© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WEDH · WEDN · WEDW · WEDY
WECS · WEDW-FM · WNPR · WPKT · WRLI-FM · WVOF
Public Files Contact · ATSC 3.0 FAQ
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Flooded with online hate, the musician corook decided to keep swimming

Libby Danforth
/
Atlantic Records

Updated May 28, 2023 at 2:18 PM ET

corook was having a bad day.

After reading a slew of hate comments online directed at their gender identity and how they dressed, the 28-year-old Nashville-based musician needed cheering up, so they and their partner turned to what they do best: music.

"My girlfriend was supporting me and wanted to do something to make me feel better and decided: 'Let's write a song about it, let's make like a really weird song. Because you know, I love that you're weird and it's wonderful that you're weird. So what's the weirdest idea that you can come up with?'

"And so I said, 'I think if I were a fish I think that all of the weird things about me would be cool,' and she was like, 'that's weird, let's do it.' "

The result is the hit song "if i were a fish."

Originally a 49-second TikTok, corook (also known as Corinne Savage) goes on to sing about rocks and socks, followed by the question that started it all: "Why's everybody on the internet so mean?"

corook explains that the lyrics came from a moment of vulnerability as they were coming to terms with their gender identity and feeling out of place.

"I was obviously going through a lot, personally, of accepting the fact that I'm non-binary. ... I think it's hard to not fit into a box whenever everybody kind of wants to be able to define you simply."

Living outside of the box is also something corook does musically.

"I don't really have a genre," the musician says. "Like, I love making music. I love making songs that tell a story. And some of them sound more like a [singer] songwriter, and some of them sound more like a pop tune."

Their blend of styles shines on "if i were a fish." While the original TikTok recording was written on just a guitar, the full length version features guitar, percussion, and corook's favorite instrument, the kazoo.

The musical mixture adds to the song's positive spin on a tough situation, a practice corook is known for bringing to their music.

"I think that using an upbeat tone to talk about something serious is kind of my specialty. ... And whenever I figured out that I could do that in music, it just felt like a really big missing puzzle piece for me," they say.

And "if i were a fish" is resonating with audiences. With over 7 million streams on Spotify, the song has become a self-acceptance anthem.

"I think it's an interesting thing that I wrote the song from a place of like, 'I don't fit in, I don't have a community. I don't feel like people get me' and then to have a response of millions of people say, 'I get you and I want more of this, and I feel this way, too,' " corook says.

"I think that has been profound, not only as a musician in my career, but just as a human being. It has been really healing to be seen and heard by so many people."

You can hear "if i were a fish" on corook's forthcoming EP serious person (part 1) out June 2.

Samantha Balaban edited the radio story.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Lennon Sherburne

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content