” was recorded in December and was meant to be a demo.” Correa explained. She sent it out to college radio stations across the country thinking they might be a little more receptive to the music of a relative newcomer. Correa’s CD was warmly received, especially in the Boston area where its frequent airplay led to several live bookings and a radio interview. “I wanted it to sound the way I sound when I play live,” Correa said. “It has a sort of intimate feel.”
Correa’s next project will find her in the studio recording something else with which she has become fascinated: murder ballads. Despite her musical tendency to dwell upon sadness and life’s darker side, Correa’s real-life personality is filled with a youthful enthusiasm, a sense of humor and a clever wit.
“I don’t intentionally write sad songs, it just kind of happens that way. I guess I just tend to reflect more on the sadder things in life. Obviously, I’ve not been murdered and I’m not going to go out and kill somebody, but once I started listening to (murder ballads) I found them very interesting. I just can’t stop playing them, I’m obsessed,” she says with a chuckle.
Correa can be found online at: www.angelacorrea.com. Her May schedule includes an art opening May 2 at for ceramic artist Jennifer Meale at 1863 Bacon Street in O.B., a solo performance May 9 at Café 1134 in Coronado at 1134 Orange Ave and then a mini-tour of the Northeast playing several dates in Worcester and Cambridge Massachusetts. Correa’s CDs are available at Lou’s Records, M- Theory, Off-the-Record and online at cdbaby.com/correa.