July/August 2014 Lyric Contest Spotlight: Matt Jordan

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Matt Jordan

“Smoke”
1st Place
Written by Matt Jordan

What was the inspiration behind “Smoke?”

A lot of people write songs about girls being an addiction, about love being an addiction, and a lot of times they write songs about cocaine. I’ve never tried cocaine before [laughs] so I didn’t write a song about that, but I like that idea of a person being an addiction. I just went with smoke, because people can be a bit smoky, and I was comparing this girl to a cigarette because I thought that was a cool analogy.

Do you write for one specific genre? Are you more of a pop-country type than Americana?

Honestly, I write all kinds of different stuff. I moved to Nashville to do songwriting, and when you’re trying to be a songwriter you have to be versatile. I consider myself more of a country-rock writer, but I definitely venture into folk and Americana as well.

Do you live in Nashville now?

Yes I do.

I thought you were from Glencoe, Missouri.

That’s where I’m from. Glencoe is my hometown and that’s where my Songspace address is, but I live in Nashville now.

How long have you been here?

Just since August. I transferred to Belmont before my Junior year, and I just finished my junior year of college. So, I’ve been here for about eight or nine months.

Do you also perform?

I’ve started getting into performing more. I’ve been writing for four or five years now and am just starting to book more shows. I’ve booked several shows in St. Louis, near where I’m from, and I’m trying to write and book some more for this summer in Nashville.

Did you move here with the intention of becoming a non-performing songwriter or a performing songwriter?

I would love being a performer, but I don’t think I have the voice for it. Writing was my original intent.

Are you a Songwriting major at Belmont?

No, I’m actually studying entrepreneurship [laughs]. It’s the back-up plan if songwriting doesn’t work out. But if I wanted to do anything with songwriting, I needed to be in Nashville, you know?

And if your songwriting does work out, it’ll be helpful to have that business education, because that’s required too these days.

Absolutely. It’s a business, so knowing the business side of it I think is a really good thing.

Have you found Nashville receptive to budding songwriters?

My first few months were tough – it was hard to get plugged in. But then I started taking voice lessons and my voice coach connected me to some co-writers, and I started to build some really good connections with those people. I had never done co-writing before. It is so helpful to write with someone else or things like that. The Nashville environment is really cool, it’s a really friendly city. You just have to put yourself out there. I didn’t know that going in.

Was there much of a songwriter scene in Glencoe, Missouri?

It’s a pretty small town. Glencoe is about 40 minutes west of St. Louis, so that’s obviously the nearest big city. And St. Louis doesn’t really have much of a music scene, and Glencoe really has no music scene at all.

Who are your favorite songwriters?

There’s this guy from Birmingham, Alabama named Matthew Mayfield, he’s probably my all-time favorite songwriter. And then Bruce Springsteen is definitely one of them. He can tell a story like nobody else.

How often do you write?

I try to write every day. There are times that I get busy with school and I don’t have time to write. I try to write every day because, like anything, practice makes perfect. You’re not going to get any better at it if you’re not working at it so I write as often as I can.

What inspires you to write?

My inspiration for my lyrics comes from things I hear people say and conversations I have experienced. I guess that is how it is for most people. Going to underground concerts, or any sort, gets me excited about music again. I would get discouraged during my first few months in Nashville and then seeing live music would get me fired up again.

Click here to read the lyrics to Matt’s winning song, “Smoke.”

 

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