Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Catie Curtis: Enjoying the 'Sweet Life'
Extended for the Online Edition of Windy City Times
by Amy Wooten
2008-10-01

This article shared 5080 times since Wed Oct 1, 2008
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


The economy might be failing, but singer-songwriter Catie Curtis wants you to try to look at the silver lining.

For her ninth studio album, Sweet Life, this out lesbian folksinger headed to Nashville to create a big, warm sound to accompany the new album's positive vibe. But that isn't all this award-winning musician has been up to. Last month, on the day Sweet Life was released, Curtis awarded several low-income children their very own guitars as part of her Aspire to Inspire initiative.

Windy City Times spoke with Curtis about paying it forward and looking at the sweet parts of life and more before she heads to town for an Oct. 4 performance at the Old Town School of Folk Music.

Learn more about Catie Curtis' Aspire to Inspire Endowment at www.hopeequity.org/catiecurtis.cfm.

To learn more about Catie Curtis and Sweet Life, which was released last month, see www.catiecurtis.com or www.myspace.com/catiecurtis.

Windy City Times: Let's start with Aspire to Inspire. When your album came out last month, you gave away 15 guitars to low-income kids. Could you tell me more about this effort and what inspired you to start it?

Catie Curtis: Absolutely. I often tell the story of when I was 15 years old, a woman in my town gave me a guitar. I was really passionate about music, but I didn't have the resources to buy a guitar. This woman was having a yard sale. She saw that I really wanted it. My eyes were wide and I was trying to figure out how to get it. She said, 'If you promise me you'll learn how to play it, I'll give it to you.' So, when I tell people that story, because people are often asking how I started playing guitar, I always feel like I want to thank this woman, but she has disappeared and I have no idea how to track her down. I started thinking that the best way to thank her would be to pay it forward. First, I wanted to give away a guitar. But then I started talking to folks about it, and I talked to several fans who were interested in supporting a whole initiative, where I could give away lots of guitars and make it sustainable.

WCT: That's very cool.

CC: It's really neat because in the first year, we gave away 15 guitars through the ASCAP Foundation, in partnership with the Fresh Air Fund, which are camps out of New York City. Kids can take guitar lessons at these camps. The ASCAP Foundation was able to identify specific students who were really into playing and who had an interest. When we awarded these kids the guitars on Sept. 9, which was the CD release of Sweet Life, they didn't know what hit them. They were so excited. Basically, I was trying to praise them for showing their interest and passion in music, even though they didn't know how they were going to pursue it.

That's the way of the artist's dream. You have to show that you want to want to express yourself and that you care about it. From that love of the art, sometimes you are able to create. Sometimes the path opens for you. That's what I really wanted them to get. They got those guitars. The rest of the money I put in an endowment online at Hopeequity.org . That is an sustainable and accountable online endowment that was started by the Heifer Foundation. That's a really neat way for people to give, because the interest from that endowment is going to the ASCAP Foundation and the Fresh Air kids every year now forever.

WCT: That's wonderful. That way, you can keep it going.

CC: It's really neat. It got started basically because I wanted to express gratitude. Other people have had positive experiences with people supporting them, and this is a way for anyone who wants to get involved. It's very positive. There is no overhead. It's just out there to support kids who are into music.

WCT: You've been touring for years now. You have nine albums. Do you ever wonder if things would have turned out a little differently if you hadn't of received that guitar?

CC: Absolutely. I really don't know if I would have become a songwriter. I look at all the pieces of my life—a performer, a songwriter and a guitar player—and I think being a songwriter has been the most life-changing, because it has been through writing songs that I've learned how to really connect to people and to reflect people's lives in a way that music can best do. I never learned how to write a song until I had a guitar. It really changed my life by having that instrument.

WCT: What are your hopes for these kids—that they all become songwriters? What do you think will happen as a result of this?

CC: The main thing for me is that I want them to feel like its worth pursuing whatever they care about, and that they feel a sense of optimism and hopefulness about the possibility of good things coming from making an effort. We are rewarding their interest in music. Even if they don't end up being a musician, they learn that lesson that it's far better to be interested, involved and to try something, rather than sit back and be critical. If you can do that, you have accomplished something. These kids haven't been rewarded for a lot of things. A lot of them have been in difficult financial and familial situations, so I want them to have a positive experience through trying their best.

WCT: Also, hopefully they will grow up and also pay it forward when they can.

CC: Yeah, absolutely! Maybe some of them will have their lives changed by the actual instrument, and they will become musicians. That would be really cool. I'm going to try to keep in touch with some of them.

WCT: That's great. Let's talk a little bit about Sweet Life, which is a really positive album that looks at the silver lining in life. The last time our publication spoke with you was when you released Long Night Moon. You had just gotten married and had a new addition to your family. Has your life really impacted your music, because I hear that positive vibe throughout the whole album?

CC: In some ways, it's a convoluted path. I think that the last few years, the way that things are going in the world and our country, and to some extent to deal with that while raising kids. With all that in mind, I've gained an interest in writing songs that help me rise above all of that. I think it's a difficult time. There is more darkness than two years ago. For me, I think we lose sight of all the incredibly beautiful moments in life and are constantly ruminating on the negativity. In my records, I write what I need to hear. I really needed to refocus myself on the really positive things in my life. With 'What You Can't Believe,' that song is really about that it's easy to think life is meaningless with the way things are right now, but maybe some small things you've done makes the world better. We are encouraged to be fearful and running, and to hide in a hole somewhere, but we really need to realize that life is short and we need to be really present. I've been sort of battling this stuff out myself on a personal level and then in the song, encourage myself and others to live less fearfully.

WCT: It's been a long, eight years. Your album also has a really full sound this time around. What made you go in that direction?

CC: I think the fact that I recorded it in Nashville. It gave myself a chance to get in a room with some deeply talented musicians who will just play. Their love of music and their incredible talent came through so strongly. In a way, I think Nashville is a less inhibited town than Boston, in sense that you have musicians that are veterans playing with everybody from Bonnie Raitt to Emmylou Harris. All the musicians on the record have played with these great musicians on albums and tours. I feel like they came to my record with a real sense of playfulness and precariousness. I gave them all a really long leash to do that. I felt that these songs needed that kind of open and warm vibe, as opposed to being quiet and thoughtful. I don't mean less thoughtful, but maybe less cerebral.

WCT: You also cover one of my favorite Death Cab For Cutie Songs, 'Soul Meets Body.' Why did you choose that song?

CC: Yay! For one thing, I think a lot of my fans don't listen to Death Cab. For another thing, I think this theme of being present in the moment, which kind of wraps around this record, really works as an idea in 'Soul Meets Body.' You know, being very present in your body and trying to live in a way that is very authentic.

WCT: One of the things I was wondering, because you are an artist who has never strayed from saying how you feel about social issues or politics, what do you think about the election right now?

CC: I'll be really honest. I am a strong Obama supporter, and I think there are so many issues right now that really need to be tackled in a really smart and progressive way. I'm just crossing my fingers, honestly, that Obama and Biden win. I have to be honest about that, because I think that is really critical for the country right now. All I can do is hope. I mention them whenever I can, for whatever good that will do.

WCT: On your last album, you touched on the fact that marriage was being used as a wedge issue, but this time around, it doesn't seem to be an issue.

CC: That's actually progress, isn't it? It's become less of an issue, and we've become less of a scapegoat. However, I think right now it's become immigrants, and that's not good, either. But for some reason, it's not the hot button issue of this election. It may be that things like the economy and the war are just beating the path so loud right now, that there is no way you can avoid the real issues.

WCT: So, you'll be coming to Chicago on Oct. 4. For people who haven't seen you live before, what should they expect from a show?

CC: Well, I guess the thing that might surprise a lot of people about a show with a singer-songwriter is in general, and with me, there's a lot of humor in my show, as well as storytelling. It's not as serious as you might think by listening to the record. There is a lot of serious content in the songs, but we are going to have a lot of fun. I'm going to have a harmony singer from the album who lives in Chicago. Her name is Ingrid Graudins. She'll be performing with me at the show.


This article shared 5080 times since Wed Oct 1, 2008
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jerrod Carmichael, '9-1-1' actor, Kayne the Lovechild, STARZ shows, Cynthia Erivo 2024-04-12
- Gay comedian/filmmaker Jerrod Carmichael criticized Dave Chappelle, opening up about the pair's ongoing feud and calling out Chappelle's opinions on the LGBTQ+ community, PinkNews noted, citing an Esquire article. Carmichael ...


Gay News

Judith Butler focuses on perceptions of gender at Chicago Humanities Festival talk 2024-04-10
- In an hour-long program filled with dry humor—not to mention lots of audience laughter—philosopher, scholar and activist Judith Butler (they/them) spoke in depth on their new book at Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., on ...


Gay News

Andersonville Chamber announces Andersonville Midsommarfest entertainment lineup 2024-04-09
--From a press release - CHICAGO (April 8, 2024) — The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce (ACC) is pleased to announce the full entertainment line-up for Andersonville Midsommarfest, one of Chicago's oldest and most beloved summer ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Outfest, Chita Rivera, figure skaters, letter, playwright dies 2024-04-05
- For more than four decades, Outfest has been telling LGBTQ+ stories through the thousands of films screened during its annual Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ+ Film Festival—but that event may have a different look this year because ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Dionne Warwick, OUTshine, Ariana DeBose, 'Showgirls,' 'Harlem' 2024-03-29
Video below - Iconic singer Dionne Warwick was honored for her decades-long advocacy work for people living with HIV/AIDS at a star-studded amfAR fundraising gala in Palm Beach, per the Palm Beach Daily News. Warwick received the "Award of ...


Gay News

'Rumors' performers create alternative drag playground 2024-03-24
- At first glance, Dorian's Through The Record Shop (1939 W. North Ave.) looks like a brightly-lit shop with a handful of records on the wall, but there's a secret world behind those unassuming shelves. Visitors are ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer musicians, Marvel situation, Elliot Page, Nicole Kidman 2024-03-21
- Queer musician Joy Oladokun released the single "I Wished on the Moon," from Jack Antonoff's official soundtrack for the new Apple TV+ series The New Look, per a press release. The soundtrack, ...


Gay News

THEATER Chicago's City Lit has anxiety on tap with 'Two Hours in a Bar' 2024-03-21
- Two Hours in a Bar Waiting for Tina Meyer by Kristine Thatcher with material by Larry Shue Text Me by Kingsley Day (Book, Music and Lyrics). At: City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.. Tickets: ...


Gay News

Lollapalooza announces lineup; SZA, Skrillex among headliners 2024-03-19
- Lollapalooza has released its line-up for the event that's taking place Aug. 1-4 at Grant Park. Headliners include SZA, Blink-182, Skrillex, The Killers, Hozier, Melanie Martinez and Stray Kids, among others. Some of the other acts ...


Gay News

Jamie Barton brings nuances of identity to her Lyric Opera 'Aida' performance 2024-03-18
- Chicago's Lyric Opera is currently featuring a production of Giuseppe Verdi's Aida starring Michelle Bradley as Aida, Jamie Barton as Amneris and Russell Thomas as Radamès. The opera runs through April 7, 2024, with Francesca Zambello ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Lady Gaga, 'P-Valley,' Wendy Williams, Luke Evans, 'Queer Eye,' 'Transition' 2024-03-15
- Lady Gaga came to the defense of Dylan Mulvaney after a post with the trans influencer/activist for International Women's Day received hateful responses, People Magazine noted. On Instagram, Gaga stated, "It's appalling to me that a ...


Gay News

House-music festival on Aug. 30-Sept. 1; icons, Idris Elba to be part of it 2024-03-13
- The ARC Music Festival—an event celebrating house music—will take place Aug. 30-Sept. 1 at Chicago's Union Park, per WGN-TV. This will mark the fourth year that the festival will celebrate the genre at Union Park—less than ...


Gay News

COBRAH slithers into Chicago and brings Feminine Energy 2024-03-08
- COBRAH snaked her way into Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St., for two nights March 7 and 8 for her Succubus Tour. This Swedish-born talent has a way with naughty words and ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jinkx Monsoon, Xavier Dolan, 'Frida,' Lena Waithe, out singer 2024-03-08
- Two-time RuPaul's Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon is headed back to the New York stage, joining off-Broadway's Little Shop of Horrors as Audrey beginning April 2, according to Playbill. The casting makes Monsoon the first drag ...


Gay News

Queer Eye's Jai Rodriguez is set to slay at The Big Gay Cabaret 2024-03-05
- Out and proud performer Jai Rodriguez is set to play at The Big Gay Cabaret this March for three days. Presented by RuPaul Drag Racer Ginger Minj, this monthly series highlights the wide world of cabaret ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS






Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.