Basic Background Info

Birth: Unknown
Location: Houston, Texas
Band: Prince
Genres: Soul, Funk, Rock, Pop, R&B
Instruments: Drums
Occupation: Musician


Cora C. Coleman-Dunham began her drumming career in the ninth grade while attending Kashmere High School in Houston, Texas. Throughout her high school career, Cora Coleman-Dunham distinguished herself as both a remarkable student (she graduated valedictorian of her senior class) and a gifted drummer while she played in her high schoolís marching and concert bands.

Following high school, Cora Coleman-Dunham attended Howard University where she majored in music and studied under Harold Summey, William Richards, and Grady Tate. Cora Coleman-Dunham's obvious talents were quickly noticed and she soon found herself performing with the likes of Greg Osby, Grady Tate, Yusef Lateef, Larry Ridley, and Marvin Stamm. Cora was the first Howard University student to receive the prestigious Avedis Zildjian Scholarship for Outstanding Percussionist and the first female section leader of the collegeís Thunder Machine drum section.

Cora Coleman-Dunham moved to Los Angeles in 2002. On her first night in town, she connected with jazz and R&B guitarist Phil Upchurch. She would perform with him for the next year. Then in 2003, Cora Coleman-Dunham competed in Guitar Centerís Annual National Drum-Off, won first place, and the title of Nation's Best Amateur Drummer. Cora Coleman-Dunham's prize was several thousand dollars worth of equipment, a 2003 Jeep Liberty of her choice, and a custom Roland V-drum set. Next, Cora Coleman-Dunham lent her drumming skills to Blues great, Zach Harmon. While she toured with his group, they earned the title of 'Best International Unsigned Blues Band' in 2004.

Back in Los Angeles that November, Cora Coleman-Dunham was on stage playing with keyboardist Frank McComb when Prince saw her for the first time. They chatted between sets, and he took a special interest in her. As a Christmas present, Prince ordered Cora a one of a kind eight-piece, birch, spider-pine finish, gold-trimmed, Drum Workshop drum kit. Not much later, Prince picked Cora Coleman-Dunham to be the backbone for the most recent incarnation of his band.

Cora has drum credits on Prince's 2006 3121 release (including the single 'Te Amo Corazon') and 2007's Planet Earth. Cora also performed on stage with Prince at Super Bowl XLI in Miami. The combination of unanticipated precipitation and purple stage lights made for incredibly convincing purple rain.
She also toured with Beyonce in 2013.


Album Year Album Name Album Band
2001 Howard University Jazz Ensemble Howard University Jazz Ensemble
2001 Persuaded: Live in DC Richard Smallwood
2002 Howard University Jazz Ensemble Howard University Jazz Ensemble
2005 Dr. Dee Live in DC/My Heart Says Yes Dr. Diane L. White
2005 The Blues According to Zacariah Zac Harmon
2005 Te Amo Corazona Prince
2006 Schuman Nature Schuman Nature
2006 3121 Prince
2007 Planet Earth Prince
2012 Soul Classics Maceo Parker


  • Cora originally entered Howard University as a computer science major.
  • Cora’s husband is the bassist in Prince’s band.
  • Ninth grade is considered a “late” age to begin drumming.

Instruments of Choice



Drums: Drum Workshop
Cymbals: Sabian
Hardware: Drum Workshop
Heads: Remo
Electronics: CAD Mics, Ultrasones Headphones
Sticks: Vater

Pics & Clips