PICO BLVD — Back in 1985, the alternative/new wave group Tears For Fears was tearing up the airwaves with international Billboard hits from their album, “Songs From The Big Chair.” The group, which was co-founded in 1981 by singer/songwriter Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal, generated some of the most notable tunes from the era including “Head Over Heels” and “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” — the latter for which Smith provided the vocals.

Since then Smith has been busy with an eclectic array of projects. He formed a band called Mayfield, he released a solo album, “Halfway Pleased,” on his own KOOK Media imprint, he’s acted on the television series “Psych,” he continues to tour with Tears, he hosts and produces the live music web series “Stripped Down Live With Curt Smith,” and he’s currently on tour and will be at McCabe’s Guitar Shop tonight, for a very personal, acoustic performance promoting his latest venture, “The Social Media Project.”

“The Social Media Project “is unique in two ways. First, it’s a collaborative effort between Smith and a selection of artists to create individual tracks rather than an album, and secondly, and more importantly, Smith’s entrée to these artists has been via social media.

After he wrote “All Is Love” Smith said, “I felt the piece lent itself to cello, but I didn’t know any cello players in Los Angeles. I was aware of Zoe Keating on Twitter because she has over a million and a half followers … she was absolutely amazing.”

Smith tweeted, “Would love to work with that Zoe Keating at some point.” She replied in minutes and Smith sent over the track. Keating laid down her 18 cello parts but didn’t meet Smith until she attended a Tears concert outside of San Francisco when she handed him her work. Smith then brought her parts back to Los Angeles and completed the song.

It was a similar situation with artist Melissa Kaplan of Universal Hall Pass who collaborated with him on the track “Perfectly … till.” Smith allows the artists complete freedom to come up with their parts and in some cases the production elements.

Smith believes achieving that level of creativity is far easier if he’s not present. With Kaplan, Smith loved both her voice and the production value. “The production is half of it, to be honest, maybe more than half of it. So I said, ‘Do what you do, and I’ll pick the bones out of it afterwards.’ Melissa and I still haven’t met. We keep threatening to have dinner but we haven’t yet.”

The affable Smith truly finds joy in the creative process as well as its outcome. And though he’s pursuing myriad artistic endeavors, he claims he doesn’t have a “true favorite.”

“The reason I enjoy each individual aspect is because I do the other ones,” Smith said. “Take last week’s [Stripped Down Live…] sitting down and talking to Django and Sam [Stewart] and Claire [Acey] of Nightmare & the Cat and seeing the passion they have for their music, then listening to it and hearing how great it is, reignites my passion. I glean something from each thing I do that keeps me passionate about the other things I do and as I get older it’s important to diversify to keep that passion going. If I was just doing one thing I think I would be bored to death.”

Joining Smith will be Tears drummer Jamie Wollam, Mayfield guitarist Charlton Pettus and keyboardist Doug Petty. Look forward to hearing some Tears and Mayfield tunes, some covers and of course great new tracks.

For more info check out: www.curtsmith.com or www.mccabes.com for a full transcript check out tailfish.blogspot.com.


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