A few months ago, one of my friends from high school was talking to me about Justin Timberlake and all of his business ventures. While we were talking, I decided to look up his record label Tennman Records. At that time, I discovered an artist with a talent that I can’t get enough of. An artist with a vastly different music style than I had expected from Timberlake’s label.
That artist is Matt Morris.
Matt was a Mickey Mouse Club star along with Timberlake (and Christina Aguilera, JC Chasez and Britney Spears). While his MMC peers went on to become pop sensations, Matt went home to a more normal life. He didn’t give up his music though and over time he worked with some famous pop stars on their albums, writing for Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson and Timberlake himself.
Long story short, after Timberlake decided he was going to create his own label, he signed Matt as his first artist. The first time I heard Matt sing was when he performed Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” with Timberlake at Hope for Haiti Now earlier this year. Remember that performance?
Matt’s first album When Everything Breaks Open was released earlier this year and is currently one of my favourite cds. His music style is quite different from those he’s written for – Amazon lists him as rock/pop and iTunes lists him as more singer/songwriter. His album is diverse as each song is different from the others. I strongly recommend you listen to “Live Forever,” “Un-American,” “Bloodline,” “Money”, “Forgiveness” and “Love” here.
I recently got to see him perform live as the opening act for Ingrid Michaelson. I went to the show as a big fan of the album but I was blown away the minute he started singing. Matt’s voice was a lot richer, fuller and soulful than I had expected. He was a great performer and a half an hour set just wasn’t enough. I can’t wait for him to return to Toronto to do a full show.
We did manage to meet him after the show and had our CDs signed. He was soft spoken and kind, and seemed surprised by everyone’s enthusiasm for his music.
I will leave you with this acoustic performance by Matt of “Live Forever” – one of my favourite tracks from his album and his new single:
PS. Here’s a short but great interview that InMusic did with Matt when he was in Toronto.