An Interview With Singer-Songwriter CONOR MATTHEWS On His Newest Music, Signing With Warner Records, Losing busbee and More
Singer-songwriter Conor Matthews recently released another luscious pop/R&B hybrid with “Midnight Flight” – showcasing his R&B-influenced vocal stylings, heartfelt lyrics, and well-honed pop sensibilities. Listen HERE.
Earlier this fall, Conor shared an acoustic video for his track “Too Late,” the latest in his #ConorGotUCovered series that has featured Conor’s takes on Bryce Vine, Bonnie Raitt, Michael Jackson, Lewis Capaldi and more – paying homage to some of his varied influences. Check them out here.
Conor Matthews has never shied away from an unconventional approach. Though raised on a heavy dose of country and rock – and at one point well on his way to a successful country songwriting career in Nashville – that all changed when Conor discovered a newfound passion for pop/R&B… He deep-dove into the catalogues of Timberlake, Brown, Bruno Mars, Usher; he began intensive vocal training to connect more deeply with the style; and, he took up dance lessons, practicing eight hours a day for a year. And with the help of a tightknit, LA-based songwriting and production crew, Conor has shaped his upcoming Warner Records releases. Natural gifts and a tireless work ethic underlie the music’s rich textures, and when you add drop-dead good looks to the equation, it’s clear that Conor Matthews is ready for the stadiums he aspires to.
Learn more about Conor Matthews in the following All Access interview-
What does a typical day look like for you? What do you have scheduled the rest of today and this week?
-Wake up, workout, answer emails over breakfast, hit the studio to cook up some bangers, practice dance/voice, give the best manager in the world, Dylan Matthews a heart attack, have a few cocktails, pray, go to bed IN THAT ORDER.
Now that we are in the latter half of the year, how has 2019 treated you? What are some goals that you have had for yourself this year? How close are you to reaching them or did you already? What are you already excited about for this fall and even looking towards 2020?
-2019 has been crazy in so many ways. I’ve had my heart broken, I wrote an album with my best friends, signed a record deal, met like 50 new friends, traveled a lot between Nashville, LA, Florida, and Chicago for writing and recording, and spent a short time in Italy.
This year my main goal was to finish a cohesive body of work I was truly proud of. Took us about 8 months but we did it. I wanted to start up dance again which I did, see some more nightlife and meet new people since I’m usually holed up in the studio, and now my next goal is to write the next round of music before the year’s over.
I’m so excited to be releasing music with Warner Records and Altadena, and I’m probably most excited about one day soon hearing a song of mine on the radio. That’s been a goal and dream of mine since I was old enough to understand what radio is.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be in this industry? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
I started my first band at 9 years old actually, so I’d say music was one of the most important things to me always. I decided when I was 13, after I wrote my first song for a girlfriend at the time, that I would write songs for a living and I’ve practiced every day since…I’ve never looked back. Easiest choice of my life. I didn’t realize how reckless it was until about 3 years into doing it professionally. Still wouldn’t have it any other way.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all? What has been the best part about it all?
How long it takes to not suck haha. Every day you’re creating is a new challenge, and I love that.
Let’s talk about your single “Too Late.” What was the inspiration for this track?
An ex I hadn’t spoken to in a while, I flew into her city and started wondering what she was up to. I had the title for a while and then that idea popped into my head and I wrote it right at that moment.
Typically, how do you go about writing your songs? Do you follow one process for them all?
Every song is different for me. Sometimes I’ll have a concept, other times I’ll freestyle until something clicks, but almost every time the song is just a story I’ve lived in my own life.
When do you plan on releasing more new music and a full collection of new songs?
October 18th was the latest single, then we’re doing some Christmas stuff, and then dropping an EP next year!!
What does it mean to you to be the first artist to sign with Altadena through Warner Records? (How has losing busbee just a few days impacted the company? What did his seal of approval mean exactly to you? What do you think you learned from him?) Why do you think this and Warner Records are the right places for you and your music today?
It means so much. busbee was one of music’s greatest writers/producers and an even better person. What I admired even more than his talent was his heart and faith; his friendship and belief in me changed my life. In addition to the personal affect he had on me, he challenged my writing in ways no one had, he always did it with love and even when it was frustrating for me it always made me better. Even when he was sick and in pain, he was always encouraging me and looking out for me. I’m grateful to be part of the team he started and I’m going to do everything I can to make him proud. Losing a friend and mentor like busbee has been really hard.
Warner Records is the best. The people there make it one of a kind, and it’s a culture that’s almost impossible to find anywhere else. I’ve got the most incredible team and I’m excited to see what we are going to accomplish together. I’ve made some great friends over there in such a short amount of time.
Also I’ve said this before, but I admire Aaron Bay-Shuck for the way he leads the company. He is truly music first. He and busbee heard the songs I had created and believed in those, not streaming numbers.
How do you feel about social media? What do you think social media has done for your career so far?
I’ve never been great at social media. In high school I almost never used it and most of my life I’ve taken a writing first approach. That’s why I’m so grateful Warner/Altadena has come alongside me to help out. I’ve got a great team that’s getting me going now….shout out T, Steph, Jen, and Ramsey
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake, Usher, Bryson Tiller, Jhené Aiko, Kehlani, Tank, Brooks and Dunne, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney and a host of Nashville Songwriters. Gotta work with Breezy, Usher, and JT
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
I’ve always wanted to have some crazy CGI stuff and make like an entire story on an album from start to finish. I would be a super hero in some with save the world type stuff. Probably start the video on a yacht in the Amalfi coast battling the mafia or something, then meet a girl in italy and try and settle down. Then something crazy happens in New York and we have to fly there to see what’s up and the whole city is in shambles…would have to put some more thought into it but superhero James Bond vibes would be insane, with plenty of dancing of course.
Where would you love to hear a song of yours played?
On the radio at a random restaurant in the midwest…that’s how you know you made it.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
I hope they can picture the stories, and I hope they hear something that takes them to a specific memory in life.