Matt is passionate about bringing a message of hope through the music he writes and performs. As well as being involved in worship ministry, Matt has played at many outreaches, schools and churches, speaking a simple message of hope found in God’s love.
How long have you been recording, producing and performing music?
I started playing guitar at seven years old. I was involved in my first recording project a few years ago and have been enjoying producing music (mine and other artists’) for the past couple of years.
Do you have a certain style or genre?
Style is an interesting thing. I’ve always been impressed by musicians who can bring their message to the audience in a simple, pure, uncomplicated way, but yet still be absolutely engaging in how they do it.
Hopefully my style can echo that a little bit. As a guitarist, my new songs do carry a fair bit of guitar; however, I’ve also really enjoyed using beautiful string arrangements and interesting musical textures.
One of the songs just has guitar, vocals and strings, whereas others have a full band arrangement. My hope is that I can continue to be just as engaging, whether playing with a full band or if it’s just my voice and guitar.
Tell us about your CD Life. What inspired the songs on this album?
The songs on the album have been inspired by a number of things – social pressures, self worth issues, and the basic need to know that there is hope. My family has experienced suicide, and I’m aware of the horrendous statistics surrounding this problem.
I’m passionate about getting the message across that there is a way, there is a hope, and you do have a future. Inspiration also came from mission work overseas. One of my songs, Lights On, was written out of an experience while on a mission trip in Johannesburg, South Africa. I was stopped by a couple of guys wanting the few valuables I had. In a city that sees several thousand murders a year, I could have easily been another statistic that day.
Another song called Stand Up carries a message that there is a plan for your life, and we can help to bring hope. It looks like Mission Australia is going to use that song for their cause.
Does your family share in the creation of your music and the making/release of Life?
My family is great. My wife Leah is so supportive throughout the processes of putting this album together. I’m fortunate enough to own a recording studio, which is great; however, there were a lot of late night recording and mixing sessions – Leah was always understanding of the whole process.
My parents are great people. My mum is an amazing piano player, and my dad and sister have absolutely incredible voices. My sister, Naomi Miller, sings on a couple of the tracks on Life. As kids, we would also travel with my parent’s gospel band as they performed in many prisons throughout Victoria – no doubt an experience that played a part in my journey now.
Will you be performing or touring in Australia this year?
Yes. In April I start in Queensland, beginning at Easterfest in Toowoomba and moving around the state from there. At the end of 2011, I did a ten day mini tour in Victoria (before the album was even released) playing to thousands of students at schools and colleges (including Geelong Grammer School) which was a great experience, and I look forward to doing more of. Keep a look out for local performances soon.
What made you decide to pursue music as a career?
That’s a good question … I suppose music was impossible to avoid throughout my life. I’ve always been very passionate about music and songwriting. Music is a beautiful way of expressing a message, which is something I love about it.
Whether I’m leading worship in a church or sharing at a school or outreach concert, music can bypass the boundaries of the mind and speak straight to the heart. The fact that I’m a professional musician is such a blessing – and one I’ll never take for granted. I never just ‘got involved’ in music as a side interest; music has always just been a big part of my life and continues to be.
What are the messages you’re trying to get across to people with your music?
What I would love to portray from my music and songs is the fact that there is hope, there is a way, and you do have a purpose. I would also like to bring to light some of the struggles going on in this world around us. Some of the songs bring encouragement – some of them bring a call to action. Personally, I have a strong faith in God, and I couldn’t successfully do what I do without my faith in Him and His love displayed through His son Jesus.
Tell us about your involvement with Grace Church in Port Macquarie?
As the Music Director/Worship Pastor at Grace, I’ve been able to see the development and facilitation of an amazing team of guys who are great musicians, who love God (and they’re good friends as well). We have recorded two albums in the last few years, No Other Name in 2008, and Strength/Freedom in 2010.
The albums were released commercially, and songs from both albums are used in churches around the world.
As a Port Macquarie local, what advice do you have for other aspiring artists?
I would say to believe in yourself and your abilities and be honest about your weaknesses and your strengths.
Improve where you can, move out of your comfort zone, but don’t be someone or something you’re not. Start to recognise those whom you can learn from, never stop learning, and never ever give up.
How you handle disappointment will determine how you handle success.
What are your goals for 2012?
To make a positive difference through what I do.
Thank you Matt.