The ReverbNation Submissions: Matt Cusson
Matt Cusson - New York, New York
Singer Songwriter / R&B / Pop
Song Submitted: “Leaving L.A.”
A PHENOMENAL SINGER AND piano player, Matt Cusson crafts soulful, jazzy blues songs that melt us into a sweet state of mind. With the vocal finesse of Adam Levine and the oh-so-buttery John Mayer, he’s one of the better male vocalists we’ve heard — like, ever. From vocal control to dynamics, Cusson has us captivated. And with the addition of compelling song arrangements, as well as background vocals, soulful R&B has met its match. If this guy’s music isn’t in your playlist, you are missing out.
ABOUT THE ARTIST: I’ve been in the music business for over ten years. I’m a self-taught pianist and guitarist, and spend most of my time touring, producing and writing. I recently released my sophomore album, Only Human, as well as a two-song Christmas EP last December. Currently, I’m honored to say I’m a finalist for the John Lennon Songwriting Awards.
INSPIRATION: One of my favorite things as a musician is getting together all over the world with other musicians and finding that common musical conversation. Whether we’re playing, writing or even just listening, it’s amazing how music can truly bring people together. I also love creating something from nothing. It’s so fun and stressful and funny and inspiring to sit at a piano, play a couple chords, write a lyric, then bring it to the string or horn session, arrange all that, mix, master — and here’s this amazing song that people will love, hate, cry over or dance to at their wedding.
SIGNATURE SOUND: Honestly, the one thing that may have been a fault in my career is I don’t have a particular genre. I usually describe it as “genre-less.” I love all types of music, and I write whatever inspires me. Quincy Jones once said, “Let the song write itself,” and I kind of follow that advice. I love the songs out there that aren’t written with the purpose of writing a hit or certain style. I love it when inspiration starts the song, hard work finishes it and musical instincts are what make decisions instead of business.
ON SONGWRITING: I wrote all of the songs on my latest album, except for one cover. The songs on that album, although stylistically very different, kind of all come together with a similar theme, for the most part. The theme leans on a very insecure person who doesn’t mind being extremely vulnerable and talking about all of his insecurities and problems, all the while finding a counterpart who ends up saving his life in many ways. It’s comical in parts and gets very deep in others. Every song is different. It’s impossible to pinpoint a process or an inspiration. Some songs start with a lyric or a chord progression, but most start with a melody in my head, over chords. I usually suss out a verse, or a chorus or hook, then make some kind of demo and see where that takes me. Sometimes, I reach out to a musician friend of mine to play something on it and it opens up a whole new path for me.
FAVORITE MUSICAL ERA: Something about the 70s was super sexy to me — everyone being free, and just so many different songwriters and styles. That decade gave us Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Joni Mitchel and Paul Simon. But then, the 80s came along, Prince showed up, 80s Stevie was there and Michael Jackson ruled everything. Then, there was the 60s with The Beatles and Miles Davis changing music a few times over. The longer I rant, the less specific of an era I choose.
MUSICAL BACKGROUND: I grew up playing piano. My mom was a piano teacher, so I constantly heard the scales and finger exercises. My dad was a total music head, and used to arrange and conduct for choirs. My sister was the funk queen, my brother was the singer/songwriter guy and I’m 10 years younger than them, so I just soaked all of it in when I was growing up. I started playing guitar around 16 or so, then started really diving into sounds and production when I was about 18, and fell in love with that process. I went to Berklee College of Music for a year before meeting a musical idol of mine, Brian McKnight, early in my third semester. He heard me play and sing, and I literally dropped out of college that night and flew to his home in L.A. the next day to write and record. It was pretty surreal. Ever since, I’ve been touring and making music for myself and a lot of others.
ON RECORDING: My favorite thing is just playing music and creating it. It’s as simple as that. There’s nothing like closing my eyes at a piano and singing something I wrote that meant a lot to me. There’s nothing like applause, a “woo,” a laugh. I love hearing different people’s interpretations of a song that means something completely different to someone else. I love it when another musician says, “Man, that chord change,” or, “Those horns!” It’s just fun.
FUTURE HOPES AND DREAMS: Everything I did yesterday, I want to double up and do tomorrow on top of new things I want to try.
Find Matt Cusson’s new album, Only Human, on Spotify and iTunes, and check out live videos and more on YouTube.
Web & Social Media Links:
Official Website: mattcusson.com
Photos property of Matt Cusson and used with permission.
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