A Different Kind of Tour: Sgt. Corrin Campbell Merges Military Service and Rock ‘n’ Roll

“Leave the doubt at the door; there’s no room here. Gotta push to the floor, and have no fear. ’Cause it’s coming. Yeah, it’s brewing. Clock is ticking, keeps on teasing. Stay on your toes. Ready, set …” 

— “Ready Set”, Corrin Campbell & The Election

Sergeant Corrin Campbell, an online student in Full Sail University’s Internet Marketing degree program, currently serves as an active-duty soldier in the United States Army. She’s also the bassist and frontwoman of a touring rock band, and spends 300 days a year on the road performing both music and military outreach in venues ranging from intimate high school auditoriums to high-profile sports arenas and festival stages.

It’s not a typical gig – from either a military or a musical standpoint – but it is an incredibly rewarding one. Corrin is provided the opportunity to perform her original songs all over the country, and the Army benefits from her positive and organic connections with fans.

“I spend most of my time playing at high schools,” she explains, “which is a super cool experience, because I get to meet a ton of kids. And I think when you’re around that age, like 15 to 18, you want somebody in your life who will invest in you but isn’t your parent or teacher. And I kind of get to be that. I follow them back on social media, and like their selfies, and chat about who was in Nylon this month. I think they feel like, when someone they respect is watching, they want to do better and they want to do more.”

With great affection, Corrin calls her most dedicated fans the “Campbell Corps” (or in passing, her “little soldiers”). Perhaps surprisingly, though, she generally doesn’t sing about her military experience.

“That’s pretty self-evident, you know? I’d rather write about coming-of-age things, and the struggles we go through when trying to define ourselves. I think that really resonates with people who are around my age, who are still sorting stuff out.”

As an example, she refers to “Ready Set,” a track about being right on the cusp of becoming something or someone new. “When somebody says to you, ‘Ready, set,” you brace yourself, and you’re ready to go. I think we hit those moments, those pregnant pauses of greatness, multiple times in our lives. We just want that bubble to burst.”

Fans do appear to resonate with these messages, and say they especially appreciate her all-around positivity. “I’m really into learning about yourself, and accepting people who are different from you. It’s funny, my music sometimes comes off as angry, and I call that my ‘rock alter ego,’ but the girl you meet when I’m not on stage is just trying to spread good messages of perseverance, temperance, and being tenacious in order to get what you want.”

In addition to playing at high schools, Corrin also performs at sporting events – where she’s belted the National Anthem more than a few times – as well as the occasional festival. This summer, for instance, she and her bandmates joined the lineup at Vans Warped Tour, where they played 40 shows in 51 days. The prior year, they played eight dates of the summer-long tour. (We were fortunate to meet up with Corrin at this year’s Orlando Warped Tour date. In the short clip below, she describes why music is so important to her.)

“My job has changed a lot over the years,” she says. “I used to perform alone a lot more, but the Army recently brought on the band permanently, which is so much cooler for me! Being in a band is a tight little family, and being a soldier is like that, too. So it kind of merges that support system together.”

At this time, Corrin has two years of military service left. “I decided I don’t want to stay in. I love the job I have, but I can’t do it forever. That’s why I pushed to get a degree, especially internet marketing. I think knowing things like SEO and affiliate marketing are necessary if you want to be successful in the digital age, if you’re a musician or own any type of business. And if I can remain an independent artist, that’d be great. But no matter what, I know that I want to do something in music – whether I’m on stage or supporting someone who’s on stage. That’s my goal.”

Photo credit: corrincampbell.com