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Scott Matthews. Pic: Sally Connolly
Scott Matthews' story
By Ciarán Ryan
After lots of radio-play, a major record deal and constant gigging Scott Matthews, from Wolverhampton, has found fame as a singer-songwriter. This is his story so far.
If you believe the fans, DJs, websites and newspapers, singer-songwriter Scott Matthews could be as great as Robert Plant. He's being compared to Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley.
In the past twelve months Scott's blend of Midlands folk rock and blues has reached an international audience.
This is his story so far
Born in 1976 in Wolverhampton, Scott started playing guitar when he was seven and went electric aged 11. He attended Highfields School (Beverley Knight is also an ex-pupil).
Scott at the Glee Club
He began writing music at home with his older brother Darren, who plays piano and keyboards. In 1990 a song by Darren called 'Orchestral Rock’, with Scott on guitar, was played on a local radio station and got them a mention in a local newspaper.
After leaving Highfields School Scott continued to practise his guitar, and played in bands in and around Wolverhampton. He was listening to a lot of Jimi Hendrix.
These songs became 'Passing Stranger' a demo CD - Scott pressed 20.
Scott played his first solo gig in 2003, as a support act to The Other Smiths at a venue in Dudley. His debut solo performance was heard and noted by Smiths fan Martin Davies. Martin is in a band called called Fly with ex-Felt member Marco Thomas.
Martin didn't forget Scott's music. A few months later, near the end of 2003, he was DJing in Wolverhampton when he met Scott again, and offered to become his manager. Scott accepted.
Scott at Glee Club
Scott's first record deal
Martin and Marco were so impressed with Scott's songs that they formed an independent record label around him - San Remo. San Remo had a budget and an aim - to turn the demo CD into a professionally produced recording.
In the summer of 2005 Scott went into the studio. Jon Cotton's Artisan Studios in Moseley, Birmingham. Jon was producer, engineer and a keyboard player on what was to become 'Passing Stranger'.
The tabla drum on the studio recordings was provided by the Birmingham based Sukhvinder Singh Namdhari, of Ravi Shankar’s orchestra.
Scott designed the album sleeve, his girlfriend Sally Connolly took the photographs.
The album's 17 tracks complete, it was released to the media. Janice Long was the first of the BBC DJs to pick up on him. Scott was in session on Janice's BBC WM show in February 2006.
National radio-play and a big deal
By March 2006 tracks from 'Passing Stranger' were being played by Mark Radcliffe on BBC Radio 2 and Bob Harris. In April Scott played sessions on BBC Radio 2, 6 Music, talkSPORT and XFM.
Scott was beginning to get noticed. The major record labels sent representatives to Scott's gig at London’s 12 Bar Club in April 2006. Scott eventually signed with Island Records.
Island Records then set a date to re-release 'Passing Stranger', convinced that its national and international potential had not been tapped. They began to promote 'Elusive', the first single from the album.
Scott Matthews. Pic: Sally Connolly
More touring and Passing Stranger re-issued
After more touring in support of the album, national radio play and sessions, Scott supported the Foo Fighters at their two UK acoustic shows in June.
'Elusive' as a CD single was released on the 18th September. It was played a lot by Zane Lowe, Mark Radcliffe and Jo Whiley.
Island Records reissued 'Passing Stranger' on the 2 October 2006. Scott was still gigging.
'Passing Stranger' entered the album chart at 45, reaching the number one spot on BBC 6 Music's chart by October 14. Scott took part in the BBC Electric proms at the Barfly in Camden on 27 October.
At the 2006 Moseley Folk festival Scott told the BBC Black Country website:
"My ambition was to make a record and that’s been achieved. I think just being happy in my life and in what I’m doing, really, that’s the ambition."
2007: More singles, more touring
Scott’s single ‘Dream Song’, the second to be lifted from 'Passing Stranger' was released on December 11 2006. While still touring the UK, his third single 'Passing Stranger' was released by Island Records on 19 March 2007.
Scott spoke to BBC Norfolk, before playing at Norwich Waterfront on Thursday, 29 March, 2007. Click the link on the top right of this page to watch their video.
After months of touring Scott looks tired on screen - but he's still enjoying playing tracks from his debut album. He told BBC Norfolk that his current favourite from 'Passing Stranger' is "'White Feathered Medicine' - it's just a really moody kind of track - a real great feel to it - and I love the flute on it."
He seems cheerfully resigned to his audience's requests for 'Elusive' - but stresses there's more to him than one song.
A second album?
So will there be another album? Scott won't be drawn - mentioning he'll be playing festivals in the summer, and a possible tour of the USA that will occupy him until September 2007.
"From there", Scott Matthews told BBC Norfolk, "I'm gonna take stock of everything and see what I want to do, really."
Scott's UK tour continued until the 19th of April 2007.
Ivor Novello award
Scott Matthews picked up the Best Song Musically & Lyrically 'Ivor' award at a star-studded ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, 24th of May 2007. Click the link for more information:
The Glastonbury Festival in Somerset is among the festivals Scott will be playing at in 2007. He'll be performing on Sunday 24th of June, possibly in the John Peel Tent.
last updated: 16/10/07
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