Curtis Watts has been on the Funk, Hip Hop, R&B, Rock, World Beat and Jazz scene in New York City for many years. Being born in Harlem and raised in the South Bronx has given this native New Yorker the opportunity to employ every angle of his experiences and influence to develop one of the most innovative sounds of any composer and drummer in the modern world of today.
He became a force to be recognized in the music industry when he assembled two of the most innovative groundbreaking groups to be signed by two major record companies, Sony Epic and Time Warner Elektra Records. His first group, Smokin’ Suckaz wit Logic on Epic which was the first all-live instrument and vocal hip-hop crossover fused group to debut a record on a major label titled Playing Fools. His second group, Sample This, which was also signed by Time Warner Elektra, features groundbreaking soul organic, mainstream music.
Curtis Watts’ credentials extend far beyond the norm with collaborations with such artists as Vernon Reid & Masque band with their debut CD, Mistaken Identity on Sony Epic Records.
He remixed Mick Jagger’s debut single Sweet Thing with Anton Pukshanski on his solo CD. He also remixed Living Coulor’s single with his group SSL (Smokin’ Suckaz wit Logic). Curtis also performed a live duet recording with jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan and drummed on Lloyd Cole’s third CD bad vibes on Capital Records.
He recorded and performed unlimited Songs from the Jimi Hendrix catalog for today’s contemporary audience with guitarist Vernon Reid and played drums on Salif Keita’s CD Papa, which won a Grammy award.
The songs from the CD PAPA are in the blockbuster movie Ali starring Will Smith. This has gained much respect for Curtis in the motion picture industry. Also added to his credits are music and performances in the movie Street Fighter 2 (the animation movie).
“They are the pioneers of the new era of live hip-hop music ” (Rolling Stones magazine).
Curtis’ second all-live R&B group, Sample This! was a collaboration with Anton Pukshanski which landed them a signed deal to Elektra records. Their debut CD was titled Sample this! This CD gained them the respect of other musicians and artist in the R&B category. Curtis and Anton proved to many people that they weren’t followers; rather they were trendsetters in every aspect!
Back in the day, Curtis Watts was an assistant engineer at Power Play recording studio, which was the house of every Hip Hop artist who was popular at the time. Under the watchful eyes of the head engineer friend and partner Anton Pukshanski, Curtis gained valuable experience in the recording industry.
This facilitated a breaking of unlimited opportunities for Curtis to expose his talents as a well-accomplished drummer, producer and percussionist. In addition, Curtis had the opportunity to record on Hip Hop artists’ CD’S such as KRS-1 of Boogie Down Productions, Eric B. & Rakim, Large Professor, Todd Ray – producer for Cypress Hill and Santana, De La Soul, Salt & Pepper, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Kid & Play, EPMD, G. Rap & Polo, Redman, Nasty Nas, Heavy D & the Boyz, D J Red Alert and Busta Rhymes.
His current all-live Hip Hop group RAINATION, has two CDS out on the market today. The band has been on tour as the supporting act for artists including Wyclef Jean, Black Eyed Peas, Kanye West, Ludacris, Robert Randoff, Roots, Common, Julian Marley, Tabib Kweli, Omar and others.
As a musician for hire, Curtis Watts has performed as well as shared the stage with Jay Z. Pharell, Stevie Wonder, Santana, Terry Bozio of the Frank Zapper Band, Jaco Pastorius with Delmar Brown, Ozomati, Pharaoh Sanders, Teo Macero – producer for Mile Davis, Roy Ayers, members from the hit group Gypsy kings, Trilok Gurtu , Salif Keita, Hip Hop producer Prince Paul, D J Logic project, Groove Collective, and Ciro Baptista.
He was also involved with the tap-dance community, drumming for the famous tap dancer Buster Brown in jam sessions at Swing 46 which featured Savion Glover, the late Gregory Hines and Jimmy Slide.
In the world beat music community, Curtis is highly respected and recognized as an accomplished world percussionist & drummer. He has performed with the great African master and mentor, drummer sensation Baba Olatunji, musician/dancer Amadoi Boli, and all of the best west African djembe drummers emigrating to the united States. These greats also include Brazilian artists such as Pe de boi, Katenda, Manhattan Samba group, Samba Novo, and Batucada.
Curtis has also served as founder of BATTERY DRUMLINE and is on its Board of Directors. Directors, Battery Drumline was featured on NY1 News as NEW YORKERS OF THE WEEK all on account of Battery Drumline.
As of today, Curtis Watts is currently associated with Sony publishing and independent labels as a songwriter/producer and drummer. He is very active in various projects and currently working with his new all live instrument and vocal Hip Hop group. Stay tuned to his website for further updates.