Last year, little-known singer/songwriter Corey Bost was going through a difficult time in his life, dealing with deep family issues and broken relationships. To cope, this lifelong Fort Lauderdale native penned five songs that eventually became his debut EP, Kingdom. With nonexistent promotion and no marketing arm, Bost's collection of melancholic and cathartic songs somehow landed on iTunes' new and noteworthy page.
It was a freak occurrence that brought this unsuspecting musician a bit of notoriety. "I was going through a shitty time in my life and wrote these songs and released them myself, not really expecting much," Bost told New Times while taking a break from his day job as community event organizer for local event and media company C&I Studios.
"I uploaded the EP to iTunes myself. Somehow a staff member at Apple heard it, liked it, and placed it on the new and noteworthy page. It was so surreal." The earnest and emotive album ended up topping out at number seven on the website's singer/songwriter section. "People like sad songs, I guess," he joked. This newfound success ignited his desire to keep the momentum going, and he swiftly began work on a followup.
After a few months, Bost made his way up to Lakeland, Florida's renowned Vanguard Room, to do just that. With the help of Aaron Marsh (known for his work as frontman for bittersweet alt rockers Copeland), Bost churned out another album. This time, it was a full-length, titled Heritage, that the musician calls "darker and sonically more aggressive" than the previous. With it, Bost deals with extreme personal issues yet again.
We asked if he found it more difficult to write, considering the success of the previous release, since times couldn't have been as tough as they were before. "It was harder for me to write songs at first, actually, but then I began to reflect on why I write songs at all, and I came to the conclusion that I wanted to write songs that were honest."
When Bost speaks about honesty, he is not referring to the garden variety, "You've got to believe what I'm saying" honesty but to something much more stark. His sentiments are many levels more sincere and earnest. "I write songs about things I believe in and value, sharing very personal moments and hoping to have a connection with the listeners."
Bost's favorite tracks off Heritage include "Better in the Dark," a haunting, folk-driven number that deals with the ending of a failed relationship. "Everyone has been part of a shitty relationship and knows the difficulties that come when it comes to a head. It's a normal thing in the context of life that I think people can relate to."
Another song, "Another Name," deals with a day in Bost's life when he came home to find his father inebriated and asking for his help in taking down family photos because they were too hard to look at. "It's a pretty brutal song that's going to be very hard for me to sing live, given the subject matter. It may be the most important song I've ever written. I'm pretty excited to see people's reactions to it."
Next week, Bost will have his chance, taking an assortment of unrelentingly honest tunes on the road, playing two dates with Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba's new side project, Twin Forks, in Orlando on July 23 and Gainesville on July 24. Carrabba, whom many would say is an obvious influence on Bost, discovered him performing in Boca Raton and handpicked him to open these tour dates. Bost confirms him an influence, stating he grew up listening to Dashboard Confessional as a kid. "I can think of his songs where I knew all the words by heart, but I'd still be on the edge of my seat waiting for the next verse to come, and feeling almost uncomfortable because I could understand the feelings."
Another influence Bost credits is notable local musician Ryan Alexander. Bost spent time as the guitarist for Alexander before embarking on his own solo project. Bost tells us that Alexander, Carrabba, and himself are all planning on making a move to Nashville, Tennessee, in the coming months.
Why Nashville? It's where it's at for singer/songwriters, according to Bost. "There is this shift in music, with the pendulum swinging back to pure songwriting, and Nashville is at the heart of it all."
And to wet your whistle, here is an exclusive preview of "Better in the Dark."