My journey to this point has not been typical by any stretch of the imagination. It has involved many curveballs, many challenges, and some amazing opportunities that I could not be more grateful for. When you read my story, I want you to recognize that the journey I have been on has brought out many different sides of me.
I started off as “Community Cory,” doing what I could to help others and growing into someone who uplifts the community.
I then became “Cambridge Cory,” somebody who everyone looked at as inspiring because of their academic achievements.
My experiences led me to evolve into “Creative Cory,” as I found new ways to use my musical talents and community focus to uplift others in a way that helped me to overcome challenges in my personal life.
Ironically, these experiences led me to become “Corporate Cory,” where I used my time in banking to continue developing my creative side whilst earning a living.
Where My Love for Music Started
Music class at school was my first introduction into music production. Amazed by the technology, I took this knowledge outside of school and spent years learning more about music production, creating my own compositions and arrangements with free software I could find.
My Journey into Law
In 2014, I applied to study law at university. When I got the offer from Cambridge, it always seemed as though everyone else was more excited by it than I was. I eventually came to realise the significance of someone from a comprehensive school and an ethnic minority background getting into the university of Cambridge. Given the mountain of influence and sense of responsibility, I decided to attend Cambridge.The struggle of university ended in one of the most difficult periods I have experienced. Mental health challenges led to a situation where I could only revise one day for each exam but managed to graduate with a 2.1 (in Cambridge, only final year exams count). It gave me the mentality that if I could get through that, I can get through anything.
My Reconnection with Music
In 2016, I created a Soundcloud and used it to upload my piano covers of, largely, Final Fantasy pieces. The first was a piece called Theme of Love on 28 Aug 2016, a piece that has now become my signature piano piece. Encouraged by a best friend, Kaushal, I decided to start uploading content to YouTube late 2016 using the same name as my Soundcloud, Everything Fantasy.
This culminated in developing and supporting a community of gamers and creatives all over the world. Spending years creating content, voluntarily working on music projects, and educating hundreds of people collectively and one-on-one, I realized the effect music was having. I was able to connect, motivate and inspire people all over the world.
In August 2020, Everything Fantasy hit 1000 subscribers. Up until Nov 2020, all music work I did was free, educating was and still is free, my music was distributed free of charge and years were spent entertaining and uplifting people through Everything Fantasy.
My Journey into Investment Banking
After university, I immediately did an internship at Goldman Sachs for three months. After three months, I secured a full-time position in Compliance which started in March 2019. I used the time between the internship to finally recuperate, tutor people to get into top universities, provide motivational speeches to year groups at Whitmore, play football again for a team, work on music and continue to do projects.
Financially, my time at Goldman’s was primarily spent reinvesting back into music (equipment, software, hardware, instruments, instrument lessons, and much more), and paying off high outstanding Uni debt.
Where My Interest in the Abbey Road Institute Started
In March 2018, my final year of university, I found out about the Abbey Road Institute’s open day. I attended and was amazed by the experience. While incredible, I lacked the funds to be able to do the course. I also knew my experience in music production was limited. The course requires experience.
In response to the George Floyd events, in October 2020 Abbey Road decided to offer a scholarship for the same course I was drawn to in 2018. I applied and reached the final shortlist of candidates. For the initial Abbey Road interview, I had to perform a piece for the lecturer. That piece was Theme of Love.
While I marginally was not selected as one of the two candidates gaining the scholarship, I was offered an unconditional place on the course which expires in one year from April 2021 (October and February are the only available start dates).
As I have left my job to pursue my dream of studying at Abbey Road, I am really pushing to start in October so I can hit the ground running in my new career and give back to the community.
Cory Lawrence is the Founder of Everything Fantasy and an aspiring creative entrepreneur who aims to change the world through music. He is looking to raise £22,500 to confirm his place on an Advanced Diploma for Musical Production and Sound Engineering at the Abbey Road Institute, Music Production School. You can find the link to his crowdfunding page here.
Image courtesy of Negative Space.