An Interview with Kin Curran

Kin Curran

Kin (real name Colleen) and her husband Drew De Four are dueling piano players, and as my wife, and they’re awesome at what they do. They are true entertainers in every sense of the word. I find it astounding that they can skillfully and joyfully play nearly any song on command, and their fun and endearing personalities really shined through. Each evening, Kin and Drew take the time to speak with fans after the show (even though I am sure they were exhausted) and toward the end of the week, Drew even gifted some audience members with a CD of his awesome album, Humanist Pop. I’ve still got mine to this day.

So, today, I have Kin Curran “with us.” Both Kin and Drew make incredible original music as well. Since they are so closely connected, I feel I should link you to both Kin’s music and website here and Drew’s here. They are true indie troubadours, and are certainly worthy of our support. That’s all for me, for now. Enjoy.

Andrew:
Kin, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. It’s been a weird year, hasn’t it? What have you been doing to pass the time?

Kin:
First, thank you for reaching out about this interview. Staying connected during these difficult times has been extremely important to my husband, Drew De Four, and I. We are musicians that have traveled the world for many years, even after the birth of our first son Julien in 2018. Just as our daughter was born in January of this year, COVID restrictions shut our touring plans down right in their tracks. This past year we have dedicated all our time to our children, our house, and our online streaming shows called #D4Live.

Andrew:
Tell us about your backstory. How did you get into music? What was the gateway so to speak?

Kin:
I have early childhood memories of singing Whitney Houston, Cyndi Lauper, and songs from The Little Mermaid in the bathroom for hours. I would sing them over and over and try to impersonate them, frequently hearing from my parents, “Are you ok in there?” It was the start of what would be almost forty years of loving, practicing, and perfecting the art of singing. Piano came much later. In the second grade, my parents put me in piano lessons with the most lovely teacher. I took to it quickly and learned how to read music and perform for an audience. I was hooked. Since then, music has been a very large part of my life and since my adult years, my career. 

Andrew:
As an artist, who were some of your earliest and most important influences?

Kin:
The Beatles, Paul McCartney, Fleetwood Mac, Pearl Jam, Whitney Houston and Cyndi Lauper. 

About — Kin Curran

Andrew:
The way I became familiar with your music was through your dueling piano shows that you perform with your husband, Drew De Four. You guys are incredible. How did you get into the dueling pianos scene?

Kin:
Oh wonderful! We have met so many incredible people through working on the cruise ships and I’m so happy that you and your wife enjoyed the show.  Drew has been in Dueling Pianos much longer than I have. I graduated from The Eastern Michigan University with a degree in K-12 Music Education. For five years I taught in Michigan public schools. When the school was facing hard budget cuts, I was one of the teachers on the chopping block. I had the least seniority in the music department and arts were a huge area they were looking to make cuts in. So, after a long talk with Drew, who I was dating at the time, we decided that he would train me in Dueling Pianos. We set a course, hit our marks, and I was auditioning for the cruise ship gig in Chicago within a couple of months. Since then, I have worked very hard to keep up with my husband, who is in the top echelon when it comes to Dueling Pianos.

Andrew:
In addition to your solo output, you’ve recorded extensively with your husband, Drew. What’s it been like working with him? Do you guys keep one another motivated creatively?

Kin:
Drew makes me better. He pushes and demands the best. There are things along the way that I should have been taught or that I should have figured out myself, so he is always helping me fill in those blanks. We’ve known each other for a very long time, and were friends for many years before we dated. I’ve always been an enormous fan of him and his music. I would always have his CDs blasting in my car. It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of the records and projects we’ve done together. In addition to singing on the records, I always naturally assume the role of “band mom,” having meals, refreshments, and accommodations taken care of for everyone involved in our massive projects (albums, tours, and now a feature film).

Andrew:
Speaking of your solo output, I really enjoyed your album, Frontline. It’s fantastic. Tell us about the recording and inspiration for the album
.

Kin:
Frontline is very special to me and I appreciate the kind words. These songs were written at a time in my life where I was becoming my own grown woman. I have found that when you find the “one” or the right partner for you, you can be yourself and speak your mind. Having Drew by my side allowed me that courage to write songs with heavier content, the issues that weigh heavily on my mind and heart. Writing the songs on my own was the first step, and then Drew helped produce the record: chiseling everything from lyrics, music, recording to mixing/mastering. The man is my hero in so many ways. To dedicate his own time to help my music be out there in the world is something I will always be extremely thankful for. He has produced four records for me.

Kin Curran - 16 Demos - Amazon.com Music

Andrew:
What’s changed for you compared to your early days? Are you a better player now than ever?

Kin:
Vocally, I have definitely improved and continue to improve. Especially after all of these virtual shows! We are almost at show 200 of this 2020 year. To vocally survive that many nights I have had to correct placement and pay attention to my vocal mechanisms more than ever before. As for piano, I feel like I’ve declined greatly since 2nd grade (laughing). What I mean is, I used to be able to sight read and play very difficult classical pieces, but the “dueling pianos” world is music by ear. Music theory and aural skills have to be sharp and quick. I continue to get better, but I am far from what I would like to be.

Andrew:
Let’s talk about the state of music in general a bit. In your opinion, what’s the state of the music industry these days? What are some things that need to change?

Kin:
To be honest, I try not to focus on the “music industry.” I’m an entertainer who has played all over the world with her husband. Between the two of us, we have lots of content available and albums to purchase or stream. As long as we are doing what we love and providing for our family, it doesn’t matter if the “music industry” is behind us or not. Don’t get me wrong, it would be wonderful to have the support of the big machine, but it’s nothing I need or that I’m counting on. Many have a hard time finding where Drew or I fit into it all. We are so different. That’s what I love, and that’s what I hope we can continue to do going forward: Create what we love and share it with the world as well as continuing to perform together. 

Andrew:
As I am sure you are aware, women are vastly underrepresented within the music and record industry. What are your thoughts on that? How do we enact positive change?

Kin:
Women are where we are today because of those who have paved the way for us. Continuing to succeed and create opportunities for myself and other young women is the goal. In doing so, taking all the help from allies (men included) is important. And any massively successful women or men that advocate for more women in the industry is a good thing. Drew has always said, “The value has to be undeniable” if you’re going to succeed in the music or film industry without any political connections. If a woman has something truly special to offer, I would hope it is always treasured no differently than anything that a man has to offer (and not looked over or suppressed because of her gender). That has always stuck with me in regards to my own success. I just have to be the absolute best I can be.

As for helping others with their success, when I was a music educator I had a direct line into making a difference with my vocal music students. Now, it’s harder, but I’m always trying to be available to those in need with whatever I can do or say to help.

Robbins List - New Haven Events, Fundraisers & Deals - New Haven Chorale  presents Music, Music, Music – the most fun you can have online – silent  auction & sing along – Oct. 30 thru Nov. 14

Andrew:
In the world we live in today, we are more or less dominated by the never-ending barrage of social media. How has this effected music as an artform? Is an artist’s ability to get their music out there hindered by all this, or helped?

Kin:
Streaming platforms are incredibly helpful to get listeners and people interested in your music. It is so helpful to tell someone you can hear all our music on Spotify, etc. However, there is almost little to no money involved.  That’s why there is a push at the grassroots to purchase merchandise, records, and albums to create profit. Artists don’t get money from streaming services. Even the best-selling artists have hired lawyers and sued for not making the correct profits they are entitled to for use of their creative content to generate money on these streaming services. People WANT music. But they don’t want to pay for it. To be honest it scares me, because if my generation isn’t going to pay for music, then what will the future generations do? Currently, if you can generate enough money through a different job or kickstart/fund a project, then you can put music out there in the world for free to streamers. 

Being an entertainer and a dueling piano player is wonderful because you are paid for your services and craftsmanship. Drew has funnelled tens of thousands of his earnings as an entertainer into creating his records.

Andrew:
Who are a few artists, past or present that mean a lot to you?

Kin:
My husband Drew will always be someone who inspires me. He means more to me than anyone. I’m fascinated by his original works and his strive to create more. A true artist. A true troubadour. Paul McCartney would be another artist who means a lot to me. The way he continues to create content and continue to perform at his age, true talent and passion for what he does.  

Andrew:
What are a few albums that mean the most to you and why?

Kin:
Rumours by Fleetwood Mac is an album that I’ve enjoyed since I was young. It’s always been a favorite. I think those songs are so incredible, and the talent is undeniable. Drew and I recently covered it from to back, and it now has even more of a special place in my heart.

Alicia Keys: Songs In A Minor is another album that means a lot to me. This was one for the first albums where I learned the piano for each song. I would then play them over and over, singing along, and pretending to be Alicia Keys. 

Gallery — Kin Curran

Andrew:
Aside from music, what else are you most passionate about and why? How do your other passions inform and inspire your music?

Kin:
Family. I’m thankful to have two children with Drew and to be able to take care of all three of them. They mean the world to me. It is my passion to be a great wife, mother, and friend.  

I’m also passionate about cleaning and organizing. This could be borderline OCD, however I have a pretty good control on it (laughing) and the house is always clean.

Andrew:
Are you into vinyl? Tapes? CDs? Or are you all digital now? Where do you like to shop for music?

Kin:
Drew and I listen to mostly vinyl. What would be most people’s “tv room” in our house is called the “record room” with turntable, records, and bookshelves. It’s where our son frequently asks to listen to Motown Greatest Hits– Side B. It’s hard to know if money is going straight to an artist, but we try to purchase vinyl from record stores and from the artists directly. I do listen to music digitally, but that’s mostly when I’m studying it or learning it for work.

Andrew:
What’s next for you once COVID-19 calms down? Can we hope for some new music soon?

Kin:
I’ve been working on my next album for three years now. I’ve had some road blocks (birthing two children isn’t a roadblock, but a great excuse for slowing down production for a spell), but I have a good feeling that I will be able to finish the remaining songs, produce, and release the music within 2021. Besides having and raising the two babies, we’ve played almost 200 virtual shows this year, so time has been spent taking care of business and family. I’m in no hurry, but will be very excited to sit down with my notes and finish some writing. 

Andrew:
Last question. In a world that’s been so confined by the constraints of big business and the alienation caused due to the internet age, how do artists find their footing these days? What advice would you have for younger artists?

Kin:
If they are truly passionate about their art, they will find a way. That does not mean that they will be famous, or rich, or…the list goes on and on. But there are very few barriers when it comes to actually making the art.  Excuses can be very dangerous. If the art is inside of you, it will spill out.  Selling and distributing the art is a different discussion. All artists have to wear a business hat for once the art is made for it to be seen and commercially viable. And finding other ways to support yourself for income will be something they’ll have to think about it they don’t have financial support coming from their creations (or somewhere else). That’s why Drew and I are entertainers. We perform and give our love of music to crowds all over the world. With that hard work providing a modest and honest income, we can provide for our family as well as finance our art. Let no one get in your way. Be you. Make your art. 

About — Kin Curran

Interested in sampling the music of Kin Curran? Check out the link below:

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/6xIUMmDr1J39FzsN69HMpe?si=yBHlY6lqSeuDCW5-4NJ4dg

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusc.com/interviews

Published by Andrew Daly

Since he was a young child growing up on Long Island, NY, Andrew has always loved writing and collecting physical music. Present-day, Andrew is proud to share his love of music with the world through his writing, and the result is nothing short of beautiful: articles and interviews written by a music addict for fellow music addicts. Andrew lives on Long Island and works as a Horticultural Operations Manager by day and runs the Vinyl Writer Music website by night.

2 thoughts on “An Interview with Kin Curran

  1. As you did, I initially met Colleen and Drew on a cruise ship, and enjoyed the experience so much I arranged to meet up with them again several times on later cruises. They are a fabulous couple, both from an entertainment and humanist perspective.
    /Paul Robichaud

    1. Hey Paul! We agree. What a lovely couple, and immensely talented at that! We have plans to see them live as soon as we are able to again. Thanks for the lovely comment and for supporting such fantastic artists!

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