T.J. Cornwall
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T.J. Cornwall

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Music's Rising Stars: T.J. Cornwall"

T.J. Cornwall, an economics major in his senior year at Penn State University, is looking forward to his graduation when he can throw himself into the journey of achieving his dreams, “After graduating in May, I'll be touring full-time and 110% focusing on music which I was never able to do with all of the schoolwork that I have daily.”

It was not until T.J. was in his teens that he realized his interest in music. “When I was about seven years old, my parents forced me to take piano lessons. I absolutely hated it. All I wanted to do was play sports and play video games. You know, the normal seven-year-old life. I broke my hand playing football a couple years later. My injury gave me an excuse not to take piano lessons anymore, so I stopped playing until I was about 14. I sat back down at the piano to see if I knew how to play anything, and I immediately fell in love with it as soon as I found that I could play music that I wanted to play - my own. I thank my parents so much for making me take those lessons.”

Music was not T.J.’s only love. “I grew up as an athlete. All I wanted to do, just like many other little kids, was to play professional football. I spent my entire life up until 10th grade playing sports and following those dreams. However, you learn that life isn't always about sports. It's about the relationships and friendships you make along the way because no matter how cool your life is, there is no point unless you have somebody to listen to your stories. My life was about trial and error. I lived and learned daily. I had great best friends, relationships, and great times during my life. At the same time, I had many social catastrophes, psycho girlfriends, and hard times as well. The bad times just make for good songs and always make you realize that things can always get better.”

“My parents are the coolest old people on earth,” T.J. says fondly. “They are the most supportive people I know and are definitely my biggest fans.” His father, also an artist, once dreamt of working for Disney, “I feel like my dad lives through me a little. He had to start his own wallpapering business at 18 or 19 years old to provide for himself financially. He is still doing the same work to this day, which is simply amazing to me. He really inspires me to work hard and to do good work and to make him happy that I am following my dreams, but can still provide for myself at the same time.”

“I write completely from the heart,” T.J. confides. “I'm not scared to say what I'm feeling and if people don't like it, I don't care as long as there are people who do like it. I'm selfish with my music. I want to appease myself before pleasing other people because if I can't put my heart into what I singing, it won't have the same effect on other people. I try to be as honest as I possibly can with everything involving music. I don't want to be a one single and out kind of guy. I want people to see the full me.”

The reflection of T.J. Cornwall shows a trendy fusion of heartfelt pop and rock, inspired not from aversion in his personal life, but from the trials presented in mastering his craft. “I went through my life never being challenged. I was and am that kid in class that everybody hates. I don't really do anything but always end up with good grades. Music is the only thing that continues to challenge me. Every time I sit at the piano or play the guitar, I want to become better than the last time I played. Music gives me a feeling that I can't really explain in words. Music is everything to me. It's an escape, but tends to make you look reality right in the face. If I ever have a problem, I put it in a song bubble and blow it away. It's a great way to get my feelings out - good or bad.”

“I think everyone should have something to live for. I love music. I want to look back when I'm 50 and say that I really lived a great and fulfilling life. I have a little autobiography in song form with every song that I write.” - Music's Rising Stars

"Cloverleaf's T.J. Cornwall steps out with solo CD"

Come out, come out, wherever you are. You like original music. You also like intimate venues where you could, if you wanted to, reach out and touch the musicians’ instruments. T.J. Cornwall’s EP “Hide and Seek” might be just what you are looking for.
The Penn State graduate and former member of the State College band Cloverleaf has a conversational style of address that makes listeners feel like they are sitting alone with him in the recording booth. His music is coupled with the easy accompaniment of a well-played piano and shades of Billy Joel with a more modern beat and a more timid voice.
That timidity is the only off note in Cornwall’s otherwise inspirational performance on “Hide and Seek.” There is a quaver here and there — generally before swells in the music, often at a chorus — that makes you want to shake him and say, “You’re good! Don’t worry about it! You’ll be fine.”
Some of the uncertainty could be the result of interesting shifts in pitch or pacing. They are not the expected chord progressions or delays that bring to mind Tim Curry’s “antici ... pation” line in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” an unexpected delay on a trip where everything else is exactly as predicted. When heard in context, Cornwall’s variations works beautifully, but he still seems intimidated.
Cornwall brings a tremulous strength to “Color is Gone,” reminiscent of John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting on “Superman (It’s Not Easy).” His soaring vocals are genuine and warm.
The poetry of “Stranger Please” is an earnest plea to halt change and recapture the past. Cornwall’s voice reaches vibrating, not vibrato, peaks, with production that includes spoken-word background. While the repeated lyrics “No, I’m not” become tedious, the emotion behind them is realistic enough to fend off boredom.

With “Three Wishes,” Cornwall makes his best case for a John Mayer-ish Top 40 career. It has the broadest appeal, as well as the most upbeat tempo and energy.

Read more: http://www.centredaily.com/377/story/1328381.html#ixzz0OGVOA6R1 - Centre Daily Times

"T.J. Cornwall: the John Mayer of Pittsburgh"


Musician T.J. Cornwall is something of a case study for someone who wants to follow his passion in life.

He’s a mellow, indie-rocker who’s been compared to John Mayer, Gavin Degraw and Matt Nathanson and is releasing his album independently.

It’s quite a jump for someone who started out in architectural engineering at Penn State University.
“It took me a while to realize that I wanted music to be my entire life,” Cornwall said.

The Pittsburgh native earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Penn State before he realized that he wanted to spend his days singing and songwriting.

“I don’t want to have a corporate job,” Cornwall said in an e-mail. “I don’t want to be like everybody else, so I’m doing something about it, and I love my life right now.”

Despite growing up around music, Cornwall didn’t really hit his stride until later in life. As a child, he’d feign illness to skip out on piano lessons and proclaims that as a junior high school student, he was less than listenable.

“I was absolutely horrible,” he said. “I feel so bad for any of my friends that had to listen to me back then, but I practiced every day and was so passionate about the music I created even though it probably wasn’t very good.”

All that practice eventually led to songs streaming out on the Internet during high school and Cornwall being approached by Garrett Bogden, a fellow Penn State student interested in starting a band.

Together, they started the band Cloverleaf out of Pittsburgh and Penn State.

Though Cornwall decided to go solo, Bogden continues to drum in his background band, and they have maintained their initial chemistry.

With John Mayer as his biggest influence, Cornwall tries to push himself to continue developing a sound and to branch out into different genres.

“He alone makes me work harder in music,” Cornwall said.

A lot of the music he listened to as a kid in the ’90s — like Nirvana, Counting Crows, Pearl Jam and Ben Folds Five — affect his music today. Feeling that music is timeless, Cornwall aspires to have the same sort of effect with his own work.

Cornwall describes this album as pop-rock because of the catchy choruses in his songs. He dabbles with several instruments, including the sounds of acoustic guitar and piano, which he plays himself.

However, he doesn’t like to confine himself to being summed up in just one sound. Rather, he is open to exploring new styles.

“I go through different phases,” he said. “I think if a musician keeps on making the same song over and over again, he/she is setting up limitations.”

Keeping that freshness means that Cornwall has also grown in lyric writing.

Generally, the people around him are his inspiration for writing things.

However, he doesn’t just write about love interests — he writes about friends, enemies and even intriguing strangers.

“I tell my friends not to piss me off, because I won’t hesitate to write a song about them,” Cornwall said.
In the future, he would like to move into writing about his thoughts and opinions on life, which he has already started to do.

In the song “War and Peace,” Cornwall discusses his feelings on slavery, which he was inspired to write after hearing lectures in class on the issue.

Those feelings also propelled him to donate a portion of his profits to Kiva, an organization that provides aid for entrepreneurs in developing countries who are using loans from donators.

“It’s a phenomenal idea, and I feel like I have a connection with them, because they are doing the same thing as I am, but I’m just lucky,” Cornwall said. “That’s why I want to give back as much as possible.”
You can hear his music for yourself if you go to the release party for his CD, Stepping Stones, which he will release independently on Sept. 9 at the Smiling Moose — upstairs (all ages).

The show starts at 7 p.m., and doors open at 6:30 p.m. with a $10 cover charge that will also get you a CD.
Cornwall jumped headlong into his dream, and he hopes that he can encourage his fans to do the same.
“Do what you want to do,” he said. “I’m just like you. I had a dream and I went for it.” - Pitt-News

"State College Music Spotlight: T.J. Cornwall"


TJ Cornwall is a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and a recent Penn State grad. You may remember him as a performer in last semester’s Movin’ On Battle of the Bands or the day where we wrote about him three times. But now he has a brand new full-length album entitled Stepping Stones coming out this Wednesday, September 9. We were lucky enough to get an advance copy of the album, and it’s quite impressive!

Compared to the other acts at the Movin’ On Battle of the Bands, Cornwall’s performance, while solid, seemed very scaled back. He was the only solo act to perform, after all. But on Stepping Stones, he holds back no punches, expanding beyond just vocals and a piano or guitar and incorporating bass, percussion, horns, and even strings.TJ Cornwall lists John Mayer as his biggest influence, and it definitely shows.

Not only did Cornwall write all of the music on the album and play every instrument (save for some backing vocals from his sister and a guest guitar solo on the album’s closer “Wonderful”), he also mixed, engineered, and produced the whole thing! We talked to TJ Cornwall via email about his experiences, and he had the following to say.

I’ve always been a singer-songwriter at heart. I played in a band called Cloverleaf all of my years at Penn State and was the singer-songwriter of the band. I learned how a band works and how a band doesn’t work. Live and learn. I have had a ton of experience recording in studios with Cloverleaf, too. I picked up on a lot of the ins and outs of producing/mixing/engineering/etc. and kind of learned it as I moved along. The only other producing work I have had was with my younger sister which I recorded a couple weeks after my album. Her EP isn’t released yet. So, I’m pretty new at the recording stuff.

According to Cornwall, the songwriting process happened over the course of a year, whereas the recording side took almost 3 weeks, with 8-9 hour days. Not everything happened as planned, though. “A couple of songs were written on the spot – ‘Why Worry?’ & ‘Wonderful’,” Cornwall said, “I had a couple other songs that I was planning on putting the album but felt that they didn’t fit compared to those two songs”.

Every track on Stepping Stones is strong, but we were particularly impressed with the second track, “World You Drew”. The bassline on this song is prominent and creative – a refreshing change from a lot of singer-songwriters in the scene today. But you can be the judge. Check out TJ’s MySpace for a preview of some of the tracks from Stepping Stones (unfortunately, “World You Drew” is not on there. Get on that, Mr. Cornwall!).

Overall, Stepping Stones is a great release from TJ Cornwall, who graduated last Spring. Currently, he is paying off his student loans by touring in Pittsburgh and selling CDs. “I think that’s pretty cool to say that I’m paying bills doing something I love,” says Cornwall. Pretty cool indeed. You can pre-order Stepping Stones on TJ Cornwall’s previously-linked MySpace, and it will be available on iTunes as well. - Onward State


New Album - Fall 2013
Backfire - September 2010
Stepping Stones - September 2009
Hide and Seek - January 2009



T.J. Cornwall creates music based on his own personal feelings and endeavors. His honest lyrics intertwine with unique melodies which relays vulnerability and gives the listener the feeling that you are in the room.

Keagan Ilvonen from AbsolutePunk.com said Cornwall's music "gives us something fresh and new to watch out for." After living in Australia and traveling the world for about a year, Cornwall is currently recording the best music he has created to date. A new album is expected to be released in Fall 2013.

T.J. Cornwall has performed with many top notch national artists and bands. These include OneRepublic, Hanson, Switchfoot, Relient K, Ryan Cabrera, Dashboard Confessional, Augustana, Yellowcard, and many others.

You can find T.J. Cornwall on iTunes or on Spotify.