Curt Smith has been one half of Tears For Fears, a radio show personality, MTV host and commercial songwriter. In May, when Smith releases “Halfway, pleased,” you can add solo artist to that list. Though he’s released music under the Mayfield moniker, a collaboration with guitarist Charlton Pettus, this marks the first time he’s released new music under his own name.
The Bath, England, native tells Billboard.com that now, at the age of 46, he has “come back to total self-indulgence” and finished the solo effort after four years of recording and promoting the Tears For Fears 2004 reunion album “Everybody Loves a Happy Ending.”
“The nature of Tears For Fears was there was always two of us,” says Smith, now a Los Angeles resident. Smith co-wrote tunes in Tears For Fears with Roland Orzabal. “It was about compromise. We all had to agree on all of it. Solo, you don’t have compromise. It gets back to what’s great when you’re a musician.”
Uncompromised, also, is Smith’s terms when it comes to releasing the set: the album will be self-released through his own KOOK Media label. His last project outside of T4F, “Mayfield,” was released on Zero Disc in 1998. “We’re doing it ourselves initially and selling it through the Web site and all the online retail. We’re not convinced people even go into retail stores anymore. You can do your own deal with iTunes and Amazon, so then why would you do anything otherwise?” he says. “I just have to sell enough records to continue financing making more records.”
“Halfway, pleased,” while not a “happy” record, has a lighter, poppier edge to it, speaking on subjects of family, relationships and Smith’s two daughters(“The comma’s the key.”). Also present is a lush cinematic quality, which stems from Smith’s experiences writing for film. “I have this TV pilot I was writing for and a couple of films. It’s just a different way to express myself.”
As for Tears For Fears, who broke up in 1990 and re-opened their collaboration in 2002, “We’ve left it open. The thing is, neither of us wants to plan that far ahead. We’re probably sick of the sight of each other after four and a half years of recording and touring. But we didn’t say like we did in1990, ‘I don’t want to work with you again.’ We’re still decompressing.”