Quick Q and A with Catie Curtis

A music critic once described the music of Catie Curtis as “sophisticated simplicity.”  That’s an excellent way to highlight the fact that Catie’s songs reflect the pure emotions and feelings that resonate with her fans; yet those very same songs are wrapped up in an exquisite musical quilt of sound and rhythm.  Well-respected songwriter, Mary Gauthier, praises Catie in one of the most heartfelt quotes I’ve seen in a long, long time.  She says about Catie: “She is an inspiration to me. She knows the power of gentleness, and the vulnerability in her voice has always undone me.  Made me want to be a better person.”   Catie’s ability to sing about what really matters has made the world a better place.

To learn more about Catie, visit her website.

Here’s a cool video of the song “The Voyager” from Catie’s latest CD, Flying Dream.

catie sweater

How do you manage to juggle all the aspects of being a full-time musician?  Do you plot out time to be in “creative mode”?  

Yes, I have to set aside time for writing or it just doesn’t happen!

Touring can be grueling.  What do you do to keep yourself balanced when you’re on the road?

I go for walks, and do yoga in my hotel room.  I focus a lot on writing/finishing new songs on the road because it helps me to feel fresh at each gig.

Tell us about your latest CD, Flying Dream.  First of all, what does the title mean?

Flying Dream is a moment when life seems too good to be true.  So the line in the chorus, “Don’t look down in the flying dream” means don’t get in your own way– let the good stuff happen. Most of the songs were co-written by Kristen Hall.  She sings harmony and produces the CD too.

cc CD1

You’re now on your own record label. Is that a freeing experience or is it a bit scary after having been affiliated with a label for so many years?  

I was with an indie label, so it doesn’t feel like that huge a change.  I already had freedom and being in charge isn’t really scary- it’s just more work on my plate with the upside of more potential reward!

You’re co-written many songs on this CD with Kristen Hall.  Were these forays into crafting songs together different than your previous co-writing experiences with Mark Erelli, Mary Gauthier and Beth Nielson Chapman? 

Co-writing is remarkably similar from writer to writer.  We just talk, play and brainstorm, riding the ups and downs of the creative process together.  I love it!

Your promo for the album states that there is some  “subtle jazz, electronic and AM pop shadings.” That sounds intriguing and very different from your other recordings.  What’s the reaction been from your long-time fans?  

I was going for dreamy and yummy, which we got. So far, my fans have said it’s one of their favorites, if not the best CD I’ve made.  Of course my fans are kind, so you’ll have to listen for yourself and see.  :)

You are well known for supporting causes like the Voices United for Separation of Church and State and Equal Marriage. Do these causes give you strength and insight which fuels your songwriting?

I get involved with causes because I believe that music can shift people’s thinking about issues.  I also love bringing people together to support a cause– folk music is about ideas as much as music.  The reality is that I’m singing mostly about love/relationships and stories that are not overtly political.  But taking a stand on some issues brings a little more meaning to my work.

You’ve become an ordained minister and are able to marry friends and fans.  What prompted you to take that step?

I went to a couple weddings at which the couple didn’t seem connected to the officiant and vice versa.  What I like about getting involved in weddings is the preparation with the couple to help them create the content, and to get to know them.  Then when we get up there on their wedding day, I’m relatively calm (having stage experience helps) so I can help them with their jitters, and help them feel as comfortable and authentic as possible.

You’ve had the opportunity to play at one of Obama’s inauguration parties as well as playing holiday shows at the White House.  How did you come into the radar of the Obama administration? 

The White House Director of the Office of Visitors is a fan.  Sweet!

Do you have any cool stories about adventures in the White House?

My dad got to pick up basketballs from Obama’s rack, and I got to play with the White House dogs– Sunny and Bo.  Both pretty great experiences.

Are you listening to any new artists these days?  If so, who…and what are your thoughts about them and their music?

I love Boston-based Tall Heights.  They are two guys who play cello and guitar, have gorgeous voices, great songs, and the love for what they are doing.  Total package!