Juno Award-Winning Newfoundland singer-songwriter Amelia Curran is launching Watershed today, her eighth full-length album.
Curran will be leaving for a cross-country tour to promote the album in April and will celebrate the end of the tour with a release party for Watershed in St. John’s this June.
Inspired by the political climate in our own province, and in the world in general, Curran describes Watershed as her most political album to date.
While she didn’t set out to write an album with a cohesive theme, when she finished the album, she found she’d composed an album-length call to action.
“There is a theme going through all these songs and this is an activist record, for sure” Curran said.
Curran is known for the work she does to raise awareness about the inadequate services and supports available to people suffering from mental illness in our province.
She is a founder of “It’s Mental,” a grass-roots organization that fights for improvements to Newfoundland and Labrador’s mental health care system. Curran uses her platform as a respected musician to destigmatize mental illness by talking about her own experience of depression and anxiety.
“There’s a little bit of mental health advocacy on the album. There’s talk about depression and exhaustion, but I’ve always written about that stuff, with this album there’s feminist songs, there’s songs about community and holding onto each other as community members” she said.
In “Every Woman and Every Man,” one of the most haunting songs on the album, Curran sings “Every woman and every man/ Come to the table/ And bring what they can/ And take for granted they don’t understand/ Every other woman and every other man.”
The first three lines are a rally cry, Curran is asking her listeners to fight for each other with whatever means they have at their disposal. The final two are a gentle reminder to be respectful of each other’s limits, to have empathy for one another.
For Curran, Watershed is ultimately an album about compassion, the songs alternate between earnest pleas for compassion and expressions of frustration at how compassionless the world feels right now.
“I’m reaching out to my communities in the music industry and the advocacy world and just saying we’ve all agreed that enough is enough at a number of different stages, so we have to move from talking to acting now,” Curran said.
In addition to recording an album this winter, Curran has been busy helping establish Songwriters NL, a new organization formed by local musician, Vicky Hynes.
Songwriters NL aims to connect songwriters throughout the province, and honour the memory of Ron Hynes with an annual festival that will happen each June.
Curran explained that while there are a huge number of singer-songwriters in the province, geography, along with other factors, mean that a lot of Newfoundland and Labrador’s songwriters are sort of isolated from each other.
“We don’t necessarily communicate with each other that well but we’re all sitting in our houses doing the same thing. I think [Songwriters NL] is going to facilitate the community realizing just how big the community is.” Curran said.
Curran is a strong believer in that community can create social change. This is evident from the themes coursing through Watershed, and from her commitment to mental health advocacy.
She also believes her most powerful asset as an activist is her music. It makes sense that at a time when she is so determined to spur change she would strive to draw the province’s songwriters together.
“I hope music is important to people, it’s the only tool at my disposal so I’m going to use it as much as I can” Curran said.