“I’d much rather sing about myself than talk about myself,” says local singer/songwriter Annalise Curtin. Although the folk-pop-leaning singer and guitarist hails from the area, after the release of her 2013 debut [and only] LP, Battle Against Me, Curtin relocated to [and honed her skills in] Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Seattle. However, in 2018 she returned to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection. During a recent phone chat, Curtin tells me that since her return she’s been writing new music, collaborating with other artists (“I’ve been really looking to explore co-writing recently.”), and reacquainting herself with the city’s live music scene (“This summer I’ve been playing like three shows a month.”) And she tells me, so far, it’s been going very well: “The last years of being back in Philly things have been really taking off.”
Recently, Annalise Curtin has found herself collaborating with Gypsy Jazz band Manouche 5, playing classics, which has enabled her to explore her vocal abilities (“I love guitar but I feel like I can sing much better when I’m not playing guitar.”); local indie rockers Readership (“Future Perfect” and “Bleeding Hearts); hip hop producer Aaron Ruiz (“Me Without You” and “Stories”); and Canadian musician Philippe Goulet Coulombe, better known as Philippe Gc (“Snowland”). She even found herself in her first TV placement, appearing on a song in Danish show Being 29, during a particularly uplifting scene: “I got hired to sing harmony on a song, ‘Begin With You,’ written by Robbie Hancock. It played during an engagement scene.”
Curtin admits to being a big fan of a lot of longstanding Philadelphia institutions, such as Dobbs, Johnny Brenda’s, Kung Fu Necktie, and the Pharmacy, but admits she’s still finding her footing in the city’s current scene: “I’m just starting to learn some of the cool places in Philly, because I was gone for a while and am just getting to know the city again.” She is finding herself enjoying a certain type of venue, though: “I just played Lightbox Cafe, which is a cute café on 4th in South Philly… I like playing in cafes for a solo gig, for that genre.” Annalise, however, does have an upcoming gig at a much larger café, and a place that she considers herself to be a home of sorts: “World Café Live is how I met all of my friends. In 2011 I was waiting in line to play open mic, hosted by Boy Wonder.”
On Thursday, July 7th, Annalise Curtin will be playing alongside LA-based ‘90s-alt-rock-meets-Americana duo Guyville and local rockers Pillow Princess at The Lounge at World Café Live. When I ask her what can be expected of her live set, she tells me, “I am louder than you’d think, is what I always hear [laughs],” before going on to further explain, “I do a lot of fingerpicking because I grew up playing violin. It’s called noodling, which I learned… You can expect me to be picking folk guitar, but I get loud and rocking sometimes, too.” And, in terms of her sound, Curtin tells me, “I get compared to what Regina Spektor does, a mix of folk and rock.”
Annalise Curtin is currently in school for “veterinary technician stuff,” but tells me that she has a lot more planned for her music in 2022: “I really want to do a tour… I wanna do more TV placements, do more collaborations, record more music… This year is new music, exploring new genres, and maybe getting a band.” She also tells me that she considers her music to be the most significant way that she expresses herself.
“Music is therapy. Art has a way of getting access to an unconscious part of your brain and songwriting has been very much a guide in life. It’s the whole thing about music being universal. It is the way I socialize. I can go anywhere and play music.”
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