Getting To Know... Matthew Thomas

After establishing himself with a wealth of rich and immersive outings these last few years, emerging singer-songwriter Matthew Thomas returns once again to offer up his shimmering new single 'The Waiting Room'.

Lifted from his newly unveiled EP 'Mustangs & Thoroughbreds, Vol.2', which is available to stream now, 'The Waiting Room' makes for a wonderfully rich and emotive listen. With his bold and powerful voice layered across a compelling production throughout, he is certainly one to keep a firm eye on for the months ahead as well.

So with the new single available to stream now, we sat down with him to find out more about his origins and what has been inspiring him most over the years.


What was the first instrument you fell in love with?

The acoustic guitar. I remember when I first starting taking lessons from a guy at our church, I was immediately more interested in trying to find cool chord progressions and voicing than I was learning scales and playing riffs. I eventually got a Squier Stratocaster too, but when the lights went down at the end of the day, an acoustic guitar was how I started to really make sense of the world around me. I haven’t looked back since.

What kind of music did you love when you were younger?

Growing up in church, a lot of my early exposure to music was centred around Christian artists, from rock bands like Switchfoot to singer-songwriters like Steven Curtis Chapman. There was some great artists that still inspire me now, but I always felt drawn to the music that told human stories that didn’t colour in the lines as much. If it told a story lyrically and created a world musically, I was interested. That alignment of words and melody has always been something that I’ve enjoyed as a fan and pursued now as an artist.

What was the first album you remember owning?

I remember when I bought the Goo Goo Dolls “Dizzy Up The Girl” CD at Best Buy like it was yesterday. $18.99 well spent. That record had a such a clear combination of emotions, angst, and beauty all wrapped up in a guy just bearing his soul with an acoustic guitar. It certainly wore out my Sony Walkman pretty quickly.

What is the one song you wished you could have written yourself?

Sometimes I like to end shows with my own rendition of U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. Something about that declaration has always resonated with me, no matter how fulfilled or depressed I might feel at any given moment. That whole album was so ahead of it’s time, but still so representative of them as a band. I hope I can capture that same spirit in my own music.

Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?

I’m a big fan of changes of scenery that can yield changes in perspective. I try to write or refine something at least once everyday after I have coffee and journal. On a broader scale, I’ll go away for an extended writing retreat in between releases and projects. Something about removing myself from familiar environments has always sparked a fresh sense of inspiration and meaning.

Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?


A friend of mine recently turned me onto a singer-songwriter named Jeffrey Martin who’s a really subtly powerful lyricist. He’s got a great song called “The Middle” I’ve been listening to. Other go-to’s currently include Towr’s, The Bros. Landreth, and Noah Gundersen.

If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?

This is always a fun thought experiment. I think currently, I’d have to say Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors. I feel like our collective fan bases have a lot in common and I’ve always loved how fun their live shows are without sacrificing musicality.

What do you find is the most rewarding part about being a musician?

Personally, I live for the moments when I get to chat with someone before or after a show and listen to them talk about how a song of mine provided some sense of hope or encouragement. It’s an incredibly humbling thing. And as much as I love being selfish about telling my own story, I know that music has a way of transcending boundaries and capturing some really essential elements of the collective human experience. The communal element of live music is where everything converges at once. The artist and the listener disappear and it simply becomes about enjoying that moment together.

And what is the most frustrating part?

I’m not sure there’s a lot about being a musician that feels inherently frustrating to me. We all have to work hard at what we do and there isn’t always a guarantee that that work will materialize into something sustainable and lasting. I guess something that saddens me is that the music industry still claims to be artist-centric when the reality is that they’re never going to take a chance on someone they don’t think can sell tickets and move the needle of a bottom line. Often times the artist is the last person to be compensated in the food chain, when in reality the business wouldn’t exist without them. It is a business, and I get that. But I have seen some encouraging signs of change in the way a lot of smaller or independent labels are structuring deals these days. Fairer terms, shorter contracts. I think there’s a way for everyone involved to be valued in a way that’s balanced. At the end of the day though, if you get into music to make money, you’ll be in for a rude awakening!

And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?

I once heard a producer friend of mine say that true artistry is built on three pillars: 1) consistency 2) connection and 3) competency. His point was to not emphasise your art over your artistry. Meaningful music is any music that has the capacity to build community. The more clearly it can define a perspective, the more successfully it encourages action, and the more robustly it creates social ties.


Matthew Thomas' new single 'The Waiting Room' is available to stream now. Check it out in the player below.