SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Since winning the May 5 episode of Bravo Media’s “The Kandi Factory,” South Plainfield High School senior Cory Singer has been trying to keep up with his newfound fame and fortune.
In addition to – as the winner of the May 5 episode, titled “Anything? Anything!” – having an original song based on his personal life written by show star and former Grammy Award winner Kandi Burruss, Singer had a music video produced by Burruss’ accomplished team that has received more than 116,000 views on YouTube and is making waves on iTunes, too.
The affable 18-year-old guitar player with a following of more than 22,000 on Twitter and 1,600 on Facebook also has sung at several benefit outings, including the Big A Foundation’s Goals4Autism on May 17 in Philadelphia and the Terril Middle School's Builder's Club Walkathon to benefit the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) on June 4 in Scotch Plains. One of the biggest highlights for Singer this year, however, was hosting a Kandi Factory Viewing Party the night he won for more than 100 friends, family and well-wishers at Park Avenue Diner in South Plainfield.
“Being able to do this TV show is an honor in itself because I’ve always been in love with music and performing,” said Singer, who has Tourette Syndrome and Asperger’s Syndrome. “What was great about the viewing party was that when everyone was waiting to hear who won, everybody’s face was staring, but I knew the outcome.”
Singer had to keep the fact that he had won a secret for some time, so he had no qualms about finally letting loose after officially hearing his name on TV. He was especially proud of being named the victor after regularly hearing how people were amazed that he could even make it through a performance without ticking. After all, a cornerstone of Singer’s campaign during and after his appearance on “The Kandi Factory” has been the slogan “Focus on your abilities, NOT your disabilities.”
“I wanted to show that people with disabilities and disadvantages to not worry about them,” said Singer, who has shared that message of hope and encouragement with the hundreds of daily visitors to NJCTS' Teens4TS blog. “You should acknowledge that you have them, but don’t let them get in the way of what you want to do. What you’re best at doing is what you should be doing for the rest of your life.”
Now that he's graduated from South Plainfield High School, Singers is lining up some appearances for the summer. On July 16, he will sing the National Anthem at a Camden Riversharks baseball game at Campbell's Field in Camden, then will do the same thing July 20 for the Somerset Patriots Baseball Club at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater. Other appearances are sure to follow, and he is also busy getting ready to head into the study to record. But through it all, Singer will remain humble and eager to help anyone who crosses his path.
“Now that I’ve done something this big, I want to help other people to help inspire them,” said Singer, who also recently performed at South Plainfield High School's annual "Rock Darfur" benefit concert. “It’s not that I want to do this to be a famous person, I feel like someone has to show people that anyone can do anything. And I love to perform and to put smiles on people’s faces. I’m looking forward to continuing sharing my music with others while inspiring them to never give up hope.”