By Rhiannon Levengood
Photos by Sarah Grady
When I was a child, the term “one man show” made me giggle with delight. The very thought of a man playing multiple instruments at once in a conundrum of cacophony was amusing to me. I always imagined a man with a bass drum strapped to his back and a band of other instruments strategically placed about his body so that as he moved, they played. For it to work, he’d have to not only be a great musician, but a skillful dancer, too.
However, that’s not the case in 2017 and The Voice star Matt McAndrew proved just that to me during his first stop on his 13 city tour. With only his guitar, his voice, and a well-programmed loop pedal, McAndrew was able to recreate eight of his own jams along with five perfect covers during his one man show at the World Live Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.
Check out Matt’s flawless cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Tenerife Sea” below:
Since finishing as first runner-up during season 7 of The Voice, Matt has been very focused on his budding career. Not only has he released Rush In Slowly, a brand new 6-song EP, but he also created his very own record company in order to do so. He explained his frustration with working for a label in comparison to self-producing an album:
“I had a very brief stint with the label. I only did a single with them, and it was kind of just out of my hands. I just did the best I could. The song fell in my lap. [Republic Records] were like, “Here’s a song, cut the song.” So I cut the song. There wasn’t much room to be creative at all. It was fun, but I think it’s more me just getting back to my roots as a singer/songwriter. If I’d written the single that I put out–or co-wrote it–I suppose it would have been more similar, but because I didn’t get to write it, so that was the biggest difference.”
With creative freedom, Matt was able to produce a record full of handwritten songs that he shares with pride. One of his favorites from Rush In Slowly is “Hard Day”, which he describes as being lyrically ‘too clever’ for his own good. “But people really seem to like it, which I’m always surprised by,” he continues. “I was able to get out something personal with that one, too, which felt good.”
Along with producing music, McAndrew spoke about performing and touring as well. While getting on stage and trying something new, such as implementing a loop pedal, is nerve-racking, Matt explains that the best advice he’s ever been given came from Adam Levine. “When I was on The Voice, Adam told me to just not be nervous. So, I figured out a way during the show to just totally suppress my nerves. It’s better to just not think about it, so whenever my mind started to race, I would think of something else.” Which seemed to work wonders for him as he effortlessly performed each night on the reality tv show. Matt even went on to joke, “Any feeling you ever get, just suppress it deep down.”
Nerves aren’t the only thing Matt battles when he takes the stage, though. Another piece of solid advice is always in the back of his mind. “I heard somebody recently say if you can get [the crowd] singing, you’re golden. So, I try to get those sing-along moments… I guess I’m just trying to make sure that I am as engaging as I can be. And just sorta remind people that there’s somebody up there, because especially nowadays, you run the risk of people just being on their phones and not paying attention.”
As a new year unfolds in front of him, Matt McAndrew hopes to create more music, play more shows, and as a personal goal, get into better shape physically. So, be sure to keep an eye out for him.
Five Fast Facts about Matt McAndrew:
Favorite dessert: Pumpkin pie with a lot of whipped cream.
Best fan gift: Gift cards, artwork, phone cases by Carved.
Must haves on tour: Room temperature water, towels.
Geno’s or Pat’s: Tony Luke’s.
Waffles or pancakes: Definitely waffles.