Matt Carrie is a Philly native who recently graduated from the University of Richmond and then made his way to Los Angeles. Matt planned to pursue a career as an actor, but soon realized that music was his calling. With an EP coming out in 2016, Talk Nerdy With Us had a chance to catch up with this talented singer-songwriter and hear a little bit about how he got here, what inspires his music, and what we can expect from him in the near future. [LA folks, be sure to check out the dates below of Matt’s upcoming shows!] Read on to hear what Matt had to say and for a sneak peek at his upcoming EP.
You graduated from the University of Richmond in 2014. What have you been up to since then?
I was a finance major there, but I acted when I was younger and I was always planning on getting back into it after I finished school. So I moved out to LA a little bit later in the summer after I graduated to pursue a career in acting and things were going really well, I had a manager and I was with a good agency, going on a lot of auditions. But I got a guitar and started doing a covers like John Mayer and Jack Johnson and really fell in love with playing and singing. And my next door neighbor, a guy named Zach Urband, he’s the president and co-foudner of the publishing company I signed with, and he heard me playing and he said “You should really write your own songs,” so I sat down and started writing some songs and kinda went from there. He helped organize the recording of the EP and now we’re adding three more songs to it and doing a release in February. So it’s all really exciting.
So he recommended that you write your own songs. What is that process like for you?
I definitely find it really difficult to just sit down and write a song, but if I’m feeling a strong emotion, positive or negative, and I’m inspired then I’ll start messing around with different chords until I find a chord progression that I like and then I’ll whistle out a melody and then just sorta start sounding out lyrics and then from there I decide what I want the song to be about and then go through a couple of drafts and write the lyrics.
Do you ever collaborate with anybody or you write all your own stuff?
I collaborated a little bit with this guy Taylor Crowell, this really talented musician, he helped produce the EP and I collaborated with him on the instrumentals because I just taught myself guitar, I’m not too good at it yet, so he helped come up with a lot of the other instruments that were in it and that kind of thing. I’ve been working with two other great producers to add these three songs, it’s really great to see how the pros do it. I’m definitely learning a lot.
What life experiences provide you with the best inspiration?
At the time I was writing I had just had my first serious relationship and then we broke up so I was kinda heartbroken over that so that was definitely the inspiration for those songs. And then I’ve written a few more songs, I’m trying to branch out, I’ve written stuff about moving out west, missing home, stuff like that.
Is there a theme to the EP? Are most of the songs about that relationship?
Most of the songs are, but now some of the songs we’re adding are a little more upbeat and about different things. I didn’t want every song to be about that.
So the EP is now going to be 7 songs?
Yeah it will. And there will be a bonus single released before that.
You mentioned doing covers of John Mayer and Jack Johnson. Is your own music reminiscent of either of their styles?
I think yeah. Definitely John Mayer’s style. I also love Coldplay a lot and Deathcab for Cuite and I really love the old stuff, you know, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, The Beatles. I’m also exploring a lot of different genres right now like writing top lines for EDM and hooks for rap songs and trying out new stuff and trying to find where I fit.
Have you found anything that you’ve loved that’s kind of surprised you?
Yeah. I’m starting to do the top line stuff for EDM which is where DJs will send you a beat and you have to write lyrics and a melody and record over it and it’s kind of cool to write over someone else’s ideas of the instrumentals instead of your idea..
Are you totally taking a break now from acting or are you still doing some while you’re out in LA?
No. I tried to do both at first and then quickly realized how much work it takes to get a music career off the ground. So I put the acting on pause for now, but it’s definitely something I’m hoping to get back into in the future, but I’m just focusing on the music now.
Do you have any plans for shows on the road?
I’m going to be heading home for the holidays and I’m working on getting something set up there [in Philadelphia]. I used to live in Manhattan and would love to play there and I have some friends in Chicago who do concert promoting so I’m hoping to get there as well. Ideally, I’d love to be touring starting in April.
Where online can we listen to your music?
I have some live videos. I’ve been playing a lot since I came out to LA, and I’m always posting stuff on my Facebook artist page and on Instagram. I’m also playing Room 5 on January 6th and the main stage at the Viper Room on January 27th.
Check out Matt’s song “Clouds” from his upcoming EP.