Songwriter Spotlight: Matt Long
"Emotional songs can be my favorite ones, but you can't stay there all the time. You need to know your audience," Matt Long
Born and raised in California, Matt Long decided to make the move to Tennessee to pursue a career in the music industry. Matt Long is a very educated musician, having degrees in both music and teaching/education. With jobs such as directing and teaching music and leading worship, Matt has been adding to his resume. Most of the time, musicians and songwriters will have side hustles to help them be able to pursue their dream of making it in the music business. Matt Long sat down with and talked about how being a songwriter in Music City is all about the long haul. Some artists expect to come into town and be discovered the next day by a record label at a songwriter round. That is simply not the case anymore.
Matt Long, however, has been making genuine connections with people in the industry. While some people just like to hand out demos and ask for favors, Long is invested in other songwriters and their careers. He understands that some people just want to have a conversation without someone asking him to listen to a song of theirs.
When COVID hit while he was in California, Matt Long had a few obligations and jobs he had to finish, but other than that, nothing else was keeping him in San Diego. He said, "Nashville was tugging on my heartstrings." In just a short eleven months, Matt Long has played over 250 shows, including rounds, private gigs, and playing on Broadway. He has also done over 50 co-writes in this town. It's all about finding the right connections. Anything that isn't a writer's round he mentioned was usually decent pay. Sometimes, Broadway is where most musicians make their money in Nashville. Tourism does help the music industry in Music City, but if you're not walking around with a tipping bucket, funds can be limited.
As the main songwriter behind his music, Matt also does his management, marketing, and social media. Being an independent artist can be satisfying with all of the costs you save. In my professional opinion, you only need to pay someone like a manager when you cannot keep track of anything in your schedule because it is so overwhelming. Matt Long is also quick on his feet. When his CDs never arrived for his EP release party, he made business cards with QR codes for people to access the album early instead of receiving that physical copy at the party.
Another thing I liked about Matt Long's story was that he always puts people first, and that's hard to come by in a competitive industry like music. "The hard part of this town is that there's a business and hustle side of things and people forget about the caring and the friendships. You're a person first, musician second. You matter more than the show you’re playing," Matt Long. Matt Long looks at songwriting differently. He considers the lyrics of a song to be the "sprinkles." We talked about how when Chris Stapleton sings a song, you listen, no matter what the lyrics are. It's how he sings it and how raw the experience is. Matt also brought up different elements of blues music and how simple the lyrics usually are. It is all about the music.
MATT LONG, "TALK OF THE TOWN EP":
This album is a great, organic piece of art. "Til the Day I Die," is my favorite song off of the EP. It has great musical elements such as harmonies and great guitar lines. It's simple and can be considered as easy listening. Matt Long mentioned that "Til the Day I Die" was his first professional songwriting experience. He had this song recorded and mastered back in California in a home studio. The guitar alone is beautifully done. "You will be on my mind till the day I die."
I can hear some classical influence in Matt Long's music as well, and that's because he studied classical music in college. I think bringing back certain elements into music that have been presumed "dead," is genius. Matt Long breathes new life into his style of music. Matt's EP is very Civil Wars. You will love this EP if you love bands like The Head and the Heart and The Secret Sisters.
LINK TREE FOR MATT LONG: