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THE NIGHT THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING 

By the time I was 23 I’d spent more nights than I could count driving around Montreal alone, singing my lungs out. My rotation included lots of post-punk and new wave music from the 80’s: New Order, The Police, U2, Depeche Mode, and Elvis Costello. These solo car-concerts started well before college and snowballed into a nightly ritual that kept me sane but that I was too embarrassed to tell anyone about. 

So it was that one January night I found myself playing a drinking game with a dozen friends at Peel Pub- a huge downtown bar. It was business as usual until a band took to the stage and an announcement came through the PA welcoming everyone to the first-ever edition of “Live Band Karaoke.” In light of this unprecedented development, we agreed that the drinking game losers would have to send somebody up there to sing. A white guy with dreads screeched his way through Toto’s “Africa” as if to punctuate the awaiting humiliation. 

I don’t remember how, but my team lost. Not surprisingly, no one volunteered to get onstage. It might have been the beer, it might have been a guardian angel, but I felt a wellspring of determination bubble up. I drained my mug and marched across the room to huddle with the band. They had a U2 song in their repertoire: “Where the Streets Have No Name.” I’d sung it many times in my car but I’d never sung it- or anything for that matter- with a band in front of a live audience. There was no time to worry. The drummer clacked his sticks and counted us in. 

The next 4 and half minutes were a blur as I threw myself into the performance with abandon. The band and I roared through the song like long-lost pals and galloped toward the finish into a huge crescendo. As cymbals rang out, a strange thing happened. It was like someone had hit PAUSE on some cosmic remote control. I became hyper-present. My toes unclenched inside my boots; blood pulsed through my hands; I pressed the mic stand against my chest like I was in love with it. I opened my eyes and licked my lips. The room came into focus. I looked out and saw a sea of diamonds shining back at me…wisps of smoke hung from the ceiling as if in suspended animation…I was in a space of utter enchantment…and then…UNPAUSE…the room erupted. Applause, whistles, howls. I staggered back to my table like I was walking with someone else’s feet. Strangers smiled at me and shook my hand. My friends greeted me with back slaps, high-fives, and…could it be…newfound respect? A waitress arrived with pitchers of beer courtesy of the bar manager. 

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah. 

Fast forward 4 solo albums, songs featured on TV shows like Melrose Place and 15 Love, unexpected success in the world of progressive house music, and I still think about that night. It was the moment when fantasy broke through into waking reality and I got a sign from the universe that this singing thing might actually be something. 

It was also the first time I truly understood how music could cast a spell over an entire room, elevating everyone in it. This was powerful magic. Singing in my car, I felt a glimmer of that power, but I was isolated and incomplete. But up onstage I felt fully connected, alive, and whole. Yes, I had to take the leap. But only the audience, the listener, YOU, could complete the circle. It was a revelation. 

So thanks for being a listener. And for making it all matter. 

Sincerely, 

Matt

IT’S ALIVE! 

A song is a living thing. Some of them grow into oak trees. Some die stillborn in the crib. The Muse can be puzzling, maddening, and elusive.

Once in a blue moon, though, she smiles on you. Like, the words “alive again” pop out of your mouth while you’re putting away the laundry. A whole melodic structure spills out too. Luckily, you have the wherewithal to hit record and manage to capture that initial burst in real-time. Still, you’re not sure what the song is really about. But you don’t futz with it. You put it in a drawer somewhere and forget about it.

Years pass. While you’re living your life, the song sits there in the dark, sporing like some kind of mysterious fungus. Eventually it starts glowing and calling to you. One Sunday afternoon, while doing some spring-cleaning, you open up the drawer, and there it is. “What’s this?” Many things have happened to you since you threw it in there. Monumental things. You left your band. Someone you loved hurt you. People let you down. Good things happened too. You started to sing again. You found allies in your time of need. You trained like a ninja in the Polish forest. You dust off the old demo, and you press play. Wow, that ditty is now resonating in a whole new way. Suddenly….it’s your life. You hear the words “alive again” and you understand. You know how to finish it. You’ve caught up to the song. You’ve grown and become worthy of it.

In the summer of 2014, three years after leaving my band- and two after a horrible break-up- I realized I wanted to record again. Through a friend I connected with a producer, Fraser McCulloch, and we hit it off. “Let’s start with this one,” I said. “And see how it goes.” With that, I cued up my voice memo from 4 years earlier. A day and a half later, “Alive Again” was born- the perfect lead off for a comeback. Fraser knocked it out of the park, we finished the album, and we’ve been working together ever since. 

To this day, “Alive Again” remains one of the most personally meaningful songs in my catalogue. Here’s a SPOTIFY link if you want to hear it. 

As always, thanks for listening. 
Matt

FIELDHOUSE BMG AND ME 

Hey All- 

I’m very excited to announce that I’ve signed with Fieldhouse BMG, a music production company specializing in discovering and promoting talent for film and television soundtracks. Looking forward to a great collaborations with John Leoffler and the whole Fieldhouse team!

BANFF CENTRE FOR ARTS AND CREATIVITY RESIDENCY MARCH 12-26 

Hey Friends, 

Just home after a magical 2-week residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Alberta, Canada. I was up there starting work on what I hope will be a new album in tandem with 23 incredible singers and songwriters from around the globe. I truly had a blast (ahem, dance party) and was super-inspired by my fellow residents and our Grammy-winning, Songwriter Hall of Fame mentors (Kevin Welch, Don Henry, Kim Ritchie, Jeff Hanna, Matraca Berg, and Russell deCarle). 

I also had the privilege of recording some new material with Arcade Fire producer-engineer (and former member) Howard Bilerman and the legendary Fats Kaplin on pedal steel. 

The whole thing culminated with a pair of concerts at Banff Centre’s 2 public performance spaces. What a trip. I’m already dreaming of going back:-) 

xo 

Matt

FRANCE… 

Just back in New York City after an incredible week in southern France at the Centre Artistique International Roy Hart. I was there at Chateau Malérargues in the Cévennes mountains doing an intensive voice workshop called “The Art of Interpretation.” 

The idea was to step off the NYC treadmill for a bit in the name of artistic growth and to push myself (and my voice) into as yet uncharted waters. Roy Hart (named for the famed British vocal pioneer) is more of an approach than a technique and has been known to dramatically expand the vocal range and the palette of tones and “voices” a singer has access to. Mostly what’s required is the courage to step into the unknown time and again. It was a challenging and deeply fulfilling week. It also gave me a chance to practice my very rusty French:-) 

Much heartfelt gratitude to our leaders Linda Wise and Saso Vollmaier for a truly transformational session. And much admiration and respect to my 13 fellow singers and performers. If you’re curious to learn more about this radical approach to singing and performance click HERE. 

Meantime, have a fantastic rest of the summer:-) 

xo 

Matt

“HALLS OF WHITE” SINGLE TO BE RELEASED BY NOIR MUSIC 

Hey Folks- 
I have some exciting news to share. Halls of White– a recent collaboration with my old compadre Tone Depth – is about to get a worldwide release via Noir Music. 

The full package will include Tone’s original mix plus 2 remixes (vocal and instrumental) by Noir himself and will be available on all platforms starting November 25th. 

Meantime, you can preview the tracks HERE 

A huge thanks to Noir and his team for signing us on and to Tone Depth for crafting such a brooding, gorgeous track for me to play with. 

Check it out. Would love to know what you think. 

xo 
Matt

I ACCIDENTALLY RECORDED A JAMES BOND THEME SONG 

Just completed a round of recording sessions w producer/ engineer/ partner-in-crime Fraser McCulloch at the the Lutheran Church of the Messiah in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The band Grizzly Bear recorded “Two Weeks” there and we were hoping to tap into some of that mojo. Anyway, we walked out with something that sounds like it might the theme to the next James Bond movie. 

Working title: Leave the World Behind 

Watch this space for updates and a possible download in the near future…. 

xo 

Matt