HOUSTON – Queen Cora Coleman is a world-renowned percussionist born and raised in the Bayou City.
She has been lead drummer for Prince as well as for fellow Houstonian Beyonce. She played during each of their halftime performances at past Super Bowls.
She says she took lessons from the experiences with each artist: business acumen from Prince and creativity from Queen Bey.
"Always breaking molds, always creating molds. Not even breaking them," Coleman says of Beyonce. "She's creating them. And to be able to create with somebody and share time, and space and energy, you're never the same after that."
Coleman continues to perform across the globe, but for the past three years the Kashmere High School alumna has spent more time in her hometown carving out a second career: owner of a construction company.
Coleman launched Building Simple this month. It's a company that designs modular shipping crates for living and work space.
She says the possibilities for customers are nearly limitless.
"Whether they want a residential structure, or commercial space, or man cave, or a swimming pool, hunting lodge," says Coleman. "And whether they want bunks or a full-size bed."
The connection between artist and entrepreneur was something honed by Coleman's family. Fifty years ago, her grandfather founded G.K. Coleman and Son Realty, which is one of the first black-owned realty companies in Houston.
The business was handed to her father, who passed away just last year.
"My grandparents were definitely trailblazers in the city of Houston," she says. "I just feel like this is my way for my generation of expressing and understanding the value of ownership and of real estate."
While her music career will continue, the construction company has allowed Coleman to create a new groove in this latest chapter of her life -- a groove that keeps her mindful of the legacy she hopes to leave behind.
"To be a rhythm-maker. To set a tempo that people can follow, that they can dance to, and that they enjoy life, and see as a template," Coleman says. "An example that you can live life by."
In addition to the new launch, Coleman is currently a featured performer on a European-wide talent show based in Italy.