Troy University graduate Kelly Efstathiou and her singing partner Cori Wood recently won the Inspirational Country Music Association Award for Vocal Duo/Duo Performance of the Year.
Efstathiou and Wood, who perform as Cori & Kelly, took the stage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on April 4 to accept the award.
“It was an awesome experience,” said Efstathiou, A 2007 graduate. “We were able to meet all the other artists we hear on the radio and talk with online, and we got to be presenters as well. When they called out Duo of the Year, we were just floored.”
This was the first year the group has been part of the awards ceremony.
“The crowd reaction was amazing,” she said. “We gave all the glory to God, and we thanked the radio stations for playing our song [last year’s No. 1 hit ‘Take Me Back to Church’]. The duo that won the award before us, Branded, won the Living Legend award, and they mentioned us in their speech.”
For Efstathiou, it was especially exciting to be on the Grand Ole Opry stage.
“Three years earlier, when I went up to Nashville, we took the Grand Ole Opry backstage tour as guests and said, ‘Maybe one day we’ll be here,’” she said. “We didn’t know this would be our path. Being able to go in the dressing rooms, looking at memorabilia and walking on stage, it was a really neat experience.”
Efstathiou said she hopes Cori & Kelly can inspire others to chase their dreams.
“We both feel passionately that God’s calling us to do something, and it’s never too late to experience something you’ve always had a dream for,” she said. “We’re wives and moms, but we followed a calling. We definitely thank everybody out there that supports us, shares our music and gives us encouraging messages.”
Cori & Kelly hit No. 1 on the HLE Christian Country Countdown and the Power Source Christian Country top 100 charts in 2018 with their hit single “Take Me Back to Church.”
While at TROY, Efstathiou was one of the earliest participants in the Music Industry Program.