J Matthew talks sentimental songs and creating in the great outdoors
Photo credit: Hyghly & Arthur
Hailing from Toronto, J Matthew is well versed in the art of romantically-charged sonic goodness. Armed with a distinct lyrical depth, if he were to put ‘Alchemist’ at the top of his resumé, nobody could question it. Following the growth of a superbly varied catalogue with releases like ‘A House Is Not A Home’ reaching over 200k streams, the unique talent has recently returned with his latest romantic offering ‘Best Friend’.
J Matthew sat down with No Lip Service following the release of his latest single, speaking on his creative process, places from which he draws inspiration and how he defines success. Giving us a much anticipated insight into his headspace, join us for a chat with the Toronto talent.
Hey J Matthew, how are you doing?
Great, Thank You!
Your latest release ‘Best Friends’ has just dropped for all the romantics, would you tell us a little bit about how you created it?
While working with one of my producers “Gheeski”, the instrumental spoke out to me as something sentimental and romantic. I wanted to make a song that could connect to people in relationships. To me, it is important to see your partner as your best friend, someone you can be open with, and and talk to about anything.
Your background is definitely an interesting one, you’re very in tune with the inequalities of today and your desire to make a difference is inspiring. What was it that initially made you make the bold move into the spotlight?
I always felt that music has the power to captivate people a different way than a normal conversation about something. In music, you can find a unique way to talk about an issue or create a catch phrase. I’m a big fan of Bob Marley, and while listening to his music, he has influenced me to try and take a similar approach to social injustice when creating music. I do not want every song to be about a social issue, but I plan to have some that relate to social inequalities of today.
Now we’ve got a few fun quick-fire questions for you, are you ready?
Yes, let's get it!
As you champion your Toronto roots, do you find your background influences your output in any unexpected ways?
Toronto is a unique and very diverse place. There are a lot of cultures here to learn about and embrace, and so being in a city with so much culture and a diverse set of people definitely has some influence on my output. I want my music to be diverse and not always sound the same as my last song.
What is your favourite time of day to create?
My favourite time to create music is at night. I find the daytime rush can make it challenging to create. In the evening, I notice my mind is more calm and relaxed.
Where do you seek inspiration?
My life experiences inspire me to create music that people can relate to. I also enjoy being in natural environments like a forest, or by a lake. These places allow me to have a clear mind to create music.
What’s the most weird and wonderful thing about your creative process?
I often try and come up with concepts while I’m driving. If i have a instrumental that I’m writing to, sometimes I will play it on repeat as I think of a melody and lyrics.
If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I always wanted to perform at the Rogers centre in Toronto. It is the biggest venue we have available and I think it would be something special to sell out the show in your hometown.
If you had to sacrifice one skill, which would you least like to let go, and why?
I would least like to let go of my vocal skills. Vocal training requires commitment and persistence. It takes a while for an artist to develop their voice, and as they continue to practice they gain a better control of your voice. Vocal training is important to me because it allows you to become a better singer and have a better sound.
How do you define success as an artist?
To me, success as an artist means being consistent and working hard to make your music improve. When an artist is recognised for their music, and their music is remembered for a lifetime is what to me, makes an artist successful.
How do you see your sound evolving in the next couple of days years?
I constantly see my songwriting and melodies improving. When working on new music, I always try to find ways to improve. I also am planning on working on more collaborations with other artists to create music that I wouldn’t necessarily come up with by myself. I think collabs help with an artists creativity and getting new inspirations.
'Best Friends' is out on streaming platforms now. Check it out below: