BILLINGS — From the Montana Secretary of State to a studio, Corey Stapleton has traded politics for lyrics.
“I always wanted to have a band and this was the year I decided I’m either going to do it or not,” Stapleton said. At 54 years old, he’s doing it, and he’s going straight to Music City. His first trip of many was back in March.
“It was encouraging, it was exciting, Nashville is such an amazing city, so it’s been a lot of fun,” he said.
After graduating from Great Falls High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he attended nuclear power school. He was appointed to the Naval Academy and graduated with a degree in engineering in 1992.
The name of his band is “Corey Stapleton and the Pretty Pirates,” and it not only features his name but is also a nod to his military service.
“Since I was in the Navy, and I served as a naval officer, I’m very comfortable with the nautical theme,” Stapleton said.
He walked away from politics in January of 2021 after serving as Secretary of State and also a state senator, and feels this new experience behind the microphone is similar.
“I think they’re the same. I think music and whether you’re speaking into a microphone or singing into a microphone, if you have the courage to confront love, power, what you see that’s good or bad, it’s all kind of the same. I never held back on the senate floor, nor did I expect my opponents or anyone else to. And I’ve learned not to hold back in my music too. So, I think my music will actually evolve,” Stapleton said.
His first song, “Western Son,” was released on November 12.
The messages in his music come from life experiences: “Montanans tend to be a little libertarian, we like to be left alone. In return, we leave other people alone, we’re not brash. You know, it doesn’t mean we’re not strong, we can be strong and still have manners.”
Looking ahead, Stapleton said a return to politics is uncertain.
For now, he’s scribbling down lyrics as they come, always planning for his next song.
“If I can accomplish anything through my music, it’s sort of bringing people together and we can be different, but we don’t have to be mean.”
Stapleton plans to release his next song in early December.
To listen to “Western Son,” visit coreystapleton.com.