Amelia Curran is a songwriter, activist and mental health advocate from St John’s, Newfoundland. Curran has won or been nominated for JUNA Awards for three consecutive albums and is firmly established as one of the country’s preeminent poetic songwriters. The new album “Watershed” marks a threshold and a directional change. The tenor of this new album is openness, a reflection in part of Curran’s increasingly public efforts to battle the stigma of mental health issues in the arts.
Can you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from and what you’ve been up to over the past few years?
My name is Amelia Curran, I’m from St. John’s, Newfoundland. I’ve been making records for seventeen years and I run an advocacy group for mental health care reform in Canada, called IT’S MENTAL.
How would you describe your music?
It’s folk music. Or folk roots or folk rock or americana or just rock n’ roll sometimes. It’s been called “singer-songwriter”, full stop, which is interesting.
Can you tell us a little bit about your influences?
Not really. I read a lot of fiction and I struggle a lot in real life and songs come from looking at things. But I love the classics and I come from tradition. Bob Dylan. Leonard Cohen. Randy Newman.
What are you currently promoting?
I have a new record called “Watershed” that I made last summer with my good friend Chris Stringer and my wonderful bandmates.
Have you got a particular song you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of, one that might define you?
“Watershed” is my (current) favourite on the record, but if you’re snooping about for doors to the soul, I’d point you to “Stranger Things Have Happened”. It is a song about a personal tug of war, as a musician, life is work and work is life, and how after a time, one wonders what this road is actually made up of.
What are you currently listening to?
The Tragically Hip! Canada’s most important and most wonderful rock band. Some K-OS, some Dr. John . . . news radio, the thing, not the band (if that’s a band, it might be)
And your favourite album of all time, the one you couldn’t do without?
“Airplanes Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel
What are your hopes for your future career?
I only want to write, I only ever wanted to write.
If money were no object what would be your dream project?
I want to build a co-op studio facility in my hometown. I want to rebuild the mental hospital in my hometown. I want to eradicate mental illness stigmas (which doesn’t take money).
What’s the best thing about being a musician?
The creation of something new under sun. The camaraderie.
And the worst?
Pressure to give music away for free. Never being at home.
Finally, have you anything you’d like to say to the readers of Americana UK?
Tear yourself away from Spotify and experience live music, because live music is so much more than songs.