Singer/songwriter/actor Matt Gold calculates that if something is worth doing, it’s worth giving it all that you’ve got. That winning attitude is what carried him to victory in the recent Music Beats Cancer challenge to raise money for cancer research. In addition to joining the other artists in performing at our live event recently at the Microsoft store in the Westchester Mall, by raising the most money Matt won the special bonus prize of a meeting with Republic Records. Here, Matt gives us some insights into his journey as an artist, his goals for the future and lots more.
SA: What attracted you to the organization?
MG: I first heard about it through my Reverb Nation page, a platform that provides opportunities for artists. I submitted my application and was accepted to participate in the contest. I also had a friend die from cancer so I felt it was just a good way to do some good in her memory for the people who are suffering.
SA: Can you trace for me your development as a singer/songwriter?
MG:I started playing piano at the age of eight. I took lessons but I quit because I didn’t like the discipline that was required. I think it is because I am more of an improv person, I wanted to do things my way. I didn’t want to adhere to rules. It is a blessing and a curse because I look back now and wish I had a little more knowledge about music theory or more classical training. Nonetheless, I have always enjoyed singing and I started playing in a church, then started recording my own material when I was 16 and things just evolved from there.
SA: What motivates you from day to day?
MG: Well, this is my full time job so I guess you might say that paying the bills is what motivates me. Every day is writing, practicing, making telephone calls, exploring new opportunities. I am also looking for other acting opportunities. I was in a film recently that is going to film festivals right now. I also do photography. So overall, I guess I’m just kind of artsy.
SA: And with all those talents going for you, I assume you have no trouble paying the bills?
MG: No, not at the moment at least!
SA: Do you perform at any local places where folks could see you?
MG: I did for a while when I first moved here last year, but since then I’ve mainly been concentrating on writing and recording new music. I think that is what is going to help me get more bookings.
SA: How would you characterize your style of music?
MG: I would have to say that while I consider it unique in many respects, I guess it would fall under the heading of pop indie. My older music, which is on my first two albums, I suppose is more adult contemporary. But as an artist, if you plan to be in this over the long-term, you have to evolve. If you are not, then you are not doing your job I feel. So the songs change as I change. I am with a new producer, Corey Zack, and my sound is now changing, definitely more pop than before. But I’m always trying new things as an artist. I don’t want people to think I only do emotional ballads. I’m pretty eclectic musically. I can do ballads, but I can also do jazz standards.
SA: Do you prefer a particular instrument when songwriting?
MG: I’m a singer-songwriter so everything is piano-based, although I do like the more electronic elements, so I’m trying to incorporate that more into my music.
SA: Have you been influenced by any particular artists?
MG: When I started out, it would have been Tori Amos, the classically trained singer, songwriter and composer. She influenced me a lot and opened me up to things I had not tried before. I like contemporary groups like Alabama Shakes, as well as old school alternative bands like Depeche Mode and The Cure.
SA: How do you feel about today’s music?
MG: I think a lot of today’s music sounds the same. I guess I like music that is more raw and real and a lot of today’s artists depend on auto tuning and a manufactured, formulaic format. That’s not my style.
SA: Is there a message or theme that runs through your music?
MG: For me, thematically, it’s about the underdog winning, life beating you down and rising above it. Whether it is your career, love life, family relationships. My life, like a lot of people’s, has not been without obstacles but I think everyone has an inner strength that pushes them to keep going. Especially being in the music business. It’s a constant uphill battle. There are times that I want to quit, but I never will. There is no plan B for me. I know it is going to happen for me. I can’t say when, but I know I am going to make it.
SA: In your estimation, what makes music such a universally potent tool in terms of both the mental and physical processes of healing?
MG: I think it’s the whole idea of being able to relate to another human being. You can listen to song lyrics, for instance, and it’s comforting to know that someone else has gone through the same thing that you might be going through. That’s always been how it has worked for me. I’m down, he’s down, I got my heart broken, he’s had his heart broken, I had a crappy day, he’s had a crappy day. It’s the ability to relate to other people, even if you don’t know them.
SA: Well said, Matt. Thanks for your time.
MG: My pleasure.
To learn more about Matt Gold, visit his Music Beats Cancer profile here: