Dating a pop musician is a dangerous thing. Taylor Swift has made a career out of penning songs about the guys who have done her wrong. Nashville-based pop singer/songwriter Conor Matthews is doing the same thing. In fact, his new EP Heartbreak In The Hills is wrapped around his breakup. Pity the girl who is no longer his main squeeze.
“For the most part, the lyrics in most my songs are just stories I remember put into rhymes,” he explains about the inspiration of his songwriting. “‘Hit Me Back’ was created literally because an ex wouldn’t hit me back when I would reach out for something.”
For Matthews, his ex not only refuses to reply to his insistent messages and texts, but she’s moved on and up. No longer slumming it with Matthews, she’s found a squad and she’s traveling in it. “She got new friends that drive Mama’s Benz / They hot as hell but they cold as Michigan,” he sings with the seething hurt of dejection forming a well of emotions.
“[That line about her ‘Mama’s Benz’] was because she had some very wealthy girlfriends who were really just kind of mean when you got to know them (not all of them but a lot),” he recollects… “and also, her mom has a Benz,” he chuckles.
Hailed as an artist to watch by pop blogs and mainstream music media, Matthews has been racking up the numbers on his marketing one sheet. Having scored millions of streams on Spotify on his 2018 breakthrough single “Forever Right Now,” he was snatched up by Altadena / Warner Records. and has been making waves ever since. His new EP has already generated similar numbers with the first single “Older” calculating over 2million streams… which is why dating a pop musician is dangerous. He has the potential of writing an unflattering song about you, airing dirty laundry, and getting millions of people to know all about your business. A side effect can lead to exposing an obsession too.
For Matthews, it’s a little bit of both. “Toxic relationships are the hardest to let go of,” he explains. “You move on from your ex. You start seeing other people, and then you rekindle an old flame. She breaks up with her new guy when you’re in town,” he trails off.
In terms of the new single “Hit Me Back,” the song didn’t formulate while he wallowed in misery. Instead, it formulated in that other dangerous post-relationship situation: hanging with your beds and spitting vitriol. The song “came about in my Nashville apartment when me and one of my best friends were joking around about how our exes don’t hit us back,” he laughs. “We always mess around and sing funny things off the top of our head that make us laugh…this one just happened to turn into a banger.”
Unfortunately for his ex, this song is definitely a banger and a bop. The perfect Summer song that coasts on a breezy pop reggae wave, “Hit Me Back” is that song you’d hear blasting at fish taco stands at the beach or at one of those college bars that hand out plastic leis and service drinks in big, oversized plastic margarita glasses.
“There is definitely some uneasiness,” he confesses about the potential of a scorched Earth outcome if/when she hears it and realizes the song is about her. “It’s a weird time to put personal stories into the world when there are so many more important issues to come alongside. “
“I wanted to showcase the parts of a breakup that can be exciting and fun, because you’re casting off weights you didn’t know you had and embracing life to the fullest–meeting new people, new friends, and lots of new experiences,” he continues. “I was having the time of my life, post a toxic three-year relationship. To me, it felt like what a summer breakup feels like. Half of my heart was bleeding, but the other half was LIT. Rather than telling this like a sad boy, I wanted people to be able to bump this EP. I’m continuing to iron out my lane and embrace all of the influences from pop to R&B. This project adds a piece to the narrative of who I am as a person and an artist.”
Having himself moved on from the relationship, he can see the song as a bit of a sendoff, now that the catharsis has set in and he no longer has the same feelings he did when he wrote it. “I really love how it makes me smile,” he says about the distance he now has from the those dark emotions. “I hope it gives everyone a smile, a chuckle, and some good vibes.”
Now, instead of wallowing in his grief over the relationship, he feels like his songs can be therapeutic for others who are perhaps going through the same thing and he can be a guide through toxic relationships. He concludes, “At the end of the day, I decide to keep releasing music, because if my songs can help brighten even one person’s day in this crazy time, it’s worth it.”