For our 29th Clapper Sounds Interview, we’re highlighting country musician Matt Gardner!
Matt (@MattGardnerMusic on Clapper) is a Pennsylvania-based, Florida raised musician. Matt’s main genre is country, but a lot of his influences are hip-hop and rap. Even though we can hear it in his music, his Tupac shirt was another good clue! We sat down with Matt to talk about his thoughts on content creation as an artist, what instrument he would be, his advice for new artists, and more!
Clapper Sounds is meant to be an intimate musical experience, and we want that mission to translate into our written interviews too. Listen to her music as you read to get to know Matt Gardner and his unique sound.
Let’s start from the beginning. What is your first memory of being involved with music? How did you start your artist journey?
Back when I was a young kid, my stepfather was in a band. We were always going to see them play, and I wanted to get into it. I got my first guitar when I was eighteen or nineteen and just played around a little bit. I played along with songs and stuff, but I never really played in front of people. Then about, five years ago, me and my younger brother decided to start an acoustic band. We played all over at the bars, we were booked every weekend for the whole year. And then COVID hit so it stopped. Then, back in March, I started writing my own music and doing my own songs. I joined Clapper in April, and I met a group of guys on here. We formed an actual group called Bros and we’re working on an EP called Undivided Attention.
Has your style of music changed? Or have you always preferred the genre(s) you currently work in?
My first couple songs I wrote are more country – I’ve always been into country. Hip hop, I’ve been listening to it for a long time. One day I decided to try a country hip hop beat and people went crazy for it. So I was like, “All right, I’m gonna keep doing it!”. It’s a song called Highway and then I did Back Road Riding and that’s up to 9,000 views on YouTube alone.
As far as inspirations, I love The Lacs, Charlie Farley, Jelly Roll obviously. I also listen to a lot of Post Malone, T-Pain even The Weeknd. I get a mix from all of them.
What are your thoughts on content creation as an artist? How do you feel about artists having to balance their social media presence and still be committed to their art?
I’m getting used to it now, because I didn’t really promote myself too much. I was always worried about what people thought on my own Facebook. On Clapper. I didn’t really know anybody, so it was pretty easy to put myself out there. But other apps I was kind of hesitant, but then I was like, “I love it. I don’t care if they don’t love it, I’m putting it on there.” It was actually getting pretty good feedback! I’m building up but it takes time. Some people, they’ll put a video up, it’ll go viral, and they go crazy. But you can’t expect that every time. It takes months before it’s really noticed and goes viral. They could have put it up a year ago and then finally the right person sees and shares it. You can’t dwell on a song, you can’t quit because of one song, one video. You’ve got to keep pushing because the more you make, the better you get. Eventually it’s going to pay off.
If you were an instrument/band/song/album, what would you be and why?
I would definitely be a guitar. I play guitar all the time! If you can’t hit a note with your voice, you can definitely hit it with a guitar. Guitars have such a range and I love that. And it’s very popular. I just think a guitar would be pretty sweet, but then a song would be pretty cool, too. Because I feel like I could be a song. I don’t know about any particular song, but a song reads people’s hearts and reaches people’s souls so fast. You could listen to a song one time and be addicted to it. I feel like that’d be perfect to be a song.
What are you most proud of to date? And, what keeps you making music?
Every song that I make just gets better and better, and it makes me want to make another one right after. I’m most proud of She Don’t Love Me, which is my latest song. Because, it is one of those songs that when you hear it, it touches you. It’s a breakup song and everybody can vibe with that! I just had a comment today on a video that said, “I just had to hug my husband two more times because I would never want him to go through that.” It’s pretty neat. I like getting people’s reactions: I have stuff that makes you get up and want to dance, stuff that’s slow, I have fun doing it all.
Deciding to be an artist can have its ups and downs. What advice would you give to that young artist who is just learning to play guitar, or starting singing lessons and whose dream is to be a musician?
My advice would be don’t give up. Especially on guitar, because guitar is really hard and everybody hits a point where they want to give up. It’s always one chord that they can’t get, so they put it down and never touch it again. As far as music, make sure you like it before you put it out. If you aren’t happy with it, nobody else is gonna be happy with it. So you gotta put in the time so that when people hear it, they love it, and they’ll keep listening to it. I was worried when I first started writing because my music is different from everybody else. I have a unique voice and a unique style, and I was worried that people wouldn’t like it. But I was surprised by the people saying they loved my music and my voice. I got all this feedback and it was great and everything and it kind of gave me a kick in the rear to just keep doing it harder and harder and more and more and putting so much time into it.
Make sure to check our recorded live session on our account Clapper Sounds and in our reels on Instagram. Enjoy the Clapper Sounds Live Session with Matt Gardner!