Alumni Spotlight: Curran Amster
Curran Amster reflects on pandemic songwriting, growing older and not over-thinking things.
What are you doing now, and how is music a part of your life?
I have been working on releasing my first EP, and I am super excited to get to put some of my own music out into the world! Since sharing music with others is a pretty vulnerable process I often need to remind myself why it is such an important part of being a musician. I dedicate so much of my life to music not only because I enjoy playing it, but also because of the connections I can create with other people through it.
What are some of your favorite memories from Bird, and how has your time here influenced you?
Some of my earliest memories of live music were at Bird concerts where I watched my brother’s middle school band play. I remember I would always dance in the crowd, and I think it was at those Bird band concerts that my desire to play music really started. Once I began taking lessons at Bird and playing in a band, I not only learned technical musical skills but I learned how to collaborate with others. The first time I played on stage with a band at Bird I played “Somebody to Love” by Queen, and I will never forget how cool it was to sing a song that people in the crowd knew and loved. Bird fostered my love of music and performing by making music accessible and fun.
Which of Lane’s famous life lessons has most resonated with you?
Lane has filled many different roles in my life, as my piano teacher, band leader, and now producer. He has always helped me with performances, songwriting, and generally imparted a lot of wisdom onto me in the time I have known him. But, I think my favorite life lesson from Lane, or I guess the one that is most relevant to me right now, is that I will always want to keep changing my music, but it is too valuable to not put out into the world. While going through the process of recording my music it was really hard to make the call that something was finished because it can be so easy to get caught up in trying to perfect music. Hearing from Lane that it is not productive to get caught up in the unnecessary details was really helpful, and has spurred a lot of new growth as a songwriter.
I know that you just released/are about to release your first EP! How exciting! Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind some of the songs, or some of your favorite aspects of them?
Honestly, until a few years ago I never considered myself a songwriter. I love to play music, but I think songwriting seemed daunting to me because there was a chance I would not be able to write music I loved to play. But when COVID hit my sophomore year of high school and I found myself with a lot more time for playing music, I found myself writing songs, and I realized how rewarding it can be to play a song you have written. The songs on this EP are basically a snapshot into my experiences in the past two years and a lot of it is self-reflection on my high school experiences and the process of me getting older and learning to write. I felt a lot of loss when I could not play live music and connect with the usual communities I was involved with, but that’s why I feel so lucky now to have gone back to Bird and reconnected with a community of musicians again.
What new music did you discover in the past year that you would recommend?
This is not really new music but I did just start listening to these songs: