| The Man, the band & the debut album|
Byron Bay, located on Australia's extreme East Coast is considered a special place, steeped in a spirituality that comes from the landscapes natural beauty, the peoples' love of life and a community spirit that reaches out to one and all.
Introducing a man who is very much ensconced in this community, a regular worshipper of the waves: Kurtis. Kurtis , the man, is lead singer and founding member of Kurtis the band who have just completed their first album - 'Foundations' .
It is said that physical attributes can be a big advantage in the music industry, however, they won't take you too far without a considerable dose of talent to back them up. With his big blue eyes, friendly smile and with a mop of sun/salt bleached blond curls, Kurtis has all those wicked physical attributes as well as a special kind of creativity that has been incubating since Kurtis first took to the keyboard at the age of five. His childhood upbringing was steeped in classical and jazz music, his early instruments were the piano and saxophone. From an early age, Kurtis was fascinated by soul and R&B sounds. "I loved people like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Al Green, George Clinton and bands like Earth Wind and Fire. I'm not a rock man" Kurtis admits.
When he left school in Sydney , Kurtis moved to Byron Bay and studied at Southern Cross University gaining a BA in Contemporary Music, majoring in Music Management and song writing which, he says, is his true love. "My passion lies in writing songs. I really love performing but the song writing is the ultimate juice". The way he writes, he says, is a reflection of his life - "my music is true to how I live my life - I'm very much in touch with my friends and family and my songs reflect that. I just write from my heart. I write about whatever is meaningful to me."
Although Kurtis started writing songs in his early teens, it wasn't until his university days that his talent found a stage. While still studying, Kurtis began his music apprenticeship by forming his first working band, Happenstash. Happenstash morphed into another group, Kaliedavibe. This took Kurtis into full-time performing and touring and away from his beloved Byron Bay . Kurtis relocated to Bondi for 18 months in 2000/2. Kaliedavibe was a real success, playing venues like The Basement, recording an EP and often supporting the likes of DIG; Skunkhour; Cruel Sea ; Renegade Funktrain. "We toured constantly up and down the coast and did 400 gigs in three years. I also managed the band, and was constantly flying home for quick family hits. It was a great learning experience for me and taught me discipline and dedication are fundamental to the success of a band." After endless touring, a lot of soul-searching and 18 months without a new song to his credit, Kurtis decided to relocate back to Byron Bay for rejuvenation of the soul and his song writing skills. The next two years would see Kurtis writing solidly, ending up flat broke and having to go to Japan to work and get enough bucks together to survive back in Byron.
On arrival back in Oz, with a renewed passion for writing and performing along with a clear vision for his life, Kurtis again dedicated his time to soul work "I was writing my arse off" he says. Hooking up with Murray Burns, a producer Kurtis had admired since his heyday with Mi-Sex. They started experimenting in the studio and without a single other musician on board, Kurtis booked himself a gig in "The Back Room" of The Great Northern Hotel in Byron. "Sam Shine (lead guitarist) who had just moved up from Sydney and Brook Rees (bass) came along to this gig and before you know it, we had a band".