Nashville by way of Kansas singer-songwriter Matt Gary has been in Music City for almost a decade dedicating himself to mastering his craft and now is seeing his career reach new heights with his latest single, “Back." Fusing contemporary country sounds with emotional storytelling, "Back" tells of a man's desire to win back an old flame whom he still longs for. In the midst of a radio tour, Gary took the time to speak about his roots, the single and its accompanying lyric video, and more.
You grew up playing soccer, but turned to music when an elementary teacher saw something special in you.
I grew up in Kansas, playing competitive soccer and traveling all over, including Europe, which was awesome. In elementary school, I had a teacher who asked my parents who in the family was musical and my mom was like ‘What are you talking about?’ The teacher said I had a good voice and that’s how it all started. I sang in school and at church, then I started writing songs, playing guitar and piano, and taking voice lessons.....and next thing I know, I wanted to be a country artist.
Why did you gravitate to country music? Was it something you were exposed to early on?
Yeah, it was. I love country music – there’s something about the authenticity of the stories. My mom loves Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, and Martina McBride and whenever I was driving around with her, she had them playing in the car. As I got older I started finding the music I was personally interested in. I remember the first album that really sucked me in was Tracy Lawrence’s Time Marches On, which I listened to on repeat.
When did you finally make the move to Nashville to pursue a music career?
I wanted to move to Nashville right out of high school, but my parents, although they believed in me, wanted me to get a college education. So I went to the University of Tampa and earned two degrees, one in Computer Information Systems and the other in Digital Arts with a concentration in Animation. I thought I would maybe go to California and work for ESPN or Pixar, but the passion for music never went away. When I was in school I would fly to Nashville to write, meet people and do anything I could to learn. On one trip, a producer happened to be in the studio, he pulled me out of the sound booth and said he was going away for a month, but when he came back he wanted to work with me and gave me that month to think about it. I didn’t need a month to give him my answer because all I needed was one reason to move to Nashville - and so I did and a month later.
It's funny, I remember back and I was so green at the time. I thought I made it and that soon I would be opening for Kenny Chesney or Keith Urban. I didn’t understand how tough it would be, but fast forward nine years later and now I am getting my first real shot. It’s like the saying goes, it takes ten years to become an overnight success.
That saying seems to ring true for a lot of people.
Recently you released your new single, “Back,” which currently can be heard on thirty-nine stations across the country. What drew you to record the song?
We had just finished a writing session and Aaron [Scherz] said he wanted me to listen to a song because he thought I’d do a killer job with it. The second he played it I was hooked. The story drew me in and the hook was something I hadn’t really heard before. When we got into the studio, we set the song, which is a traditional country song about a guy struggling in a relationship, to this cool, up-tempo groove that makes you feel good.
It definitely does. The lyric video for the song, which, features background scenes of a hotel room with sweeping views of a city, interspersed with haunting images of a beautiful woman, was recently released. How involved were you in developing the treatment?
Nick Palladino [33 Creates] and I came up with the idea for the video, which was shot in Nashville. The video was shot from the first-person perspective and the entire thing is one continuous shot – we didn’t stop or slice anything together. After I watched the video playback, I felt like it needed something else, and that’s when we added the woman in the apartment to have it appear as if she was haunting him. It’s a lot different than the other lyric videos out there, but the cool thing is that it sets you up for the full video which we will start shooting in Nashville in about three weeks.
Something to look forward to! Will “Back” itself be on your upcoming EP?
“Back” is the lead-off single for the EP which should be coming out in the beginning of Summer. Then in the Fall, we’ll put out a full album which will contain the EP as well as another five or six new songs.
Currently, you are out on a radio tour in support of the song. How has that been going?
We started the radio tour on November 1st and we have about three or four weeks left…and it’s going great! I’ve never been on a full blown radio tour, but over the years I have gotten to know a lot of Program Directors and on-air personalities, so it’s been nice to see them and introduce them to new music. The song has been getting a good response, which is always a good feeling.
And what about touring? What’s ahead for you?
We’ll be doing fairs, festivals, and radio shows in the Summer and hopefully, if the song does well enough we’ll hop on a tour in the Fall.
Closing out on a lighter note, can you share your latest guilty pleasure song?
It’s not a country song, but Ed Sheeran’s “Castle On The Hill.” The first time I heard it I thought that it could be a country song - maybe I’ll work up an acoustic version of that one!
For more information visit his official website
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Purchase "Back" HERE