Today’s Feature, September 18th & 19th: Matt White

September 18, 2007 at 9:48 am (Today's Feature)

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Matt White has been the focus of a lot of comparisons in the music industry as of late. He’s been called the “American James Blunt,” and “The Next Face of Pop,” and listening to his latest work, “Best Days,” the accusations seem fairly precise. I had a chance to talk to Matt and really got validation on the fact that “Best Days” has been the only CD in my car for the past month. Even after hours on a plane, White was upbeat and eager to talk. He’ll joke that people tell him he talks too much but frankly, this is the kind of interview I love…and no, he can never talk too much.

Just eavesdrop on the title track and you’ll understand. Its fast-paced upbeat and enriching sound can turn around just about any pessimistic mood, but then again, simply being a fan of Matt White should provide you with a healthier disposition. This guy is the type of artist you want… rather, the type of artist you need to cheer on. He is the kind of musician that wants to be on that stage every night; that plays and thinks about music every waking minute of the day not because he has to, but because he wants to. If the day comes that Matt White doesn’t satisfy his audience, I guarantee he won’t find sleep for a week.

In order to completely understand how much White loves his craft, you must witness him practice it in person. He’ll tell you, “I don’t think there is any bad part about playing live. I don’t understand how people don’t…I mean, if I take a week break, I start going crazy. Even when I’m off, I’ll just take my guitar down to Sidewalk Cafe or Bitter End and just play.”

“Best Days” is garnering fantastic reviews and the music world has honestly been waiting for its release with great anticipation. White admits the album was written while he was still in college and a majority of the record does contain many college themes. However, themes about refusing to grow up, “being young and doing things you can’t do when you have responsibility,” is the kind of music I want to hear! It’s the kind of sound that anyone can appreciate; anyone can connect with.

Buy the music of Matt White right now and keep the receipt. That way, when Matt does indeed become “The Next Face of Pop,” you can tell your friends you knew about him before he was a gazillionaire. And check him out live while you can still get a ticket, for “There is something explosive that happens on stage that can’t be put on an album.”

XXQs: Matt White

PensEyeView.com (PEV): How and when did you first get started in music?

Matt White (MW): My whole family is real musical. My sister is a violin teacher, my grandmother was the first female orchestra leader, so it was always kind of in my blood. I’ve played piano since I was three…it was always in the back of my mind, throughout my life.

PEV: Growing up what kind of music were you into?

MW: I was definitely into more classic rock. Obviously I was in to Bruce Springsteen, since I was born in Jersey. It’s kind of what happens when you’re from there. I really loved Zeppelin and the Stones. I really got into Tom Petty and into the 70s and 80s kind of record making. Really got into at one point, Amy Lou Harris. I never got into the whole Poison, kind of 80’s thing though…but I did like Guns N Roses…who doesn’t right?

PEV: Tell us about the first ever live matt White performance?

MW: Um…I really don’t remember…As far as the first time I really had to play as a musician and a performer and not a piano player, it was definitely very intimidating and I remember being sickly nervous. I kept thinking to myself constantly, that if I have to do this every night of my life I don’t know how I am going to survive. But then it became easy and you kind of thrive on it. Every night I’m not performing it drives me crazy. The first time sitting down and playing piano and singing guitar you have to remember not to be too close to the microphone and then the guitar hits the mic stand…there are so many things you don’t think of . It’s like being a professional athlete by nature it just takes practice.

PEV: “Best Days” it getting rave reviews and you are already being the called the American James Blunt. What can people expect from “Best Days”?

MW: I wrote it when I was in college. A lot of the themes are like…I mean, no one ever really grows up…everyone is still the same. The theme of Best Days is about being young and doing things you can’t do when you have responsibility. There are songs addressing things like young relationships and infidelity to being spontaneous and being young and in love. It is definitely a romantic album I definitely don’t feel like an angry punk band (laughs). Best Days is definitely about love and relationships. Being in love is the most important process and drives what you want to be.

PEV: You mention that a lot of the album is about relationships. I’ve read that a lot of the ex-girlfriends want to claims there name to the songs-

MW: Yeah, it drives me crazy, they all think they are about them! One girl will say this or that…Some of them are about certain instances some are based around certain things but there are certainly parts that are true.

PEV: With the album coming out and with the song on the “Shrek the Third” soundtrack, what has been the last year like for you?

MW: The last year has been amazing! I love being on tour. Love to just kind of meet people and sometime I talk too much…or that’s what people tell me (laughs). I love to perform and that is what I’m looking forward to with the album. I just want to hit the road and perform over and over and not stop. When you are musician, it is like getting a hamburger every night, you just love to do it and look forward to it all day.

PEV: What do you like to do when you get a time to relax and chill out?

MW: I don’t know…Playing piano… and guitar I guess. It’s difficult to relax since I find myself at inopportune times having melodies come to me and I have to get them out. I think when you are a musician as your profession it is kind of your life.

PEV: What is your creative process like?

MW: Definitely always jotting notes down, jotting themes down, and melodies are always popping into my head. I have a tape recorder I bring around with me.

PEV: Is there up and coming band right now that you think we should be paying attention to?

MW: Someone up and coming that you should be listening to? Oh, there are so many great ones. There’s a band The Last Goodnight, I just did a show with those guys. Rooney, is a band on Geffen that just did their second record. John McLaughlin…Those are the ones off the top of my head.

PEV: Has there been someone that you have not gotten a chance to collaborate with that you would like to?

MW: Definitely Bruce Springsteen of course. A lot of his music has shaped the way I write. Plus being from Jersey…but even if I wasn’t I think he is just great.

PEV: You talk about the last year being so crazy for you, how has your friends and family reacted to your success?

MW: They’re very excited! It is a very, very, very exciting process and time. And I just want to live each day like it’s the last and perform each day. Of course I have to rest. But it’s what I love to do.

PEV: What can people expect from a live Matt White show? MW: Lots of fun, lots of intensity and musicality. Talk between songs too. Just a great bunch of people that come out and perceptive to music.

PEV: What is the best and worst part of playing live?

MW: Everything! There is not bad part about playing live. I get to play with my band. I don’t think there is any bad part about playing live. I don’t understand how people don’t…I mean, if I take a two week break I start going crazy. Even when I’m off, I’ll just take my guitar down to Sidewalk CafŽ or Bitter End and just play.

PEV: What is the best part about the New York music scene?

MW: It’s everything there. There are so many remnants of so many eras all around. New York is definitely a melting pot and definitely a fun place to live and see.

PEV: All of your touring what has been your favorite place to play and what offers the best appreciation for music?

MW: I love Nashville. I love Nashville because in Nashville there are so many unique musicians who play like petal steel and lap steel guitar… It’s just a great environment and great players.

PEV: When you sit down to write, what kind of environment do you surround yourself in?

MW: Any environment. Sometimes I’ll be in an airport and something will pop into my head. And I’ll get out my guitar like a street busker and just play what is in my head.

PEV: What’s one thing that we would be surprised to hear about Matt White?

MW: I like to cook. I’m not that good at it. Not many people like it but I do (Laughs).

PEV: How is life on the road been for you?

MW: Great! I love hotels. I think you are either built for it or not and I always was.

PEV: So, what is next for Matt White?

MW: Next for Matt White is touring as much as I can for the album. Then going and making another one.

For more information on Matt White and Best Days, check out http://www.MattWhiteMusic.com 

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