Make Music Champions: Courtney Preis loves writing songs about her own stories and connecting with people through them

Make Music Day

Courtney is a singer-songwriter from San Diego. She started writing songs at a very young age which were all about her own stories as a rebellious teenager. Nowadays, she works with a co-writing team to produce music completely inspired by their own stories and emotions. She recently released a new album called Cabin in the Woods.

How did you start making music?

Music kind of runs in my family, we’re all singers and a lot of us are singer-songwriters. Growing up, music was what we did as a family. By the time I was around 13, I got drawn into the art of songwriting. At that age, I was rebellious and got in trouble a lot with the law, my parents, and that sort of stuff. I started to turn my stories into songs, which was really therapeutic for me, so I continued to do it as I became an adult. I went into college and continued composing getting inspiration from relationships, friendships, and any stressful times I had. I continued turning emotions into songs, and it just felt right. It was really fun and easy for me, and it felt true to myself, so I kept doing it. The rest is kind of history! 

Could you tell me a bit more about your songwriting journey?

When I moved to LA a little over a year ago, I got to explore a lot of different paths of my musicianship and songwriting. I initially moved there because I had a publishing deal with my team, which was like a writing camp 101, every single day. I’d show up in the studio and we’d be writing for artists and commercials pushing the product which was the song. Instead of turning my own experiences into music, I was turning whatever I could into music. I did that for the whole year, then I found my co-writing team which is my current team. We work on the brand of Courtney Preis and it’s all about my life stories and their life stories because we all create our music together. We travel across the USA creating experiences and composing, and that’s how my newest record came about, Cabin in the woods.

Y0u’re a songwriter, do you also do covers?

Before I moved to LA, I was doing music full-time as a gig artist. I’ve always been a very spiritual person, and I remember telling the universe “I want to pay the bills making music”. I was kind of doing it, but it was still not quite where I wanted to be because I was playing other people’s music, and I was playing at places where I felt like my music was just background music as no one was paying me attention. That’s probably not the worst thing for someone that just wants to play or perform, but that was not my case. So, I did that for two years. It was very lucrative while being also very soul-sucking. I did covers for a very long time, but I think that chapter is closed to me now.

What genres do you do?

What I write is generally pop music, like love songs and that kind of stuff, but I do put a lot of stories into it as well. I want the soul to come through with the music and I want people to see themselves in it too. That being said, I’m a pop singer-songwriter, greatly influenced by R&B and classic writing.

How did you find out about Make Music Day?

Last year, I was living with a friend in Topanga, and one of her friends told me that there was going to be a Make Music Day event where I should definitely perform. Because of the pandemic, I had stopped performing and was just working on composing at my studio. And, as Topanga is very community-based, I knew Make Music Day was going to be a great show for everyone across the city, so I decided to participate. I had a wonderful time!

How was your experience at Make Music Day?

It was so great! Not only did I get to perform, but I also stayed for a lot of performances throughout the whole evening. It was just really lovely. As I already said, Topanga is very community-based itself, so everyone at the event was really receptive to the music and had a lot of fun.

How would you describe what music means to you?

Music means a lot as it’s the career path that I’ve chosen, and there is a lot of excitement, pressure, and trying not to think so much about the future that comes with it. I think music, in general, is like the rock of life. The world cannot move on without music, and we are all musical! We all have vocal cords and hands to create and experiment with music. 

What would you say your goal in music is?

To keep being as authentic as I can with my message and my music, and simultaneously touching as many people as I can with exactly what I want to say through my songs.