Based in Norfolk, Virginia, Matt Luther is a sentimental artist and even more inventive lyricist. After the demise of his grandfather in 2017, he picked up the pen for the first time and has never looked back. His ability to compose, produce, mix, and master everything allowed him to establish his own Alt-Pop, Alt-Rock, Experimental ‘Mattospheric’ sound when he obtained a music degree. In 2019, he debuted with the single “Danielle Strong,” which amassed over 100,000 streams and built anticipation for the first project in his “Colors of My Life Collection” titled “O.R.A.N.G.E.” As an artist, he has donated proceeds to Children’s Cancer Research, devoted albums to mental health awareness, and revealed his life experiences in each song. In the near future, “V.I.O.L.E.T.” and “Y.E.L.L.O.W.” will be released, concluding the Color series and ushering in a new era for Matt Luther. In 2023, he intends to bring his skills to the stage and perform across the Southwest and West Coast of the United States.
Matt Luther’s most recent track, “Alone,” follows his tradition of exposing his most repressed emotions. Undoubtedly resonating with a large audience, the song describes experiencing loneliness despite being surrounded by others. Matt Luther is no stranger to this sensation, stating, “Since my brain damage, I feel as though I’m in a world where people are living and going about their daily business while I wear a cloak and observe”. This piano song, composed by Luther on a bench in the heart of Disney World, successfully captures this melancholy mood. He recalls the piano chords and melodies playing in his brain while he spontaneously composed the words. In the back of Matt’s RV, the artist mixed, mastered, and produced the song after putting it down on paper. Luther thinks that his words would help his audience overcome this feeling. With such an accurate depiction, there is no doubt that it will have a strong impact “I’ve traveled countless millions of kilometers. I have seen millions of faces and posed millions of smiles. And I’ve been to a million places, but I’ve never felt more alone as I do right now “. Be sure to check out ‘Alone’ and the exclusive interview below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how it all got started?
Matt Luther: I was born in Norfolk, VA. We bounced around between several cities in the same area code of 757. I graduated high school in Chesapeake, VA before joining the US Army. I would say the journey to writing/releasing my first song was an accumulation of all my experiences leading up to 2017. In August of 2017 my grandfather passed away from cancer. I had to be the strong one in the family while everyone else was grieving, especially that first night. My father did not show up in his final hours despite multiple calls and texts. That led me to write my first song “Rise” which I ended up holding until my 4th album “R.E.D.” which is almost entirely about my relationship with my biological father.
My debut single actually came 2 years prior to that album in 2019. I decided to write and release “Danielle Strong” as my debut, because at the time, while I was still in college. My best friend’s little sister Danielle, who I’ve known since she was six, was dealing with Acute Myeloid Leukemia at the age of 16. I released “Danielle Strong” 7/2/19 and within the first couple months it had reached over 100k streams across 70 countries, had some radio playtime, and inspired thousands of people since. The acoustic version was released on my first album “O.R.A.N.G.E.”
2. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
Matt Luther: I obtained a bachelor’s degree in Music Production, which had basic teaching of piano and Solfège, but overall, I am a self-taught vocalist and pianist.
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘Matt Luther’?
Matt Luther: One of my first and strongest influences has to be Chester Bennington, my strongest current influence is Paul Meany from MuteMath. With Chester, he was the voice of my younger years and the lyrics and other-worldly voice of Chester resonated with me and everything I was going through in my childhood and early adulthood.
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
Matt Luther: My sound is simply “Mattospheric”. While I have influences, I’m looking to carve out my own lane in music and perhaps evolve into my own genre/sub-genre. The focus of all my music is the stories that the lyrics are telling, sitting atop a bed of ambient and atmospheric pads, synths, and soundscapes. I want people to FEEL the song instrumentally and atmospherically while they listen to the lyrics. Each song is its own experience and story, while the albums tell a bigger story between the songs.
5. For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style, which is known as Mattospheric Music?
I started out as just a writer, with endless doubts that I could ever make a real song, much less have people enjoy it enough to listen more. I battled insecurities my entire life, but when you go through certain things you get to a point in life where you just don’t hold back anymore and stop caring about outside opinions. Everyone has to start somewhere, if you don’t get started, no one will ever know what could’ve been. I knew from the start that I wanted to have my own unique sound, but at first, I had no idea what my “singing voice” was. I would sing along to my favorite songs and artists, compare it to what I didn’t like, and find ways to play with songs to make them my own. My never-ending curiosity and love for outer-space gave me the idea to add so many atmospheric layers. I wanted my music to sound like it wasn’t from Earth. In the beginning I was releasing some pretty standard sounding 4/4 average tempo music with simple production. It was with my second album “B.L.U.E.” that I started heavily experimenting and finding something I loved. With the release of my third album “G.R.E.E.N.” that is when I rebranded and dubbed my music “Mattospheric”.
6. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative, and entertainment?
I absolutely do not hold back from speaking out on injustices, whether through music or on any other platform I have, especially Twitter. At the same time, music is my primary source/outlet for creative expression and art. At the end of the day, I am a creator/entertainer to the core, but I also have a heart and soul.
7. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfillment as the amount of work you are putting into it or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
Financially speaking, no, not yet. Good thing I’m not in it for the money! Most people in the world have absolutely no idea the amount of work, energy, and hours go into making even just one song. My endless respects go to the artists that kept doing it for life! With that being said, nothing in the universe (or multi-verse) compares to a room full of people singing along to music that you wrote, especially if it’s a truly personal story. To be a part of that kind of energy, it just can’t be put into words! It makes all of this worth every second.
8. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
I start with a story, that becomes lyrics. Once the lyrics have me feeling close to or in the same headspace as the story the lyrics are telling, I begin production and choose instruments that best portray the story being told. There was this one time however, when I made a drum beat, took that drum beat and assigned each part of the drum set to a different instrument to get the final sound. For example, the hi hat would be a guitar, the kick would be a bass, the snare would be another guitar, toms would be a piano, etc. The final result is “Play” the intro track to my second album.
9. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far?
I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury in 2015, at first it didn’t seem too serious, I broke a couple teeth, fell unconscious for a few minutes, and had a “headache” from the abyss. However, MRI showed a hemorrhage in almost the exact center of my brain. The doctors told me if it had been just a few more millimeters to the left, I would’ve been paralyzed or a “vegetable”. That lead to me being medically retired from the Army. It’s been several years since then, but I still deal with daily lingering side-effects including sensitivity to lights and sounds, daily migraines (still), nausea, balance issues, and C-PTSD. I had to go to a speech pathologist to relearn speech, a year of occupational therapy, years of physical therapy, and endless testing and imaging. Despite all of that, it gave me the chance to relearn the world and rewire my brain. I don’t think I create my signature sound or even develop the bravery to release music without all of this happening.
10. On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or music career so far?
Matt Luther: The only right answer to this has to be my ongoing efforts to raise money for children’s cancer research through campaigns with “Danielle Strong”, “Danielle Strong (Acoustic)”, any show I perform those songs at, a percentage of the album “O.R.A.N.G.E.”, and other campaigns created/to be created with anyone willing to join the efforts and help. So far, we have raised a total of $2,350 worldwide since 2019. To anyone streaming the above-mentioned songs, ALL royalties are donated. I have never and will never profit from these songs or Danielle’s story! She inspires me to keep going every single time my head looks down!
11. With social media having a heavy impact on our lives and the music business in general, how do you handle criticism, haters, and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you pay attention to, or simply ignore?
Matt Luther: Currently, I am only active on Twitter. While I understand not being on multiple social media platforms isn’t necessarily a good choice for small indie musicians trying to get their name out there, I am trying out something different and it is absolutely a long-term plan. I accept all criticism, no one is perfect, and you can learn something from anyone.
12. Creative work in a studio or home environment, or interaction with a live audience? Which of these two options excites you most, and why?
Matt Luther: Nothing beats a live audience and being a part of the experience together with everyone!! My second one would probably be my home studio. There, I can truly be myself, experiment, try things I’d never try in front of another person, and just purely get submerged in the music.
13. Do you think is it important for fans of your music to understand the real story and message driving each of your songs, or do you think everyone should be free to interpret your songs in their own personal way?
Matt Luther: With the exception of “R.E.D.”, all of my music is intended to be interpreted differently depending on the listener. There are times when I interpret my own songs differently from what I was thinking about when I wrote them. While I’d love my story to be understood and heard, my music is intended to help people cope with the various parts of life, like music did for me!