Posted: 23.04.19 at 17:02 by The Editor
Curtis Lee is a 21-year-old singer/songwriter born and raised in Penarth. Growing up, Curtis attended Albert Primary School and Stanwell Secondary School. He has lived with his family in the heart of Penarth town since he was born. It was here that his desire to perform flourished. Curtis describes his music as ‘’a subtle fusion of soul, rhythm & blues and pop’’.
He has been writing and performing his own music for over 4 years. He moved to London in 2016 to study Professional Guitar performance at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Clapham, South London. During his time in the city he has played all over the city, including the Camden Assembly and Cargo. His first single ‘Butterfly’ was released in late 2017. Since then he has developed his style significantly.
Two years ago Curtis Lee performed his first live gig at the Moon Club, on Womanby Street in Cardiff. Easter Weekend saw him return to his hometown and to the Moon for his own headline performance. Nub News interviewed Curtis Lee to find out what he has been up to and his plans for the future.
Has your music changed since the release of your first single Butterfly?
Yes it has changed quite drastically. When Butterfly came out my style was more singer/songwriter pop type stuff. Now I am going down the route of RnB and soul. It is cool because when we play Butterfly live we can put elements of that in it and you can see how my music has developed.
Who would you say inspired you most to get into music?
At the start I would say it was my brother and my mum and dad have always been very supportive. Then as it went on the music I listened to was very influential, people like Paulo Nutini. It was a collection of little things that contributed.
At what point did music develop from a hobby to a career focus for you?
I just loved it so much. I wasn’t really good at anything else, especially at school. I thought to myself, I love this and I’d do anything to make money from it and even a career out of it. Playing my first show and getting paid, it was only thirty quid but it meant a lot.
We know that you can play the guitar, bass guitar, piano and drums - How did you learn it all?
When I was younger I didn’t really have any hobbies. My brother played the guitar and I used to love listening to him play so I thought I would have a go. He gave me one or two lessons to start off with and then I got a little cheap guitar and learnt from Youtube. You know the classic ‘’how to play guitar’’ videos. I hope they have paid off!
You’ve just finished university where you studied Professional Guitar Performance. How do you think the experience has affected your music?
Rather than improving my technical ability, London kinda helped me hone in on the industry more. The school provided really great tutors and lecturers but I was swept up in the city and what that had to offer. Gigging round London and gigging with other people has influenced and helped me more in the development of my music.
Have your Welsh/ Penarthian routes influenced your music in anyway?
I think so, yes. The best thing about this area is that the community is always there whether that be for music or anything else. That has spurred me on and influenced me to write and continue writing. I like to keep coming back to the community and playing.
How was the transition of moving from a small town like Penarth to a city like London?
I loved it so much. I do love London. Obviously, there was no easing into it, I just moved straight there. I think that was the best thing to do. My first week in London I was playing gigs and learning how it worked. I didn’t have any idea about the industry over there but just from being there I have learnt so much. It’s made it possible for me to come back to the moon and create a night like this from scratch and by myself.
Why have you returned to the Moon Club?
I did my first ever gig here. It’s kinda ritualistic now, it’s a bit of a tradition. This will be the third time we will have played in this venue. It’s nice to get something like this in place every year.
What are your plans now that you have graduated?
I would like to carry on as I am doing but on a bigger scale. I would love to play shows outside of London and Cardiff just to plant the seed in other cities. I want to get people talking. I will be in the studio all summer recording new music which will be coming out.
Have you got any plans in place for a new album?
I do, in the form of singles. I am not going to release a collection of music. I will release single after single but they will be quite consistent with one another.
Any advice to aspiring local artists in the area?
Just go out and do it. Know who you are and what you’re about but don’t be wary of trying. Give it your best shot and just do it. That’s my advice.