The longer I live in LA, the more overwhelmed I am by how many talented people call my city home. The creativity is contagious, and I am so thrilled when I find new up-and-coming artists that inspire me with their fresh takes on my favorite genre: hook-heavy, infectious pop music. Enter Curtis Peoples, a gifted songwriter and my new favorite pop singer in Los Angeles.
Peoples’ dynamic brand of pop music drew me in as his songs marry piano-infused pop, rock, and even 8-bit styles. With the laid-back style of Matt Nathanson or Marc Broussard, Peoples and his radio-friendly music were recently featured on NBC’s Last Call with Carson Daly, and Peoples is gearing up for his “8 Bit Heart Beat” fall tour. When I had a chance to talk with the artist, he explained, “I call my music ‘Coffee Shop/Arena Rock’…singer/songwriter lyrics in a pop/rock arena rock package.”
Although Peoples himself is a songwriter, this Los Angeleno enjoys collaborating with some of his “incredibly talented friends” and did so heavily on his April 2013 release, The Fight, writing with the likes of Nathan Chapman (Taylor Swift), Kevin Griffin (Better Than Ezra, Howie Day), Mark Weinberg (Matt Nathanson), David Hodges (Kelly Clarkson, Evanescence), and busbee (Lady Antebellum, Pink, Keith Urban). “When it was time to make this record, I just decided to call every writer I knew and loved, every artist, every manager, and just ask them if they we could get together and collaborate,” Peoples said.
He went on to tell me that, “busbee and Steven Miller (Tristan Prettyman) were the main two guys that I wrote with. They both produced the album, too, and our chemistry pushed me to find a sound and the songs I had been hoping for. The song ‘Afraid’ that I wrote with busbee was the game changer. Once we wrote that, I knew that was the sound I wanted, so everything had to orbit around that.”
Peoples draws inspiration from a multitude of sources across the pop spectrum. A self-professed “pop music junkie,” he prides himself “on being a sonic encyclopedia of pop music references and sounds” and will let multiple songs and genres influences his music, sometimes even a single song. “For example, the title track, ‘The Fight,’ was my attempt at writing a big U2/Coldplay-type production, with a Bruce Springsteen lyrical feel and Phil Collins Tarzan soundtrack massive drums,” Peoples explained. “But the original inspiration that day was from me hearing Philip Philipps’ ‘Home’ for the first time that morning. I just thought that chorus was so beautiful.”
Although Peoples traveled to New York City and Nashville to craft The Fight, he will always call LA home, especially the famed Roxy Theatre where he recently had his album release show. “The Roxy has been like a second home to me,” Peoples said. “Playing that stage, with all that rock history, is like lifting off the ground and floating around the room. The Troubadour has that feel. too.”
Peoples recently made one of his many dreams come true when he morphed into an 8-bit video game character for the creative music video for “Made For Me.” “The next goal is a song on the radio. I believe in this album so much and plan to fight the good fight, pun intended, to get one of these songs onto radio,” he stated.
Now that this charmingly retro video has been released, Peoples will be pushing his latest single and releasing another music video, this time for the track “Afraid.” As he heads to the East Coast for his fall tour and preps a new single for release in early 2014, this Los Angeles singer is just getting started. I’ll be awaiting his next hometown show, but until then, I’ll eagerly watch his star rise!
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