omg: Your music is an interesting fusion of country, soul, rock, hip-hop...What are some of your influences?
Curt: I really come from a gospel/bluegrass background. I grew up with that for the first 15-18 years of my life. Then my music career really started with The Roots, so soul and R&B music. I learned how to play that way from opening for the guys and touring with people like Jill Scott and Musiq Soulchild- that era of artists. The rock element comes from 2007-09, when I was lead singer for a rock band- we were on American Idol. I love Green Day, all of that type of music. And Incubus- one of my mentors is in that band, so that’s pretty much where the fusion comes from.
omg: What’s it like working with rap icons like Dr. Dre and Eminem?
Curt: So cool, I mean, I’m a high energy kind of person. I’m intense, I have an intense approach when it comes to music, and those guys are the same way. We really mesh well. They’re so talented and explosive. It’s like working like your doppelganger.
omg: You split your time between LA and Nashville. How does the music scene differ in both places?
Curt: LA is really a melting pot of a lot of different things, so for me it’s kind of the same.I kind of immerse myself in the energy that I like. In LA, there’s not as much country, but there is a nice country scene there. Obviously, there’s the larger R&B, Soul, Hip-Hop scene. I guess the only thing that makes it different to me.
omg: Do you think that will eventually make its way to Nashville?
Curt: Yeah, that would be cool. Nashville’s growing every day, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t.
omg: You’ve been nominated for and won numerous awards. What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment?
Curt: I’m not really an award guy. When I won the Grammy, I was super happy, but after that day, I was already back to work on the next thing. I was diving into new projects, stuff like that. But really, I got nominated for this little California Country award, and that was cool. Country has always been a genre that I loved. I mentioned how I grew up singing lots of Bluegrass, so my parents love that I’m back at this. Who even knows who made up that award, you know? It probably means nothing, but to me, it meant the very most.
omg: Yeah, you’ve worked in all these different genres. What draws you to Country the most?
Curt: It was the first style of music I listened to. I grew up in church, an African American church. The guy who started the sound of music in that church was a huge Bluegrass fan. He was even friends with Elvis. He played slide guitar and steel guitar. My uncle had a banjo in his basement. A lot of people don’t know that, but the first 18 years of my life were all rooted in that music. It’s natural for me to mesh those sounds.
omg: Do you have a favorite memory from touring and being out on the road?
Curt: I have so many cool memories. I think one of the best ones was in Africa. I hiked this mountain- I’m one of those people that’s really in tune with nature. I went out there and prayed and talked about the things I wanted to accomplish. I stood on that mountain and declared my dreams, and man, what a cool moment. I mean, a lot of funny stuff happened out on the road. It’s just that when you get the opportunity to tour and go to these places, it’s amazing to see these sights and reflect. There’s different energy everywhere that can inspire creativity. As a traveling songwriter, you’re constantly waking up in new places, feeling and seeing things you haven’t before, so I take advantage of that and use it to inspire songs.
omg: Tell us about your single “Man Like Me.”
Curt: It was written in LA last year, with my good friends Golden West. Everybody needs to check them out, as well. It’s out everywhere. I produced it and played everything on it. I love it. I think I’m going to take a little break from producing my own stuff for a while and do more co-producing. I’ve got a lot of things going on right now.
omg: What’s coming up next for you?
Curt: A lot of music is coming. I’m producing some stuff for some artists, and I’m releasing some stuff for myself. I’m going to be jumping on some tours soon, too. Other than that- fast cars, motorcycles and guitars. *laughs