Hit Songwriter Series: Jason Matthews
Whether you're getting coffee, shopping at the grocery store, or casually taking a walk, the chances of running into a musician or hit songwriter here in Nashville is highly possible! For instance, I've met Hailey Williams while taking a hike, Maren Morris in 12 South, and even Brenda Lee at a local hardware store haha! But there is a different breed of musician I see every day at some point...THE infamous songwriters. I can't tell you how much I love running into people who have written some of my favorite tunes. What's even cooler, is over the years I've had the chance of writing with a few of them here and there and it NEVER GET'S OLD. Hearing their stories and experiences in this music driven town is really quite fascinating, and sometimes even a little surprising. With that said, since a large amount of the people who follow my blog are also in the music industry, I thought it would be extremely helpful and informative to hear the opinions of someone who has "made it". This will be a three-part series on my blog where I will be asking questions to three renown hit-songwriters, in hopes we will receive answers we've all been seeking. Cause OHHH I get by with a little help from my friends... in the words of Joe Cocker, we all need a little help from our friends now and then, so that's why I'm so blessed these amazing songwriters are willing to lend their time and do just that! HERE WE GO.
Never in my imagination did I ever think I would meet the man behind some of Country music's most popular and historical songs. I can remember just like it was yesterday in Florida singing along with my friends on our way to church, Luke Bryan's "Country Man" and "Muckalee Creek Water"!!! Little did I know, I would not only meet the man who wrote these tunes, but I would also be writing and performing with him several years later. CRAZY. I was thrilled when He said yes to this interview! He is truly a hilarious and extremely smart individual, and I am so honored to know him and his lovely wife, Debbie. Without further ado, here was our conversation (:
CB : When did your passion for music start?
JM : I started carrying a notebook around with me in third grade and I would write poetry and short stories in it. When I picked up the guitar at 15, it just seemed natural to me to try to write a song!
CB : When did you get your first publishing deal?
JM : I moved to Nashville in 95. I got my first publishing deal with Hamstein around 97, 98!
CB : What was it like when you got your first major cut?
JM : My first cut to actually make it to the record also became my first single. It was "That's Just Jessie" by Kevin Denny on Lyric Sheet Records! I had no idea how beloved that song would come to be. It gave me so much credibility as a writer and opened so many doors. My life would look quite different without that song.
CB : What's one of the coolest moments you've had being in the music industry?
JM : I don't know that there's any one "coolest" moment. I think it's incredibly cool getting to write with my songwriting heroes that I've looked up to my whole life. Don Schiltz, Paul Overstreet, Rory Bourke, Kerry Kurt Phillips. But it was pretty cool being honored at the Music Row Magazine Awards with "Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year"! Robert K. Oermann, the legendary music critic, gave me an incredible introduction that went through all my past singles before he presented me with the award. It was incredibly validating to have someone of that caliber talk about my work in those terms! One of the best days of my life.
CB : The music industry looks very different now then it did when you first entered into it. What is your outlook on its current place and the advice you'd give to an aspiring musician trying to make it in today's modern music industry?
JM : The music business is in a constant state of flux now. Music distribution is trending more towards streaming and streaming royalties are very low! The money is getting smaller because we are getting robbed by Pandora, Spotify, and Youtube. I believe these are great technologies but they are blatantly and intentionally stealing from the creative community. And the government supports them. They are favoring technology over intellectual property rights. This is the world we live in now... My advice to the younger songwriter would be this : become as self-contained as possible. You need to be a jack of all trades to survive today. Be able to sing at least enough to get your song across! Learn how to record. You can pick up Logic for 200 $. Every Mac comes with Garage Band. Use it! The means of music production have never been more accessible. The artist, Owl City, made his entire first record in his bedroom. That being said, I would also say, get an education. They can take the music business away, but they can't take the education away.
Jason is a walking example in regards to anything he teaches. He attended college, and even taught school for a while... but he quickly realized he wanted to write songs for his career, rather then teach in a classroom at that point in his life. Jason is humble, charismatic, and builds up his fellow peers with encouragement and love. He has always made me feel equal, even though he has written some of Country Music's biggest songs. Some of them you may be a little familiar with (;
“Must Be Doin' Something Right” - Billy Currington
"Break Down Here" - Trace Adkins
"The Life of a Song" - Joey & Rory
"That thing We Do" - Blake Shelton
"Lonely Eyes" - Chris Young
"My Truck" - Gretchen Wilson
"When the Sun Shines too" - Garth Brooks
"Life Happened" - Tammy Cochran
These are just a few from his Discography y'all!!! One things for sure, Jason Matthews knows the formula to write an incredible song. It's truly inspiring to see a human who already has succeeded in terms of his reputation for being a heavy hitter in Nashville's songwriting community, but for him to continue to keep up and write hit after hit, is even more amazing to me. I believe that Jason one day will go down in the Nashville songwriting hall of fame and I will be blessed enough to say I wrote with the living legend. I pray nothing but success and happiness to his career and all his future endeavors. I know He credits the Lord to many of his successes, so if you're wondering if this all was merely by chance or a surprise, you'd be wrong. I believe the Lord has raised up Jason and continues to do so because of his gracious heart towards God and others. Jason, you inspire me. Thank you for being you !!!
For more information of Jason, click here!