ABOUT TO BLOW: Curtis Fields brings new music and style to Music City
By Greg Brand Jr.
On most fronts, the cavalier and creative music soul has seemingly been replaced by performers that are little more than studio generated by-products of glitz, glamour and the occasional spark of good music.
At first glance it would seem that creativity had taken back seat to the easy mass-production, social networking fueled, style of modern music making… that is until you take a look at one artist that is working to make his own original mark on music one verse as a time.
Tuesday nights are typically reserved for television watching or maybe just a healthy dose of the evening news. Most would be reluctant to venture out into one of Nashville’s popular nightspots for an evening of R&B and soul music, yet this event was packed to near capacity.
The people packed into Jazz & Jokes are music fans and they are here for an experience. The experience they anticipate is one of melody and verse; song and word; beat and rhythm.
With a soaring tenor, dynamic stage show and gifted songwriting, Nashville-area musical wunderkind, Curtis Fields, steps out onto the stage and shines. He is clearly making plans to dominate a radio near you and the iPod in your pocket.
The performance, which also featured Nashville area musical heavyweights, Saaneah, Fernando and 911 Reporters! is just another opportunity for this artist to do his thing.
While radio domination is sure to come, it is not the main goal for this artist. It’s quite the opposite actually. Fields is on a mission. The mission is to bring real music back into the digital-music-entertainment equation.
“I’m always trying to come up with new and different ways to phrase things. There are many different types of music but they all kinda connect on the same lines. Old school gospel evolved into R&B and soul and blues which evolved into rock, then pop… they all have very common themes,” Fields said. “In many ways they are the same. No matter the type, as long as there is music you can use it to say something meaningful.”
His concern with making meaningful music is refreshing since most artists tend to slant in the other, more commercial direction. Sure, themes like love and relationships are still mainstays in music, but listeners almost never get them in a pure and raw form.
He has a lot of competition as a male singer but the comparisons stop there. Where some singers take the approach of wannabe-thugs, ultra-smooth ladies’ men, or attempt to come off almost cartoonishly sexualized, Fields is content being a devoted student of music with something original to say.
For the past few years, Fields has been working to create a name for himself and the ideals of music he aims to share. While he has been able to make a significant impact in this city an others, he still feels he as a way to go.
“There are still people that don’t know me,” Fields said. “Once I feel like enough people know who I am then I can feel like I’ve done something. I’m not even sure what that number (of people) is but until more people know I still feel like a new jack.”
A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Fields came to Nashville to attend Fisk University and in getting his education elected to make his love of music into a life-long partnership.
Several standout performances over the years all over the area and beyond and a healthy musical presence on the web have earned Fields a strong and loyal following: A following so solid that they will come out to see him on a “school night.”
Boasting an innovative style and original approach to music, Fields may just change the way urban soul music is classified and received by the listening public.
“You (really) can make and R&B rock song. You can make a contemporary blues song that both have the same type of energy,” Fields said. “They can affect the listener from either side of the spectrum. I’m (just) trying to figure out ways to bring them together and bring more people together and enjoy music.”
By counting Outkast, Queen, Fall Out Boy, Donnie Hathaway, Foo Fighter, Bilal as his inspirations, Fields calls on all of these greats to help him generate a sound all his own.
During his live set, he managed to combine piece from Vanessa Carlton, Wale and Miguel, and the Beatles along with original music to stunning and well-received effect.
Fields playfully calls his music “Funk-Rock-Soul” and while he was only joking when asked what he would possibly call it, he may not be far from a real concept. The music is genre bending but completely relatable and also enjoyable.
For the past few years, Curtis Fields has been making music in music city that caters to fans that have tastes as eclectic as his. First becoming an icon among college kids from his alma mater, Fisk and neighboring institutions TSU, Belmont, Vanderbilt and MTSU, Fields was soon able to branch out into more of the music culture of the city as he did more and more shows featuring neatly executed covers and original music.
Those shows led to more and his brand really began to take off as sites like Facebook and SoundCloud put his music into more listener’s ears.
Since his first shows, Fields’ has been working like a madman to continue producing music for the masses. He feels they can appreciate what he has to say, but there is just more at work here than just getting up on stage and singing a few songs for a few dollars.
“I work with a purpose. I feel like there is a purpose for everybody on this earth. There is a reason why (we) are all here, a reason for every breath we take and there is a goal that we must accomplish. I’ve found my purpose and I understand this is why I’m here. Me making music is not a job, it’s a calling.”
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