As singer/songwriter and pop vocalist Curt Anderson stands poised to impact growing international audiences with concerts around the globe this spring, his latest release, Every Moment Vol. II, dropped April 13. Offering remixes of three singles as well as four new tracks, the album also gives listeners a unique behind-the-scenes-style bonus with demos of seven cuts and five worktapes. An international ambassador of Christian music, Curt Anderson has released two full-length albums and two EPs since his recording debut in 2005. His most recent release, Every Moment (2016), featured the hit singles “Keep It Beating” and “Every Moment,” both reaching the Top 5 on Christian radio charts in multiple countries. He has also collaborated on recordings by such artists as kj-52, Tricia Brock (formerly of Superchick), and Satellites & Sirens. Recently, Curt took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to talk with us about his latest release and musical inspirations.
Congratulations on the recent release of Every Moment Vol. II. How did the idea for this project come about?
Thank you! It’s not the most romantic answer, but the project came about from a mix of creative and business decisions. It was a bit of an evolving album. In preparing to launch two singles—"Keep Me Falling” and “Love Like You Love”—I was just going to re-release Every Moment with those songs added on. In the meantime, I had written and recorded a handful of new songs that I wanted to include. My four-year-old has been majorly into the deluxe version of the Moana soundtrack, which has all these rough, raw demos of the songs. Knowing how much I love coming across original demos of my favorite songs online, I thought it’d be cool to give listeners that behind-the-curtains look at my music. I dug into my hard drive archives and started finding my demos and worktapes and it quickly became way too much content for one album.
What were some of your biggest inspirations in developing the four new tracks that are included on this release?
My friend Chris Sligh—who many remember from American Idol, his CCM radio hits and the massive song he wrote for Rascal Flatts—brought me a demo for a song called “Honestly” by Jeff Pardo and Tony Wood. This song really struck a chord with my story over the past couple years of dreams mixed with disappointments and frustrations. I’ve never recorded a song I didn’t have anything to do with writing, but “Honestly” compelled me. Also, I sent Chris a demo of a song I wrote with Ethan Hulse. Chris ended up building a track for it and sending it to me to see what I thought. I loved, loved, loved it, so we got together, finished both of those songs and wrote two more in the process.
What is it like brainstorming a remix to an already released track?
For me, it’s all about trust and letting go of the song. David Thulin lives just down the street from me, so we work together a lot. I’m a huge fan of his work and trust him implicitly. I gave him the hundred or so stems from the album recording and said, “I want you to take ‘Love Like You Love’ wherever you want to take it.” He did the same thing I do every now and again with my tracks when I want to do a fresh arrangement: solo each instrument and find the gems that jump out and excite your ears, then build the new version around that. He had only heard the song a time or two before, so he didn’t have preconceived notions of what it should or shouldn’t be. David ended up building his mix on this syncopated synth part I had programmed years before.
Inner insecurity tells me, “Don’t program stuff, because what you do isn’t as good as such-and-such producer’s programming. They have better ideas.” To have that original part end up as a focal point in the song has been a real encouragement to me in the areas where I would consider myself weak. That’s part of surrounding yourself with people who are better than you: they find your strengths, amplify those, and use their strengths to create greatness from your weaker spots, which in turn lessens those weaknesses. The beauty of collaboration.
Which of the new or remixed tracks are you most excited for listeners to hear and why?
Are you going to ask me to choose which of my kids is my favorite next? Haha! I was about to sum it up by saying “Keep Me Falling,” then I thought “Identity,” then “No Matter What.” And “Love Like You Love” just never gets old for me. So much for a short, direct answer! Honestly, there are things that excite me about each of them, and that changes day to day. I think that’s what I’m most pleased with on these new songs—they have a consistent vibe throughout, yet they each meet the listener in a different spot between fun pop and reflective worship. I think it’s a well-rounded picture of where I am right now.
How would you describe the sound of this record as a whole to brand new listeners?
I usually tell people it’s a synthy piano pop kind of thing. Some songs are like a fun, sunny day at the beach; others are like those rainy days where it feels so good to just relax on the couch and listen to the storm outside.
If there is one message you hope people take away after listening to this album, what would it be?
Hope. Love. Whatever your background, no matter how beautiful or messy life gets, we’re loved by our Creator and He gives us hope for each day, even if we have to struggle to find it some days.
International touring has always been such a priority for you. How have you seen God move in His people across the globe? And, what touring is in the work for this summer/fall?
I grew up in a family of travelers, so it’s been in my blood as long as I can remember. We all have our unique culture and ways of life around the world—from Australia to Japan to Kenya—but the same can be said from California to Idaho to South Carolina. Each person’s expression of worship is naturally shaped by the way we’ve experienced the world and the way we’ve experienced God. I’ve worshipped with thousands of people using top of the line sound and lighting and I’ve drummed on gourds in a Ugandan village with no electricity and just about every other setting in between. The crowds may look different place to place—and in some places translators convey everything I say between songs—but overall it’s the same experience. We’re all seeking the same things from the same God, but maybe we ask and thank Him for those things in different ways.
As for touring, I had to look at my phone just to see what day of the week it is! It all blends together a day at a time…lots and lots of touring. The next few months include California, the Carolinas, Virginia, Michigan, then back to England, Ireland, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia a few times. I’ll also be heading to a number of new places: Norway, Netherlands, India, Sri Lanka, mainland China and Singapore.
What is your favorite song to perform live right now?
One of my favorite parts of any show is the intro. The music that plays as the artist is about to come on stage, building the crowd’s anticipation. I especially love when that moment is this huge, seamless flow into the first song. And I love infusing unexpected things into my songs here and there, like an extended arrangement of “For Us” that flows into a piece of Logic’s “1-800.” It wanders into this impromptu section by myself where I’m off-click but the computers playing the backing tracks are still running silently in the background. That moment—as I’m finishing that section and I hear this little synth line start to come and I know I’ve gotten the timing just right for the tracks and band to come back in—that’s a rush!
Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations right now?
I love Top 40 radio. There’s so much fresh, creative stuff happening in music right now. Ryan Tedder/OneRepublic, Kygo, Dua Lipa, Julia Michaels, Nick Jonas, Clean Bandit, Hailee Steinfeld, Zedd...it’s an ever-changing list. I listen to it all...pop, Christian, country, rap, movie scores, Celtic, bagpipes (no joke)!