One of the lucky ones

Amelia Curran brings meticulous songwriting, messages for change to Winnipeg

With seven records under her belt, Amelia Curran is no novice when it comes to self expression. After growing up in St. John’s, Curran followed her passion for music by leaving university to busk in the streets. Her resulting successes have been plentiful, with four Music Newfoundland awards and a Juno win in 2010 for her album Hunter Hunter.

“When I started out I was very prolific,” Curran says. “I wrote a lot of material and I produced everything that I wrote. Now, I edit the heck out of stuff, and I’m producing probably a tenth of what I’m writing, so it’s changed. I’m really particular and I just want it to be right, I just want it to feel correct somehow, if that’s possible. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe I’m trying to make rocket science out of it.”

Curran’s meticulousness is certainly working. Her newest album, They Promised You Mercy, conveys a powerful self assurance, even when addressing vulnerability. Curran seems unafraid to tell the listener exactly who she is, and that she means business.

“My producer (Michael Phillip Wojewoda) had a really large role in arranging the songs, but I can be a bit hard headed about certain things.” Curran says, adding a laugh. “Once you get into a team you think maybe we want to play this chord a little longer, or maybe we want to put a break in here and make the outro shorter, but until the lyrics are right, it’s not finished to me. It’s the thing that I work the hardest on.”

Curran is currently making her way across Canada, and will be stopping at the Park Theatre on March 29. With a variety of destinations to tour, there’s not much time in-between time. During January and February she went east to visit Switzerland, England and the Netherlands.

“I was touring Europe by myself,” she says. “I like alone time, but there’s a point when you’re in a country and you don’t speak the language that can break you up a little bit. Having my band mates with me on tour is very exciting. I mean sure, if you do a long tour with a band...things can get a bit squirrelly. But in the end it’s nice to have this crazy, rag tag team.”

Last October, Curran focused her efforts into releasing a video to help raise awareness for mental illness. In the video, members of the St. John’s community hold up signs with statistics and comments. One sign reads that “100% of Canadians are affected by mental illness through friends or family.”

“As somebody who suffers from issues with depression and anxiety, my experience is on the better side of things,” she says. “I’m one of the lucky ones who found a good doctor, who found the right medication, but I mean, that sucked four years of my life away. It’s outrageous that that’s still somehow one of the good stories.”

The video addresses not only the stigmas that are paired with mental illness, but the ways in which those who suffer from it often don’t have access to the help they need.

“I don’t know what happened last year where I just got really tired of it. I’m completely fed up,” Curran says. “I’m angry and I want to change it, so here we go, we’re gonna see what we can do.”

Published in Volume 69, Number 25 of The Uniter (March 18, 2015)

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