Matt McAndrew is as focused a musician as they come, as the University of the Arts grad released an album this year and is also receiving continuing music education from Adam Levine and the other coaches on The Voice.
During the interview, McAndrew talked about befriending fellow artists on The Voice, working on his album View of the Pines, and why, when it comes to running down a dream, he can be a “stubborn” kind of guy.
With the knockouts on The Voice being tonight at 8 pm et/pt, check out our Q&A with this likable (and driven) musician:
Being a singer/songwriter, was it great to work with such artists as Adam Levine and Stevie Nicks?
Sure. Coming from a more singer/songwriter background, going into the show it’s been interesting for me because I’m not that used to being so passionate about singing covers. So I’ve had to learn how to be creative when covering somebody’s song and when I’m changing the melody or altering it (to come) from a songwriter’s point of view. Everybody that I’ve had the opportunity to work with – Adam and Stevie – they’re songwriters as well. They easily come from that angle also.
Is having the ability to share your own personal journey part of being a successful artist or musician?
Totally. Just speaking from the writing first and foremost – that’s the whole point of writing for me. (It’s) just to try to write about my own life and be completely autobiographical with my songs. And furthermore with my experiences on the show, that’s the whole reason why I picked ‘A Thousand Years’ as my audition song because I figured it might be the only performance I get to do on the show. If that’s the case I might as well not waste the opportunity (but instead) pick a song that is really beautiful and emotional.
Inspiration wise I just follow whatever moves me, and those are the things I like to gravitate towards as far as performances as well.
Can you talk about the album you released earlier this year? It must be cool to be on The Voice and also have View of the Pines currently out.
The cool thing for me has been just gaining fans who are watching the show and having them find out that I have some music out and having it be well received by people who were just originally fans of me on the show.
That’s been really, really cool and a pleasant surprise. They’re all songs that I wrote about my life – and it was kind of a challenging experience for me. It took a long time to make (and) it was the first record I made that was actually done in a studio.
I felt I was was ready to exhibit my work with the most professional polish. I really worked on it until I felt that everything was perfect. But yeah, it’s just me kind of bearing my heart. It’s great that people are latching onto it, especially with exposure from the show. It’s awesome.
How has going to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia been beneficial for you?
I think it was incredibly beneficial for me. Where I grew up, there wasn’t much of an artistic community and I didn’t come from a particularly musical family. So it was the first time I had been really surrounded by people who were musically inclined and beyond that people who could really sing.
Just learning about the terminology and ways to communicate ideas that I sort of recognize in my own head. The biggest thing for me was just being in that environment and surrounded by other driven and talented musicians. Some of that energy rubs off on you and pushes you further.
So you performed at your high school last week? What was that experience like?
I went back to Southern Regional High School and it was crazy! They had kind of told me that the tickets weren’t sold out on the day off – but even with that I thought it was just going to be (an audience) just sitting and watching me play.
It was way wilder than I could have ever imagined. After the show, kids were waiting for two hours to get a picture with me and an autograph. It was really incredible. I definitely wasn’t expecting that.
How great is it to know that after ‘The Voice’ you’ll have an extended group of friends and colleagues that you can support and work with in the future?
Throughout the whole experience, even prior to the blind auditions, I always recognized the opportunity to meet the other contestants as a major thing. You meet people who are totally like-minded and have totally dedicated their lives into doing something that is basically the same as what you’re doing. They’re coming from Nashville, Texas, California – everywhere. They’re all coming to the same place.
Moving forward, these are people that I’ve shared such a unique and strange experience with. I’ll be able to call them up and text them or hit them up on Facebook and say ‘Hey, I’m in town, you want to throw a show together?’
So I’m just as excited to meet other contestants as I am to meet the coaches and everyone else.
What drives you as a musician? Does it come from being inspired by your family or does it come from getting the chance to live out your dreams and aspirations?
I think it’s a combination of both. It’s something I wanted to do for a really long time and I’m very stubborn (laughs). And I kind of told myself that I was going to do music even if I was going to hate it. I’m just going to keep on doing it.
Luckily, I don’t hate it – I love it. My whole approach has been “all or nothing” and “do or die.” I approach music like that and have gotten myself in a predicament now where I feel like I need to succeed for myself and for my family as well. It is what it is, do you know what I mean?
When I was growing up, times were a little easier and it was more of a dream, and now it’s funny because that dream is maybe my best chance of making a better life for myself. It’s kind of interesting, but it’s alright to have some pressure on yourself sometimes.
Thank you so much for your time.
Thank you. I appreciate it.
The following video features McAndrew’s Battle Round performance with Ethan Butler. Though both artists have absolutely different approaches, their performance of “Yellow” was right on the money.