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FINDING HER WAY

Harvard student Catherine Tuttle releases second album

Catherine Tuttle.jpg

It’s not uncommon for athletes to drop out of college for a pro career and leave their pursuit of a degree in the dust.

Plenty of musicians have done the same thing, too, but singer/songwriter/pianist Catherine Tuttle, a 19-year-old freshman at Harvard University, doesn’t plan to add her name to the list.

Tuttle, whose latest album is What They Will Find, (Zone 7/Candid Records), gives higher education the edge over music.

“I have these two priorities, and right now I really need to focus on school,” she says. “I think everything that I’m learning here and going through is going to help me with music once I get out. Definitely, that’s the career path I’m heading toward. Getting a good education can’t hurt.”

Should What They Will Find reach a large audience, Tuttle would be open to changing her plans.

“I think in that case, the most important thing would be to get out there and tour,” says Tuttle. “Harvard is very understanding in terms of taking a year off and things like that, so I would certainly consider something like that. I’m determined to finish my studies, so I wouldn’t necessarily drop out. I’d put it on hold and switch focuses for a second.”

What They Will Find, released in November, is Tuttle’s second album. Peel, her first, was released independently in 2003 around her hometown Philadelphia area. Tuttle’s relationship with Candid Records began when Alan Fajardo, an executive at the company’s Philippines subsidiary, came across Peel while surfing the Internet. Fajardo turned things over to the U.K. office, and in July 2004, she signed with Candid.

For What They Will Find, Tuttle re-recorded seven songs from her debut disc.

“They were brought up to date and sort of freshened up,” she says. “I kind of figured ‘Waste not, want not’ . . . I still had an emotional attachment to them, and I just really wanted to get them out there to a wider audience.”

What They Will Find includes a slow, sultry cover of the Fontella Bass hit “Rescue Me.”

“Once you really listen to the words, the emotion is so strong and so raw,” Tuttle says. “Even though the original arrangement is a lot of fun, it was just worth it to bring out the sentimentality of the lyrics.”

Tuttle, who is of French-Canadian heritage, ends her latest disc with “Ange Tombe,” which also concludes her first album.

“It didn’t feel quite complete to have an album without something in French,” she explains. “It’s part of my writing and part of who I am, too.”

When it comes to performances, it’s no surprise to hear Tuttle say that her school schedule plays a big part in when she can play gigs. Look for a “full-blown tour” in the summer along the east coast, she says.

— By Chris M. Junior