A self-taught pianist and then educated composer, Curtis Macdonald studied and earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in composition at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California.
The minimalist approach he acquired at Cal Arts would aid in the development of his music. During the beginning of the 1980s the elements in the minimalist movement in serious art music would transfer over to popular music as the decades evolved. Curtis utilized such elements as pattern repetition, sonic landscapes, and memorable melodies, and created a type of music that could be listenable and still be derived from the artistic schooling he received. As Curtis became more self-aware of his personal high empathetic nature, he began to transfer his emotional sensitivity into his music. Drawing from many experiences, his approach to mirroring his feelings to melody became a staple in his compositions. His deep affection for jazz and improvisation, film scores and the use of popular song form also began to take shape and with these elements, a more cohesive and commercial appeal began to surface in the creation of his music. Throughout the 1990s Curtis began to experiment with the sound he has accomplished and refined today, a radio friendly and accessible pop instrumental style that reflects his personal emotions all the while using the acoustic piano as the main voice. He was signed in 2002 to the label Eversound as well as starting his own record label CMMP with 21 releases.