Singer/songwriter and pop vocalist Curt Anderson has just released Every Moment Vol. II. Curt spoke to LTTM about his background in making music, the new album, and making a difference to people's lives.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in making music?
Well, how far back do you want to go?! I started my life in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, did most of my elementary and high school years in Ithaca, Michigan, and studied music business at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana (Despite my last name, they strangely never give me key to the city.). Music is one of the only things I’ve ever wanted to do, so I’ve been trying to figure out how to make it happen ever since I recorded my first CD and sold it in the halls of my high school. I charged $5 and made a few hundred bucks - enough to pay for prom for my date and me. Growing up, I did everything musically that I could. I was in the school band; I did the talent shows; I played and sang in church and youth group. If it was something with music, I was involved.
Tell us about your album 'Every Moment Vol II'
This is the kind of album I’d love to get from my favorite artists. It’s got some new songs I’m stoked about, plus a couple new mixes of some songs from the first record, and you get a look into the songwriting and production process with original worktapes - in all their rawness - from when the songs were first written. There are also some demos of songs taking shape in production, prior to the final versions on Every Moment and Every Moment Vol. II. I’ve always loved hearing how a song is written and produced, and when I’ve come across early demos or worktapes of my favorite songs, that’s so fun to listen to. Hopefully people will enjoy that look into the writing of my songs.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
Man, I don’t even know where to start. There are a ridiculous number of songwriters I dig. I’m thankful to have already gotten to work with so many of the best writers in Nashville, many of whom I looked up to and dreamed of working with. And those writers have in turn made me a better writer. But to narrow it down to one, it would have to be Ryan Tedder from OneRepublic. I’ve followed his work as an artist and writer ever since I stumbled upon “Apologize” on MySpace 12 years ago. He’s prolific, with distinguishable characteristics, yet continually pushing for what’s next while never getting in the way of a song or artist. It’s all about the song and using his gifts to help that artist’s talents shine, whether it’s his own band or the countless other artists he’s written for. That’s a key characteristic of a great writer.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Top 40 radio. I love clever hooks, instantly catchy melodies, big beats that you feel in your body, and vocals that have interesting rhythms and cadence. Michael Jackson’s Dangerous was the first album I ever bought; I love songs like “Black & White,” “Heal the World,” and “Will You Be There.” But on his albums - and practically every other one I’ve ever purchased - it’s rare for me to enjoy the whole album. I quickly find the handful of songs I love, so that’s the mentality I have when writing. I want to write music the same way I consume it. So almost all of what I write is written with radio in mind.
How would you define success in your career?
Success looks different every year, I think. Nine years ago, success was getting to write with Grammy & Dove Award-winning writers soon after I moved to town. Six years ago, success was being able to leave my part-time job as a lifeguard and support my family full-time with music. Sure, it’s meager at times - you learn to use the good months to sustain the low months - but how many artists never even get to call themselves a “full time musician?” I try to keep that in mind on the frustrating days. These days, my success includes having three Top 5 songs around the globe and I’ve gotten to visit almost 40 countries so far - some of them a couple dozen times. Long term, success is getting to do what I love in a way that provides a comfortable life for my family, while making sure I’m a present and engaged husband and father. And hopefully all the while, the contribution I make to the world around me makes a difference in people’s lives.
What is your favourite album of all time?
I don’t know that I really have a favorite of all time from start to finish, but again I’d have to say Dangerous by Michael Jackson. His voice and melodies have had such an influence on me, even early on in life. In third grade, his song “Black and White” taught me how music helps amplify moments. I had this little basketball hoop attached to a doorway in our house. I’d crank the intro of “Black and White” like I was being announced onto the court, then start my run to the hoop as the song started. And his vocal style and unique cadences - the way he would use vocal sounds and stutters as part of his melodies - I learned that it’s not just about the actual words that are used, but how they’re used to draw in the ear. Say something of value, but make it cool, too.
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your mp3 player. What track is it?
Wait, is this supposed to be a problem?! A hot, humid island sounds like the perfect little holiday! Right now, it would probably be Kygo’s “Stargazing” or Dua Lipa’s “New Rules.”
What does the next year hold for Curt Anderson?
If only I knew! I’ll keep touring the globe, logging a few hundred thousand miles in the air throughout the year, and I’ll likely be closer to visiting 50 countries by years end. I’ll continue writing and growing creatively, and I’ll try to be a better husband and father every day. We’ll see what opportunities God provides and where it all goes, but I have no intention of slowing down. I love and am thankful for what I get to do.