Courtney Graf is a singer, songwriter, model, and actress born in a small town in New Jersey. And while she may wear many hats, music is her one true passion. Ever since the age of five, she's been singing, playing the piano and guitar, and writing songs. Having taught herself to play music by ear, Courtney moved to New York City to attend college majoring in acting and musical theater. After a year, she chose to pursue her dream of a full-time singing and songwriting career.
Since then, Courtney has written hundreds of songs. Her lyrics speak to empowering the self, embracing the moment and appreciating the people whom you love. Her voice is filled with passion, power, soul and strength while her music is resoundingly upbeat and positive. Bridging the sounds of pop, rock, soul, and R & B, Courtney's music and voice reflect the genuine honesty and sincerity of who she is as a person.
Not only has the All-American beauty signed with Roc Nation, she's also a top fitness model with Wilhelmina. Between writing, performing, and staying in incredible shape, we're in awe of Courtney's talents and energy. Her positive spirit is absolutely contagious.
Currently at work on a new album, Courtney recently sat down with us to discuss life, passion, determination, gratitude and perspective. As much as we adore Courtney as a creative talent, we love her even more so as a person. Her warmth, humor, grace and outgoing personality are an inspiration to us all.
What is your favorite virtue?
My favorite virtue is the ability to be open, compassionate, and understanding to our fellow humans. We're all so complex yet fundamentally the same. It's important to recognize everyone's individuality and struggles---to love without judgement.
What are your favorite qualities in a woman?
Confidence, strength, and drive.
What are your favorite qualities in a man?
Ambition, stability, and focus.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
My idea of perfect happiness is knowing that regardless of what life throws your way, it's going to work out. Belief in your vision and faith in your future. Allowing yourself to be 100 percent in line with your purpose and pushing yourself to be your best daily.
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is the affluence that comes with success. What happens to a person when you achieve your goals? I hope to never give in to comfort. I always want to be filling my mind and body with knowledge and strength; to always be reaching for something. At the same time, I aim to stay grounded and always keep things in perspective. Fame and fortune do not interest me. Fame is only necessary by allowing one to have the ability to inspire and empower people. It's terrifying to imagine letting wealth change me into a disconnected, attention-seeking entertainer. I appreciate the struggle I have encountered because it has picked me up and dropped me enough to remind me how human I am.
Which living person do you most admire?
I admire my sister the most. She's a plant biologist with a PhD and a Fulbright Scholar in Ecuador. Her work ethic and extracurricular exuberance has always been a big influence on me.
What is your most treasured possession?
A blue Ibanez guitar that I bought when I was 14 years old.
Who are your heroes in real life?
My hero is my mom. For her strength in all of the times she's saved my fathers life when he's gone into diabetic shock. I can't imagine how frightening that must be... She's also my hero for all of the ways she's encouraged me grow as an artist and an individual. My mother is a tough woman and she won't praise you to any extreme. However, her reserve has made me a better woman and her strength has inspired my courage.
What is your greatest regret?
My greatest regret is not finding a way to make college work while pursuing my music career. I plan to go back once I've achieved some of my life goals.
What natural talent do you wish you had?
I would love to be a great painter or illustrator.
What's the favorite gift you've ever received?
A keyboard from my dad when I was 16 years old.
If you could invite three people to dinner, dead or alive, who would they be?
Marilyn Monroe, Ghandi, and Bob Marley.
What is your favorite motto or quote?
Be your best self.
What’s the best pieces of advice you’ve ever received?
Be patient with success. With every taste of it, I realize the real gift is the journey. Achieving something is an amazing feeling, although it doesn't compare to the beautiful multitude of experiences you earn along the way.
Tell is about the cause or charity that is closest to your heart?
The cause closest to my heart is to stop human trafficking and enforcing women's rights around the world. As a woman, the thought of being imprisoned and forced against your will is repulsive in any way, shape or form. Some women don't even know what it is to think for themselves in their culture. We need more empowered females to bring a sense of peace.
What's your favorite way to wear cashmere?
In an oversized sweater!