Curtis Waters’ Universal Growing Pains Will Make You Want to Join His Pity Party

Photo: @shika.shoots

If Pity Party sounds like it was made in someone’s bedroom, that’s because it was. It’s the place where Curtis Waters usually makes music. 

At just 20 years old, the Nepali-Canadian artist calls his sophomore album a “personal coming-of-age” story, “a way for me to look back on my teenage years and articulate all the extreme emotions I’ve felt.” Such a statement feels incredibly on point when you slap your headphones on and jam to the whole thing in one go. But Waters’ woke-up-like-this voice and casually blatant lyrics are so sorely relatable it begs the question: does “coming-of-age” have a logical endpoint?

The first track, “Shoe Laces,” sets the thematic tone of the low-fi bedroom hip-pop experience to come. Expressions of doubt, time, and overwhelm are all strangely guided by throwbacks to the non-ironic days of autotuning, snappy video game beats, and deep blows of bass. “There are songs about my mental health difficulties, bittersweet relationships, and first generation immigrant guilt.” 

Light moments arise, too, like on the ultra-catchy “Freckles” and in the fuzzy nature of “Feelings Tend To Stay The Same.” The self-produced album retains a genre-bending quality throughout, punching through with jump-on-the-bed energy and pumping the brake for moments of rumination. Though a sense of pragmatism permeates his Pity Party, the Calgary-raised musician says—when prompted—his friends would describe him as passionate, funny, and kind.

But alone in his bedroom, engrossed in his art, Waters opens up. “Music is therapeutic for me and oftentimes I talk about things that I would be too ashamed to tell people in real life,” he says. 

If there is no logical end to the aching feelings that “coming-of-age” implies, then at least Pity Party is here, like a friendly hug, letting you know you are not alone.