Jacob Interviews…Singer/Songwriter Shannon Curtis

Singer-songwriter Shannon Curtis

Dreampop singer-songwriter Shannon Curtis’s amazing songs and beautiful vocals always enchants her fans. (Photo by Steve Babuljak)

 

By: Jacob Elyachar

Over the summer, I had the chance to meet the incredible Shannon Curtis.

The Los Angeles based dreampop artist traveled to different cities across the country and performed in her fans’ houses as part of her Living Room Tour that had a stop in Kansas.  What made me fall in love with Shannon as an artist was her ability to enchant her audience throughout her concert with her impeccable songs and strong musicianship.

Recently, I had the opportunity to correspond with Shannon and we talked about her musical inspirations, the main difference between dreampop and soft rock plus what fans can expect from her in 2013.

Jacob Elyachar: How did you get interested in music?

Shannon Curtis: Music has been a part of my life since I was born. My dad was a self-taught piano player, and we had a beautiful antique baby grand in the house that I grew up learning how to play. I started lessons when I was 4 and studied classical piano until I graduated high school. I also grew up singing in church and so had lots of opportunities to sing on stage in front of people as a young kid.

I didn’t start dabbling in songwriting until high school and college, however, and then joined a band after college, which led me to take a more disciplined approach to songwriting and performing.

JE: Who are some of your musical inspirations?

SC: The earliest popular music I remember hearing as a kid were the old standards from the 30s and 40s that my dad used to play on our family piano. I have definitely written and recorded a number of songs that pay homage to that classic style.

Because I grew up in the church, I had a steady diet of contemporary Christian music growing up, and as a result developed a deep devotion for Amy Grant as a kid. Some people have told me they hear a bit of her voice in my voice, which would make sense since I spent a lot of time singing along to her in my bathroom mirror, hairbrush “microphone” in hand and all.

When I started to write my own music, however, I was drawn to some of the emerging female songwriters of the time like Sarah McLachlan and, a little later, Fiona Apple. What I liked about their music is that it never sounded like all the other stuff on the radio — they each had established their own unique “voices” in a musical sense (not just their singing voices, if you know what I mean), and the production on their songs was off the beaten path enough to be compelling, while still being accessible to pop music fans.

JE: You describe your music genre as dreampop. What is the main difference between this genre and soft rock?

SC: When I hear the term “soft rock” I can’t help but think of Richard Marx or Bryan Adams or other cheesy soft rock stars of the 80s and 90s — it sounds like a dated term to me. I define the dreampop music I make as being a melody-driven, down-tempo, electronically influenced, mellow style. Even though I experimented with more traditional singer-songwriter arrangements in my earlier recordings (i.e. piano, guitar, bass, drums), the dreampop approach that I’m taking now seems to really suit my musical personality — and, interestingly, it’s most reflective of the out-of-the-box approaches I liked in my early songwriting days when I was listening to Sarah and Fiona.

My husband, producer/engineer Jamie Hill (http://secretagentaudio.com) is producing all the songs for my upcoming record, and we’re both really interested in creating sonic landscapes that help to tell the story of the song. That means we use a lot of textures and sounds that you might not find in more traditionally produced singer-songwriter recordings, including ambient and field recordings at times, along with drum machines and synthesizers. Our goal is to make recordings that are compelling to listen to that create movies in your head, narrated by the story of the song.

JE: What goes through your mind while you are writing your songs?

SC: I see typically see a movie playing in my head when I’m writing a song, and my goal is to convey the scenes I see in mind via the lyrics and theme of the song.

JE: One of the highlights for your summer was your cross-country Living Room Tour.  What were some of the highlights from that tour?

SC: Every day was a highlight of that tour! It was the best tour I’ve ever been a part of in all my time touring and playing music. We met wonderful, kind, generous people every single day; and every single day I had the privilege of being introduced to whole new groups of people by our amazing house concert hosts, and then had the pleasure of playing my music for them in the most intimate and special way. We were blown away by the whole experience and can’t wait to do it again.

JE: How has social media impacted your music career?

SC: As social media has become more a part of everyone’s every day life, it has naturally become a big part of how I connect with my fans and how they interact with me and my music. I can’t always be on the road meeting fans in person, but I can be available nearly every day via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr.  Those social media outlets allows me to continue to nurture the relationships I have with people who follow my music, even when I’m not able to be with them face to face.

JE: What can fans expect from you in 2013?

SC: In 2013, we will be releasing my first full-length, full-production album called CINEMASCOPE.  We will also be doing a repeat and probable expansion on the Summer House Concert Tour that we did last summer — all the shows will be in living rooms and backyards of my fans all over the country.

To connect with Shannon, you can visit her website: http://shannoncurtis.net/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. As long as there’s a show in a certain front yard in South Pasadena, I’m happy!

    Always glad to learn something new abut Shan, thank you. Next time I see her I’m going to sing Bryan Adams to her. . . ;o)

  2. You are my inhalation , I own few web logs and occasionally run out from to post.

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