Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Q&A with Coury Palermo

Coury Palermo is a brilliant figure on the indie music scene…hopefully everyone reading here already knows this. His tunes resonate with heartfelt emotion and a super-sweet melodic sensibility. He first caught my ear-tention as a vocalist for Sleepthief on the amazing tunes “World Gone Crazy” and “Reason Why”, and his CD “The Broken Way We Love” completely knocked me out.  It’s a permanent favorite of mine…haunting, elegant cold weather music, and a voice like nobody else’s. His work is inspiring enough to have earned him a spot in JOE VAMPIRE: THE AFTERLIFE as one of the main influences on Joe’s sound. Here’s a description from the book, in the dude vampire’s own words:

…the sound [is] an ambient mix of orchestral electronica and piano melodies layered in rich synth textures, using a revolving cast of guest vocalists to sing lyrics that I had written. We were set on a lush, sophisticated sound space, but with a definite thread of techno percussion percolating underneath to carry the body of the tunes and give them a modern rhythmic presence.

This is the type of sonic wonderment Joe’s band is all about, folks, and Coury does tuneage like this to total perfection. He’s a stellar example of how high-quality indie music can be.

Since he was kind enough to let me include him in the story, I wanted to give JoeFolk a chance to know him better in advance of the book release.  Take a read of my Coury Palermo Q&A and find out what you don’t yet know about the awesome guy behind the awesome music.


You first realized music was your passion when: I realized it was my passion the first time I heard my mom sing.  She would put on old records and tell me to "find a part".  It was the best training I could have asked for - the "sink or swim" approach.  Needless to say I learned how to find the 3rd & 5th very quickly (smile). To this day, there is nothing like a beautiful melody surrounded by harmonies.

Lyrics first, or melody? Or both at the same time? Usually both at the same time.  I tend to fumble out some thread of words, whether rubbish or phrases that fit the melody I'm hearing - about 60% of the lyric is there in the first run-through (whether it be verse or chorus idea - I tend to work section by section). There's always an honesty that is captured in the first moment of creation that cannot be duplicated or refined. I try to let go and allow whatever wants to come out to come out. I'm not much for "coming back to a song" if it doesn't flush it's way to the surface in the moment.

"The Broken Way We Love" is on my all-time favorites list (it's perfect cold weather music). Your single-most returned-to album/CD/whatever the kids call ‘em these days: Thank you.  It was a record written for the "fall" or "winter" of someone's life.  My most returned to album… that's tough.  I'll have to give you a couple.  Annie Lennox's "Diva" - the most timeless "adult pop album" of the last 20yrs.  Brilliant production and IMO, Annie's best lyrical work.  Next would be have to be "Surfacing" by Sarah Mclachlan.  It is my favorite album of all time.  Each piece of it is perfect.  Every time I revisit it, it's like the first time.  What can I say - I'm a sucker for chic rock :)

If not a musician, then *what* instead? If not music… hmmm… There are several things I would love to do but none I'm more acclimated for than cooking - I suppose. I love it.  Maybe a pastry chef or vegetarian catering company?

I'm not sure I could ever get away from writing - in some capacity - just not entirely sure what that looks like. I would love to work in the production and arrangement side of the music business after I'm done making records (a LONG, LONG time from now (smile). 

When not making music, Coury does this: I'm not sure there is ever a time I am "not making music". I'm constantly writing or working on a project in one way or another. I recently started an Artist Agency called ArtMakers Project Management & Consulting.  e help indie musicians put together their brand.  It's only a few months old but I am loving the work.

Instrument you’d love to learn to play: Piano. I have these uber long fingers and have always wished my parents would have forced lessons upon me growing up.

Preference: Live performance or recording studio?  I love them both. The studio is like Christmas morning to me.  There is no greater feeling than hearing the end result of what you've been creating (if it turns out as you heard it in your heard). I love producing & arranging vocals - it is truly my favorite part of the creative process.

I love live performance when a set is rehearsed to near perfection and the sound guy mixes the set well. If those two elements are in question, I would rather not waste the listeners time.  There are too many people trying to make a living at music - if you're not giving the audience a stellar reflection of what they heard on your album - don't bother.

Coury Palermo: The Animated Film. Which cartoon character would portray you, and why?  Another tough one.  I've never been much for cartoons so I'm not sure.  Maybe Elmer Fudd?  Talk about never giving up - that man was a machine. :) I think any character who takes ordinary and makes something of it.  Like Einstein said, "I have no special talents.  I am only passionately curious." 

Tell us what we should know about Paige & Palermo and other upcoming projects: The long delayed Paige & Palermo project will finally see the light of day early next year.  We've had quite the journey while making this album and are truly excited to finally get the music out there.

I have several other projects "in the can" or in the works for 2013 and beyond.  That's all I can say about that for now ;)


One of those other projects is out now. Coury’s new single “The Keeper” is available as a free download in limited quantities at Soundcloud. I’m listening to it on repeat as I write this. The title doesn’t lie, either…this one is a TOTAL keeper. Click the name to get your copy. And then head over to the ol’ Amazon to pick up Paige & Palermo’s multi-version EP “Silent Night”, just in time to ring in the holiday love. You've never heard Coury’s partner-in-harmony Jennifer – the Paige part of the equation – has a holiday CD out on December 1st, too. Pre-order one of those while you’re music-buying. And because all that just isn’t going to be enough, head over to Coury’s site and pick up a copy of “The Broken Way We Love” for yourself. You won't be sorry.

Then go follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

And while you’re there, follow Paige & Palermo on Twitter and on Facebook, too.

He’s a major talent, folks, and a great guy to boot. I’m beyond honored that he agreed to appear in THE AFTERLIFE, and I’m psyched to hear more sound candy from him in the coming year.

Huge thanks to you for being part of the JOE VAMPIRE fun, Coury!

More fun's a-coming, folks...this month ain't over yet.


  1. A great post, Steven, as always. And "The Keeper" is an amazing track, Coury. Will definitely be checking out more of your work!

  2. Great Interview/Post! As a musical person, I love hearing others talk about how they got into music and what inspired them. Oh, and is never too late to learn piano. ;-)