Tag Archives: Orlando

Singer-Songwriter Interview / Matthew Fowler

If you listen to the mesmerizing debut album ‘Beginning’ from Orlando based singer-songwriter Matthew Fowler, you’d think it was done in a recording studio. But the truth is, it was recorded in his parent’s kitchen with some of his close friends. Matthew wanted to challenge himself and with no recording experience, he’s made an album worth admiring by even the most established artists. His storytelling, beautiful melodies and hypnotic vocals create a very special atmosphere. Matthew and his music possess a unique charisma and you can feel the heart and soul he puts into his work. Being blessed with such a grand talent, there is no doubt this 19-year old musician will soon get the recognition he deserves.

Find out more about Matthew and his music in our following interview and listen to his album ‘Beginning’, which is also available for a free download on Bandcamp.

How would you describe your music to the UK audience?

It’s essentially a singer/songwriter album with roots in folk music.

What got you into music and made you want to pursue a career in it?

Even as a kid, I was obsessed with music. I remember having conversations with adults when I was just a kid about Bob Dylan, The Beatles and Frank Sinatra and how they made me feel. I think musicians have always been people that I looked up to and wanted to emulate. The first time I picked up the guitar was when I was 14. I got one for my birthday (the same Yamaha I still use live) and that was really it for me. I don’t remember even consciously choosing to play music, I think it just happened.

Your debut album ‘Beginning’ is available for a free download. What made you decide to give it out for free?

In this day and age it’s really easy to get the music you want to listen to for free. I just would rather people go through me to do it than the torrents because it gives me a chance to connect with the people who want to listen. I think they repay you in other ways – maybe coming to a show or even showing the album to their friends. In the long run, that’s more important to me.

Can you take us through the recording process of this record?

Recording was something I had absolutely no experience with, whatsoever. Apart from voice memos on my phone, I never recorded anything before, so I really had my work cut out for me with the making of this album. I knew I didn’t want to go into a studio, I wanted to see what I could do with a bit of time and a couple of cheap mics. So the recordings were done in my parents’ kitchen, and most of the songs were tracked live. I think there were only a couple of parts here and there that were added in afterwards, but the majority of the songs were recorded with all of us playing together.

It just always sounded the best to me – the most natural, the most energetic, the most emotional performances always seem to be captured through that shared energy. I had a couple of friends help me with the recording and mixing process here and there, but I did most of it myself, which I’m really proud of. I learned some things from other people, experimented on my own, and figured out how it all worked. So at the end of the day, I made the album that I wanted to make, and I was the one responsible for it. It’s been really cool actually when people ask me where I went to get the album recorded, and I get to say that I did it in my parent’s kitchen with a couple friends and a lot of sleepless nights!

Is there any song or two on the album with a special story behind it, which you’d like to share with us?

Well there are definitely a couple of stories about every song. But the first track on the album, “Leaving Home/Open Road” was inspired by a road trip I took in high school with a couple of buddies of mine. We had time off from school for spring break and drove from Orlando to the Grand Canyon and back in like 8 days or something. It was the first time out on the road in that fashion by myself and it really inspired me. Seeing the world the way we wanted and experiencing nature in its purest form. It was really life-changing.

Which other musicians would you class as your main influences?

Well obviously the legends like Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and Van Morrison have been greatly influential on my music. I would say recent artists like Glen Hansard and Damien Rice have also had really huge effects on my music. I remember pouring over everything Glen Hansard had done and loving all of it. He’s definitely my favorite musician, and I think we share the same outlook on what music and performing are all about, I think that’s why I really connected with his music.

How often do you get to perform live and what are your favorite parts of playing to a live audience?

I honestly try and play live at every chance I get. That’s my favorite part of music. There’s something about playing for total strangers and getting them to feel the words and emotions in a song that is so wonderful. It’s great to be able to connect with people in that way. You can never predict how a live show will go. Sometimes it’s really intimate and intense, sometimes it’s lighthearted and rambunctious. I like the changes and never knowing what to expect.

What is the music scene in Orlando like at the moment and how do you think the type of music you’re making fits in?

The music scene is interesting. Don’t get me wrong, there are great bands coming out of Florida. Really fantastic bands coming out of Orlando, but it’s not the typical place to find people playing the type of music I play. Florida is a lot more open to Rock bands, Funk and Soul, and more bluesy stuff than Folk music. A lot of punk as well. That has been my experience with it. So it is challenging sometimes, but then again, it’s great to win over people who might not necessarily listen to my genre as often. To get people on board who are relatively new to the particular style of music I play.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

I’ve been listening to Dawes’ new album quite a bit. I think it’s excellent. Also, “Home Again” by Michael Kiwanuka has been on repeat in my car. I think the album is so beautifully done, truly one of my favorite records right now. Other than that, nothing really new has been catching my ear as frequently as those two albums. For whatever reason I’ve been obsessed with “Graceland” by Paul Simon. I remember last month there was like a whole week where it was all I listened to.

Are you planning to record or release any new material in the upcoming weeks/months?

Well, “Beginning” was released in June, which is pretty recently. So I don’t think I’ll be releasing anything very soon, I don’t want to rush into a new album. I want to take my time for the next one and really focus on having quality songs – not  that “Beginning” didn’t – I just don’t want to put something out because it’s expected, I want to put something out when I’m ready and confident about it.

Links – Facebook, Twitter

Singer-Songwriter Interview / Joey Hatcher

Joey HatcherJoey Hatcher is an American singer-songwriter, who is set to release his debut album Music In My Head this summer. Joey’s music attracts the listener’s attention with soft, pleasing melodies, sincere vocals and a strong emotion that flows through the songs. This is the kind of music that lets you shed off the weight of everyday’s life matters and awakes a special feeling that good music carries within itself.

Find out more about Joey’s music and his upcoming album in the following interview.

You’re releasing your debut album ‘Music In My Head’ this summer. Could you tell us about making of this record?

Typically Rick (the producer) would go into the studio first, then add vocals, but in order to really capture the emotional energy of these songs, he had me record my guitars, vocals and virtual instruments to a “click” first. Then we went into the studio and added drums, bass, keys, real strings and horns, etc. Thanks to the “cyber studio” of modern technology, we used a lot of REALLY talented musicians in totally different locations on planet Earth, in order to get that emotionally rich, relevant and high quality sound that myself and Executive Producer/co-writer Frank Stopak were aiming for.

What’s it like working with Grammy nominated music producer Rick Chudacoff?

Enough good things cannot be said about Rick. Rick is the left brain that I never had in the studio! He is also the sandpaper (and sometimes even the Dremel tool!) to my rough edges.  He is not very dictatorial (which he could get away with considering the league he’s in). Because of this, he suits my style as I tend to have strong opinions down to the tiny details about how I should sound and certain things should sound. He listens and he “get’s me as an artist” which is very important and he came up with great new ideas to take these songs to the “next level”.

Is there any song on the MIMH album that’s perhaps a bit more special to you than the others?

That would be the most personal song for me which is the last song on the album. It’s a song called “7 Weeks & 5 Days”. I wrote it on the drive home from the place where I saw my son for the first time. It’s a unique and vulnerable song.

Regarding songwriting, where do you gather the ideas and inspiration from?

Everywhere. I see songwriting from the perspective of an actor first. Then, as a musician. That way I can channel a character and the songs “just seem to write themselves”. It’s a little creepy actually. Several songs on this album were written that way including “Before We Knew Who We Were” and “Tragedy”.

In terms of my process, the melodies I start out with often change over time little by little until it’s strong, and you may not necessarily recognize the new melody next to the original one by the time I’m finished with it. I never write anything down because if I have to then it’s probably not worth remembering. It should be strong enough to stick in your head after hearing it for the first time, whether it’s a melody or a lyric.

Do you remember the moment you realized that you wanted to pursue career in music?

Not really. I still see it as a hobby because it’s so much fun. Even when it’s hard work it’s fun for me!

What motivates you the most as an artist?

People like a good song because it’s a 3 or 4 minute diversion of beauty that makes sense in a world which often is not beautiful and does not make sense. A song is a microcosm of what we seek. Meaning. Often our world doesn’t make sense so we turn to music. Music is just music, BUT Music wields great power that most people aren’t even aware of. Music motivates me because I want to use it not only just to write anesthetic “feel good” songs (there is still certainly a place and time for those songs), but really to help people, to shed light, for love, for good, and ultimately for God’s glory.

How does being a musician affect the world around you?

Being a musician doesn’t affect my perception of the world too much. As a musician I experience the same pain when I  stub my toe as anyone else would. Otherwise, I think music, or any person working in any field (even a janitor) can positively or negatively affect the world around them one person, or one set of ears at a time.

What would you like to achieve with the release of your record?

In terms of success, I will be pitching heavily to TV and Film as my songs naturally are a good fit for that market. And a modest but intense fan base wouldn’t hurt! This is after all my first album endeavor so we’ll see!

Links – Website, Twitter, Soundcloud