The sound of the movies in your head.
What happens when a girl who grew up singing Amy Grant songs into her hairbrush teams up with a guy who raised himself on New Order and wore only black for ten years? They make the dreamy, penetrating songs on CINEMASCOPE, the debut album from LA-based dreampop artist Shannon Curtis, as helmed by her producer/mixer husband Jamie Hill (Jens Lekman, Chris Bathgate, JJXO).
Curtis says of the record:
“When I write a song, my goal is to bring to life a scene that’s playing in my mind. And Jamie’s approach to production is to create a sonic landscape that captures the visual setting of a song with sound. So what we’ve ended up with on CINEMASCOPE is essentially a collection of little sound movies; and when you listen, you’ll hopefully find yourself in the middle of the scenes that are playing out in the music.”
As a songwriter, Curtis has an uncanny ability to get at the essential truth of a situation. One listener recently described his experience of listening to “When The Lights Go Down,” a deep cut from the new album, by remarking, “Wow, how’d she know?” This is a core element of Curtis’s power as an artist: a fearless delivery of the truth and a total lack of artifice that disarms listeners, draws them in, and makes them feel safe when they’re in that vulnerable place.
Buzzbands.la recently described Curtis’s sound as “downtempo dreampop.” The Los Angeles Times has described Curtis’s voice as being “like the love child of Fiona Apple and Norah Jones.”
The Boulder Weekly puts it vividly: “Curtis makes music that makes you want to dance in your underwear or cry in your beer.”
Curtis has released 3 EPs, one acoustic LP, two 10-track maxi-singles and a live album over the last 6 years, all on the small independent label Saint Cloud Records. Saint Cloud has sold over 14,000 of those records to date, and several of Curtis’s songs have been featured in TV and film, including ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars, ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and MTV’s The Hills.
Three songs from CINEMASCOPE — ”Brightest Light In The Room,” “Let’s Stay In,” and “Anti-Gravity” — were released as singles in 2011-2012, while the album was still in production. “Brightest Light” was inspired by and written for two of Curtis’s fans — both retired female US Army veterans of the war in Iraq — on the occasion of their wedding engagement. “Anti-Gravity” was written for Curtis’s next-door neighbor in South Pasadena, California, as she grieved the sudden death of her husband, noted opera composer Daniel Catán.
Curtis has been breaking new ground over the last couple of years with her adoption of the “house concert” format for her touring and live shows. The summer of 2013 will feature her second summer house concert tour in as many years, taking her to over 50 fans’ homes in 15 states across the country.
Curtis’s Saint Cloud Records releases are:
Boomerangs & Seesaws (EP, 2007)
Paris Can’t Have You (EP, 2008)
Why Don’t You Stay? (EP, 2009)
“I play the piano and sing love songs” (acoustic LP, 2010)
Brightest Light in the Room (digital single and CD maxi-single, 2011)
Let’s Stay In (digital single and CD mega-single, 2011)
Anti-Gravity (digital single, 2012)
2012 Summer House Concert Tour LIVE! (live album, 2012)
CINEMASCOPE (LP, 2013)