We had the good fortune of connecting with Chantilly Kornegay and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chantilly, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Music has been a passion of mine since I was a teenager. I just didn’t understand at the time how to monetize it. I was satisfied with just rapping over a commercial instrumental with friends. Eventually as I got older as we know responsibilities came to light. Many years I chose regular jobs that had nothing to do with my true passion for music. About four years ago I had an opportunity to fully pursue music and so I took off with it. Songwriting was a skill set that only improved with time. I used my background in marketing to transition to music marketing which helped in my pursuit. Clients from all walks of life began to work with me from there. It’s been truly refreshing to live in my purpose.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a songwriter I bring ideas and concepts to life. This can be for an ad, hip hop feature. YouTube intro or a custom song about a persons story in their life.
What sets me apart from many others is my relentless work ethic and consistency. I believe that when others see you can work without limitations of genre it is inspiring.
I got to where I am today by never stopping and listening to all the hints the universe kept giving me. Every direction it keeps pointing at music. I have to also give thanks to the many platforms that support gig workers and entrepreneurs making it easier and easier to connect with like minded clients. The ability to build reviews and a reputation is important to gain new prospects. I would say Fiverr and Airgigs are at the top for creatives.
There have been many great months and sometimes as an entrepreneur there can be tough months. Especially with the impact that covid had on the economy it was a rough patch: It wasn’t easy to keep going but believing in myself and striving for greatness is what helped me to stay focused. I’ve had moments where I went through depression and my anxiety was at an all time high.
What helped me to overcome was my family. They were my personal team cheering me on front and center. Gave me purpose to get up everyday and strive for greatness. All of the people from Cleva Nation who encouraged me to never stop also gave me the strength to persevere. All the clients that kept coming back needing my service is what made me realize that although it’s challenging at times. Anything we truly want out of life will give us those challenges. So stand firm and never fold:
The lessons I’ve learned along the way is to be grateful, stay humble, consistent. Keep a support system and create work life balance. Know the difference when it’s time to chill and take a break. As an entrepreneur we tend to work long shifts and blend the time while doing what we love. Sometimes unplug from everything and allow yourself a full day to rest. The.ln get back to it with a clear mind and new goals.
I want the world to know that Cleva Thoughts is my artist name. Cleva Nation is the brand and Box the Mic Entertainment is the label. My story started as a young kid from the Bronx who loved hip hop. When I moved to the DMV around 10 I had to uproot from my extended family and find new friends and ended up finding and creating a new family of my own. Through this journey it gave me a compelling story to tell. I’ve studied the craft and would consider my skill set to be an expert of the art. I take all the hip hop greats with me as I travel on this path and incorporate it in my everyday music sessions. Music is the universal language and it’s no denying it can bring people together even I. The darkest moments. It gives power to speak about the injustices of the world. Words are very powerful and it comes with great responsibility. As an emcee/ lyricist/ creative I want the world to know that a gift was given to me and I plan on using that gift until I can’t anymore. I hope everyone around me embraces and becomes apart of it. If they can’t then move out the way cause I’m coming.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The DMV is a very lively area that is filled with little hidden gems. As an entertainer I’ve found myself going to a lot more clubs that have open mics or live music like Pure Lounge, Golf Ultra Lounge, ZK Lounge, The New Elroy, Union Oyster Bar, and Martinis.
As for restaurants I often frequent spots with seafood like Hook and Reel, Crazy Crab, or Ernie’s Crabs. Old Dominion is a great spot for happy hour.
I would check out museums downtown DC or The National Harbor.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to shout-out Cleva Nation. They are my support team. They’ve been with me for many years cheering me on. Whenever I need a comment, like, share, positive words they don’t hesitate. I would also like to thank and Shout out all of the many clients that I’ve worked with and especially my repeat clients for investing and believing in my skill set and trusting me with very special projects.
Ray Dixon JL Scales