First you hear the guitar -- a kind of funky, blues-derived rock, simultaneously raw and melodic, rough and accomplished. Then there�s the voice -- mature and bold -- falling somewhere between Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow. Put them together and you've got Shannon Curfman, the Minneapolis-by-way of Fargo native who just happens to be all of 15-years old. Her debut album, Loud Guitars and Big Suspicions, is a startling debut that belies her age and bodes well for the future.
Guitar.com: Can you still lead a normal life?
Shannon Curfman: No, it's a completely different world now. I still have the same circle of friends and we e-mail and write back and forth when I'm on the road, but they don't even know who Carlos Santana is. So my worlds don't overlap much.
Guitar.com: What about school?
Curfman: I've been home-schooled. I always thought they wasted a lot of time in school just sitting around. This way I can do a steady four hours of work and be done. I love it, so I go right through the summer. I'll probably graduate at least a year early.
Guitar.com: When did you realize show biz was for you?
Curfman: There was a talent show in Fargo when I was seven, so I signed up for it as a singing and dancing act with my two cousins. But they ended up backing out of it. So I did it alone. I sang and danced to I'll Be All Right. I saw the video the other day, and I'm like, Omigod, my front teeth are missing! But this is my first tour that I've ever done nationally. I've been aiming for this the last seven years.
Guitar.com: What prompted you to pick up a guitar?
Curfman: My grandma's friend was giving guitar lessons [when I was eight], so she asked me if I wanted to take them and I said, What the heck? I couldn't put it down after that. I took lessons for a year; I've always played by ear. I can read tab but not music. I'm into equipment and stuff, but I don't get too technical. It always scared me cause I don't know what it'll do to my playing.
Guitar.com: What music did you grow up with in the house?
Curfman: My parents listened to a lot of Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Jeff Beck, Led Zeppelin, and Aerosmith.
Guitar.com: When did you start playing in bands?
Curfman: I've been playing in bands since I was 11. Fargo was a great place to start out, get your sound, learn music, play to crowds. It was a new world when we moved to Minneapolis; there are so many studio musicians and touring pros on the scene there.
Guitar.com: Do you ever run into Jonny Lang on the road from Fargo to Minneapolis?
Curfman: Oh, yeah, we know each other pretty well. He even helped me on my album. We went through some of the same stuff, and we like to hang out in some of the same places when we're not on the road. It doesn't seem like that down time is gonna happen much anymore. But I'm psyched to get out there, that's for sure.