Singer / songwriter Curtis Peoples shares his inspirations and how he got to where he is today.
Let’s start at the beginning.
“When I was in first grade, I had to draw what I wanted to be for some book we had to do for school. I drew myself as a singer. Then, in third or fourth grade, I got super embarrassed about that, and made it a baseball player. So I actually went back and edited my own first grade drawing.”
“I ultimately thought about that when I started playing music with my friends. Around the time we were 13 or 14 we got really serious about it, like ‘oh, this is not just something we do after school, this is something we want to do.’”
“We started to play Battle of the Bands at school. My teachers were always incredibly supportive of me as a writer. I think when it turned that ‘ There’s no return’ corner, I was 15.”
As Curtis and his music grew, his inspirations grew as well.
“When I was younger, I got into the Beatles. I loved everything about them, but I loved the songs. But when I knew I wanted to play music, I got into Pearl Jam. I used to carry picture books of Pearl Jam on tour in high school and in class and just randomly look at them. Michael Jackson was always was a favorite of mine. Also, U2 was one of my favorite bands when I started.”
“I want to write those songs that make me feel like the songs that I love make me feel.”
With inspiring lyrics, Curtis Peoples’ music has a strong message.
“I use the word joy. Even if it’s a serious ballad, I’ve never been a very dark and negative person. I can feel dark and I can feel negative, but ultimately with my music I really do – and I know it sounds mildly corny – feel joy and some form of hope. I sound a little maybe un-rock & roll in that sense but I really believe that.”
“When I write, whether it’s a serious ballad or something, and even if it’s about a terrible breakup, I always put something in there about what I got out of it.”
Curtis shared with Tonight that his favorite song he has written is “Afraid.”
“It was not only a corner turned as a writer, but I was at a point in my life when I had been doing music for a while. I had some really good successes, but also felt really stuck. Making that last record, I took a lot of risks. I stopped touring because I had to make this record. I called every favor in the world, from the biggest people I knew to just my friends. All of a sudden I was kinda in the woods. I was trying to figure it out like ‘is this the right call?’ I had toured so relentlessly before that and I was terrified. I was writing with Busbee, and kind of venting about this entire thing with him. I just kept saying ‘afraid, afraid, I’m afraid.’ He was like ‘well clearly we know what we are writing about today.’”
“We wrote this song and it was just the realest I had ever been willing to go in a song where I didn’t kinda mask it in some kind of story. It changed the game. The reaction from friends and fans, and every time I played it it felt like an out of body experience and it means everything to me.”
His newest single, “Up for Whatever” focuses on taking risks, so Tonight asked Curtis about the riskiest thing he has ever done.
“This career. Moving up to LA from San Diego, and kind of just refusing to not do it any way but the way I wanted may have made my career slower, but it is now paying off. I’m happy that I was able to stick to what I believe in as a writer and artist. There were plenty of times when I first moved here when I could have changed my complete look and sound to fit what was cool, and maybe I would have gotten a deal sooner, but it would have felt awful.”
“This is a scary career. Trying to do music and make it work, trying to make it a career where people actually hear your songs, go on tour, and have real fans is really really hard. But there’s no other option.”
Curtis also let us know that his new EP “Damage Control” will be coming out soon, featuring “Up for Whatever.”