Interviews

Sara Curtin Launches Her Own D.C. Record Label, Local Woman Records

LWR

Sara Curtin is one of the hardest working musicians in the area, with a long list of fruitful projects and accomplishments under her name. But this year, Curtin has unveiled one of her biggest endeavor’s yet–launching her very own record label.

Right out of the gate, Local Woman Records has already set its first release–the debut EP of folk artist Kaeley Pruitt-Hamm. As the year progresses, Curtin hopes to feature an eclectic range of artists who she feels are making a positive impact in the community.

Local Woman Records will make its debut appearance next Saturday at the first-ever D.C. Record Label Expo at Songbyrd, presented by Sounds of the City festival. They’ll have some awesome merch on sale and giveaways at the event, so make sure to stop over and see them and all the other fantastic labels that’ll be there!

Prior to the event, I got a chance to speak with Curtin about current and future plans for her new label.

D.C. Music Download: Local Woman Records is a brand-new label. What can you tell us about the label’s philosophy and goals? 

Sara Curtin: Yes! Local Woman Records is brand new. It’s so new that our official “stepping out” will be at the D.C. Music Download Record Label Expo on March 4! This project is about working with artists who have something to say, artists who are trying to positively impact our world. This year marks 10 years of my life as a professional artist. The journey has taught me so many lessons and shown me different sides of the music world. Too often, the business of music supersedes the creativity. Artists today have to be everything: composers, engineers, marketers, promoters, graphic designers, bookers, grant writers, sales people, you name it.

With Local Woman Records, I want to share my experience and help other artists lighten their load so that a little more of their day can be dedicated to creating and playing. I will, of course, continue my own career as an artist–I’m finishing up a new album as we speak and will release it later this year–but the goal of Local Woman Records is to provide support to other artists I believe in so that they can explore their creativity to its full potential without worrying about whether they filled out some online submission form correctly.

Does Local Woman Records exclusively focus on local women?

Local Woman Records will not exclusively focus on music by “local women” or exclusively women at all, for that matter. I hope to grow the label to represent a very diverse group of artists. The name of the label has a couple of meanings for me. First, it reflects who I am. No matter where I live or what I do, I will always be a “local woman.” Second, it is meant to reflect everyone. Ever notice how phrases meant to address everyone are mindlessly gendered as male? “Every man,” “you guys,” “mankind?” I thought I’d flip the script a little bit. I was inspired by Jack White’s label, Third Man Records, and wondered if anyone ever assumed that they would only sign male artists.

You have an upcoming release with Kaeley Pruitt-Hamm’s Hi From Pillows. What are your goals for the release and what challenges have you faced getting the label up and running?

Getting Local Woman Records up and running has been great! It’s exciting to dream and write up plans, and the support and inclusion by DC Music Download in their Record Label Fair has been very motivating. I’m beyond honored to have signed Kaeley Pruitt-Hamm as our first artist. Kaeley is a thoughtful songwriter with an effortlessly beautiful voice. I first heard her when we co-billed a show at D.C. house venue The Bathtub Republic in 2015. Around that time, she contracted Lyme Disease, which affected her ability to play instruments and work a desk job.

Unbelievably, Kaeley turned to writing songs in order to process and heal during her struggle with the illness. She’s since moved to Seattle where she continues treatment and records her songs. Unable to work, in order to be able to afford her amounting health care costs, she has an account on Patreon where fans can subscribe and pledge donations as she writes and releases new music. Kaeley has amazing strength to be able to produce new music while faced with such a challenging illness. It’s our goal with the upcoming release of her EP, Hi From Pillows, to spread Kaeley’s story and share her spirit with others who might also be suffering. We hope to not only inspire people to help her by buying the new EP, but also to foster a lasting relationship by supporting her at Patreon.

Are you stoked about attending the D.C. Record Label Expo?

As I mentioned before, I’m very excited to be included in the DCMD record label fair. It lifts me up every day to live in a city where there are such great musicians, labels, and music appreciators. We are so lucky here. On March 4 at Songbyrd I’ll be honored to have a booth alongside the other more established D.C. labels, and I look forward to meeting everyone who wants to come by to chat. Please visit me–I’ll have giveaways!

Do you have any big plans for the label in the coming year?

Big plans for Local Woman Records in 2017? Yes! Our first release with Kaeley Pruitt-Hamm’s EP Hi From Pillows! Stay tuned. It’s beautiful and we can’t wait for you to hear and see what’s coming.