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Q&A with Christina Korp of The Aldrin Foundation

June 27th, 2019

Wow!

That’s all HQ has to say after putting together our Q&A with Christina Korp of The Aldrin Foundation. From a large family that formed a singing group, to a publishing deal in Los Angeles, to running a production company with singer John Tesh to getting to hang out with Astronauts, Christina has led a super-exciting life! Read on, read on!!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself – where did you grow up?

I am one of ten children – 5 girls and 5 boys – from Rapid City, SD. My dad was in the Air Force and he met my mom there when he was stationed at Ellsworth AFB. My mom is Native Sioux and Mexican, and we are direct descendants of Chief Sitting Bull’s sister. My dad is a big white guy from Milwaukee. Most of my family still lives in SD and I was the first one to move away. I lived in Los Angeles for 20 years but I now live in Orlando, FL. I have two beautiful kids – a daughter Brielle and son Logan.

2. Was music always a passion of yours?

Yes. We have always been a musical family. My dad had always been in bands, and when I was 12 years old, we started a family band called Family Affair with dad on guitar, my sister Mary on bass (16 years old), my brother Bobby on drums (10 years old) and me on keys. We took turns on lead vocals and we were known for our harmonies. We instantly became a local sensation. We played in bars and clubs 4-6 nights a week for 10 years and became minor celebrities in a 6 state region. After 10 years I wanted to pursue my career as a singer/songwriter, so I left the band and moved to Los Angeles. The family kept going without me for another 10 years, and one of my younger sisters took my place on keys and vocals.

I had a decent amount of success. I was signed to Warner/Chappell, sang on a couple of Ringo Starr records, toured around the world singing background vocals for major Latin artists and I made a couple of my own records. I eventually went to work for John Tesh and he took me under his wing. I ran his record label, production company and syndicated radio show, was his tour manager and one of the singers in his band. I produced a couple of PBS concert specials and was featured in the one at Red Rocks in Denver. It was a crazy busy and exciting time, but also extremely exhausting and I worked myself to the brink. I really needed a break after a while.

3. How did you get involved with the Aldrin Foundation?

After many intense years in the music business, I wanted to try out a “quiet, boring life” for a little while and so I answered an ad in the Hollywood Reporter for a company called StarBuzz to work for Buzz Aldrin. I had no idea what he was doing. I was hired because of my entertainment background and I thought that overseeing the appearances, media and PR of an “old astronaut” was just the right amount of boring after all the years of running the Tesh Media Group. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into and it’s been quite an exciting adventure. I had always loved space, but didn’t really know much about what was going on. In the last 11+ years I’ve become somewhat of an expert on bringing the mainstream and space together through media and events, and I think one of the coolest parts of the job, besides traveling to exotic places, was getting to know most of the Apollo astronauts really well. It’s a privilege and I’m grateful for this unexpected stage of my life. I love what I’ve learned about the space world and enjoy bringing my own experience and perspective to it as a person who was deeply involved in the mainstream media world for so long. I think it works really well.

4. What is a typical day like for you?

I’m usually corresponding with a wide array of people in space, government and entertainment. Then planning an event or creating something like the Giant Moon and Mars maps for the education foundation. However, I also have to oversee the business aspects, so first order of the day is answering emails and taking care of necessary correspondence. The part I love the most though is when I get to be creative and can write or produce… I’m in the process of writing the script for the Apollo 50th Gala and it’s the kind of thing that flows naturally. I’m mostly a creative person, so being able to apply that to my job is really important to me. Sometimes I really miss doing music, but being able to produce helps satisfy the artist in me. Being able to do something meaningful like creating things for kid’s education makes it all more worthwhile.

5. What can you tell us about the event at the Kennedy Space Center on July 16?

This year is the big 5-0. The Apollo 50th Gala is the premier high end event of the Apollo 50th Celebrations. This is the 5th year I’ve been producing this gala, and it has gotten better every year. This is our big annual fund raiser so it has to be not only exciting and fun but also help promote what we do as an organization. What makes it so special is, of course, having the Apollo astronauts present as well as many other space luminaries. But the superstar in the room is the real Saturn V rocket that everyone gets to sit under. Having real Apollo artifacts, and the history in that room, makes it even more unique. The other thing that makes it so special is that it’s the only gala I’ve seen that has such an international attendance. We have many Brits, but also people coming from Australia, South America, Asia (including Mongolia) and people from all over Europe. It truly showcases how space is the great equalizer and brings people together from all walks of life. We’ve become great friends with many of these people, so it is also a gathering of like minded, adventurous people. My other favorite part about this event is that I get to co-produce it with my colleague Sophy Williams. She’s a superstar event organizer in her own right. It’s important to work with people you trust, and whose talents compliment your own.

6. How involved were you in getting Duran Duran to be the musical guest?

I am excited to say I was bold enough to ask the band to participate. It came about because I have known Professor Brian Cox for a few years from BBC Stargazing, and other events we’d done together, and over that time we’ve become friends. He was our astronaut moderator at last year’s gala as well. He called me up in December saying the band wanted a tour of Kennedy Space Center and asked if could I help. I was excited because I’ve always been a huge fan of the band and said it would be an honor. Then I received a call from Nick Rhodes. I don’t get starstruck. I have met Presidents and Prime Ministers, and the biggest stars in the world. But getting a call from Nick was a thrill because, as a keyboard player myself, he was my keyboard idol from the early days of being in the band and influential on my days of learning to sequence. I told Nick I was producing the Apollo 50th Gala and said I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask if the band would consider performing at this historic event. I figured because he wanted a tour of KSC that he must love space. He said “we’d be so honoured” and then told me his memory of the moon landing. Amazing! Then we followed up with the band’s management and were excited to see that they were serious about it. So amazing to see this become a reality.

7. Spill it, were you a Duranie growing up?

Yes! I even wore the Duranie shoes and used to wear a suit with a skinny tie to school. I even have the blackmail pictures of myself to prove it.

8. What was the first DD album you ever owned?

“Seven and the Ragged Tiger”

9. Tell us about the Aldrin Foundation and how our readers can support it?

The Aldrin Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit space education organization. We’ve created a vertical pathway of programs from a child’s earliest classroom experience all the way into post grad education. We believe everyone on Earth starts out loving the moon and the stars, and space is a natural part of the wonder and fascination of living on this planet. We want to keep the fascination going and show how space impacts the daily life of people everywhere. We aim to create the game changers of tomorrow through our tools like the Giant Moon and Mars Maps that we gift to schools and science centers. We also have the Aldrin Scholarship and the new Center for Space Entrepreneurship at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. More information is available at aldrinfoundaton.org.

10. We ask everyone who participates in our Q&As this same last question- what’s your favorite Duran Duran video?

“Save a Prayer”

Christina