Catching Up with Singer/Songwriter Matt Hires

Tampa, FL born singer/songwriter Matt Hires has a lot to offer. From his soulful lyrics to his pop-infused melodies, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be hooked on the first listen. He recently just wrapped up a tour with Matchbox Twenty and his music has been featured on ABC’s hit drama, Grey’s Anatomy.

We got a chance to chat with Matt about his influences, what inspires a song and the unexpected place where he writes them!

For those of us who don’t know, tell us how you got your start.

– I grew up on the gulf coast of Florida, and started writing songs when I was about 17 years old. Being a huge music fan, I just felt like I wanted to make my own contribution to everything I was hearing. So I started writing a lot of songs (most of which were probably terrible) and learning from each one and slowly honing my skills. I started playing a decent amount of shows and figuring out how to play songs live. I did that for a little while with my band in Florida before embarking on this venture as a “solo artist”. I signed with F-Stop Music, an imprint with Atlantic Records, in 2008 after someone over there heard some of my songs on Myspace and dug them. Then I wrote a lot and started making my first album in the summer of ’08.

Who are some of your influences? Do they play a big role in your music and if so, how?

– There are so many things that influence my writing, but my favorite musical artists are Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Wilco, and The Killers. I’m not sure if I sound very much like these artists or not, but I guess they have to have some kind of influence on my songs, since I listen to them a decent amount. Really anything that I listen to probably influences me in some way or another. I always find that reading a lot ends up being good for my writing. I’ve been digging into a lot of Flannery O’Connor short stories lately. It’s been several years since I’ve read any of her work, but it’s really blowing me away this time. Good films also provide a lot of good inspiration for songs. It can really come from anything.

You’ve toured with Matchbox Twenty this year. That’s huge! Tell us what that experience was like.

– It was definitely one of my favorite tours that I’ve been able to be a part of. Great crowds. Great rooms. Great people. Honestly, everyone on the crew that we worked with and everyone in the band were all just genuinely awesome people. And Matchbox Twenty really bring it so hard every night. They were a lot of fun to watch live. It was my first tour since I recorded my new album, so I was just pumped to be able to play my new songs for so many people. And it seemed like they liked them.

What inspires a song for you?

– There are so many things that can inspire a song. That’s what I love so much about songwriting. It’s always an adventure. You start with a group of words or a melody or a few chords, and sometimes you think you know where it’s going to end up, but a song usually just becomes what it wants to be. If you try to force it, it will probably end up being terrible. For me, inspiration and ideas for songs tend to hit me when I’m doing something completely unrelated to music. I write 68% of my songs in the shower.

Do you have any words of inspiration that you live by?

– “To know all is to forgive all” – Madame de Staël

Forever EP is available now on Atlantic Records here

Matt Hires will be playing Rockwood Music Hall in New York City on May 2nd. For ticket info click here.

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