Curtis Melton is a widely acclaimed composer of contemporary instrumental music. He has won awards worldwide for his original compositions for film and orchestra including ‘Best Original Score’ at the Idyllwild International Film Festival and ‘Best Original Song’ at the Las Vegas 48 Hour Film Festival. The Vegas native has earned numerous accolades in competitions from Nevada to Italy.
By day, Melton is the Director of Bands at Legacy High School in North Las Vegas, NV. In that capacity he has had the rare opportunity as a musician to incorporate his art into his day job. He frequently composes original music for the school’s band and marching band. Many of these compositions have been published and distributed through GPG Publications.
Recently, Curtis Melton released an album of his original works. The 10 song collection “Skywaves” is a smooth, New Age mix of sounds and styles. The album includes selected pieces from his work in both the film industry and the scholastic world. It is a rich and layered body of work from a multi-talented and versatile composer and performer.
From the cinematic movie score vibes of “Flying Through My Dreams” to the ambient moods of “Apparition,” Melton mixes Jazz, Electronic and orchestral music into a rich tapestry of sound. Many of the pieces on “Skywaves” are studio versions of music Curtis has written for his students over the years. You can hear that youthful influence on tracks like “Power Surge” which digs deep into some instrumental Rock grooves.
Throughout the record Curtis experiments with different instruments and arrangements. Tracks like “The Genesis Effect” delve into guitar-based Pop music. The composer frequently mixes these genres and moods together within a single composition. For instance “Shadow Dance” moves from a mellow woodwind sound into a modern Jazz fusion groove, while “After the Midnight Rain” alternates between Asian inspired melodies, ambient synths and percussive Funk beats.
We had the opportunity to chat (virtually) with Melton about the album and his various other works over the years. Below you can read his answers to our 7 questions, and listen to “Skywaves” in its entirety. You also hear the album’s lead track “Flying Through My Dreams” on the Deep Indie Chill playlist. Follow the links at the end of this article to connect with Curtis Melton and get in the loop on all of his current and future projects.
7 Questions with Curtis Melton
The Static Dive: Where are you from?
Curtis Melton: Las Vegas – born and raised!
SD: How long have you been making music?
CM: Since 4th grade. Learned guitar, piano, and percussion – played in band through middle school, high school, and college. Majored in music education and have been a high school band director for 16 years now. Been composing and recording music since 6th grade!
SD: Who are the musicians involved in your project?
CM: Just me! The entire album was performed, recorded, and produced by me!
SD: Who are your biggest musical influences?
CM: Genesis, Yanni, John Tesh, Jan Hammer, Harold Faltermeyer, Fleetwood Mac, Phil Collins, Toto
SD: What is your greatest non-musical influence?
CM: My family, and my students.
SD: What inspired you to create this project?
CM: I’ve been wanting to record an album for the longest time. Finally had the opportunity this past summer and it’s always been something I have wanted to do. I always was inspired by concerts like Yanni’s “Live at the Acropolis” and John Tesh’s “Live at Red Rocks”. I always thought it would be amazing to hopefully maybe someday do a concert like that. A lot of the tracks on my album are studio recordings of songs I have composed for my students in my bands over the years.
SD: What are your plans for the future (musically)?
Curtis Melton: Well first, to get as large of an audience as I can for my music. It’s been proving hard to find that audience so far, even though I have had a couple great reviews of the album, and the lead track has been on 1 internet radio station so far with light rotation, and been placed on a few Spotify playlists, but nothing has really taken off yet.
I am hoping to grab the attention of people that like or would like this kind of music, as well as hopefully find a way to get my music out there to a much wider audience and maybe – someday do a big concert like I mentioned above (Yanni, John Tesh). I also hope to someday get to conduct a band or symphony orchestra at places like Carnegie Hall, etc. And yes, in the future, record more music and more albums!