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Meet Matthew Key

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matthew Key.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Singing has always been a part of me. When I was a kid my parents put me, kicking and screaming, into the children’s choir at our little church in Greenville, Texas. In middle school, I started playing bass for the church band. By high school, I was singing part-time in the house band for a large church-run outreach, playing guitar and doing sound tech and lighting work. It wasn’t until I was about 18 that I started writing music. I would try new songs out around the fire pit or at the park or out in the many pastures around that town, along with a lot of other friends who just loved life and loved to sing and have a good time. Sometimes, if I needed some extra gas money or cigarette money, I’d go out to the harbor in Rockwall and busk for tips, but that was the full extent of my self-promotion in those days. For a few years, I played bass, rhythm guitar, and a little mandolin for a couple of different Texas country, and red-dirt rock-n-roll bands across the state. Then I fell in love with the most beautiful woman. We met while I was playing a show with Jonathan Jeter and the Revelators, in Denison, Texas. So I married her quick and we had a son shortly after in 2013, then moved to Sherman where we live today. About a year or so later, I was having a very deep conversation with a good friend, about all of the plans and crazy ideas we had about life and music and the future at the time(because honestly, we’re further than even the Aztecs thought we’d get), and my friend says to me, “So, when you tell your kids that you’re going to do all this stuff, are you actually going to do it?” It was at that moment that I realized that I had been promising everyone my whole life that I would record this music one day but hadn’t. So, I hit it as hard as I could, for me and for my wife and for my family and for everyone who has told me they believe in me. I didn’t have any social media at all and only had just a few demo tracks that my father recorded for me years back. So, that’s where I started. I hit open mics for a while until I had enough material for a full set. I picked up any gigs that would pay and I kept working on my set. It went from an hour to three hours within a few months. Then, I started bringing my mandolin and arch top and started recently working with a full band. (has a lot to do with the NEW SINGLE coming this summer) Every time something doesn’t work out, it pushes me harder to do more. I’m constantly trying to reinvent myself but only by following my own code and my own discipline. So far, it’s been incredible the response I’ve gotten from fans and peers.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
For me, the biggest struggle is the self-discipline and weekly routine required to be able to do what I do. Beyond the few hours on stage, all the set up, the loading and unloading a full stage of equipment in and out of my tiny Juke, making time for practice, creating posters and events, writing emails, maintaining online presence and brand, booking shows, studio time, photos, pretty much by myself, there’s also my actual life. I also have a full-time job and full-time husband and dad duty. I started working out just so my body can keep up. I’ve started eating better and meditating to keep my mind clear. There has been a lot of internal stress and self-doubt about how much energy I have been putting in, but I know in my mind that this will always be the case. I just have to keep grinding to make it happen. I keep telling myself “there ain’t nothing to it but to do it, but if you’re not doing it, you’re not doing it.” So, I keep doing it. I screw up a lot. Most times its stuff only I can see; sometimes it’s very noticeable, but I just keep going, I just keep grinding. My wife works just as hard and even longer hours making waves doing what she loves at an influential barber shop here in Sherman. She’s my real inspiration and makes the days move easier, and more importantly, lets me know when I’m slacking or overdoing it. The way I see it, the best thing you can do is the best you can do.

Please tell us about what you do.
For years, I’ve had a passion for singing and performing, but for me, the most important part of music is what it does. It connects peoples minds in a way that no other activity can. Essentially, any given musical person can literally make other people across the span of a few minutes or even a few hours to a lifetime later, feel the same thing that a musical person feels/felt. That thought is profound and dumbfounding at the same time. In that sense, music is a language of minds. So my approach is to bring a piece of my mind to the songs I play. There are so many songs just being farted out these days with no substance or color. So it’s important to me to be a little more picky with the songs I choose to play. Love songs are great, partying is fine, and getting money is great too, but what is singing about it really doing for society? There are so many other more important things to learn or talk about, especially in a medium so close to the heart of our human species. In the words of Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit: “The songs that need singing have already been sung before.” So, if I’m going to sing a song whether it is my own or someone else’s, I picked it because It needs to be heard, or it’s something special to me. I’m going to mean it when I sing it, and I’m proud to have that ability. My hope for Matthew Key Music is to leave the listener with new feelings, new thoughts and even new questions about where life is at and where life is going.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
That’s a tough question. I always have a hard time picking favorites. I like all of the colors and all of the bands and all of the foods except for the ones I don’t. Plus, I had a pretty awesome childhood. We took all kinds of vacations and road trips and trips to theme parks. But, if I have to pick, it would probably be the time when my mom and I sat down for hours with a guitar and she taught me my first song that I could sing and play. Blackbird by Paul McCartney. It took me forever and my fingers were killing me and I think there might have been some frustration tears but I did it. She stuck with me through the struggle and that’s when I first learned that repetition is the human superpower. It really made an impression on me and I still play that song from time to time.

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Image Credit:

Jon Penton Photography

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