Suffolk student releases debut album – The Suffolk Journal


After years of his guitar sitting untouched in his bedroom, Arlo Matthews was inspired to pick it up and really learn to play.

Three years later, he released his debut album “Waiting for Daybreak” on October 15.

“Since middle school, I’ve really listened to music. I’ve always loved doing stuff,” Matthews said. “Hearing about it in such large numbers makes you want to create something similar or of your own. I think after doing that, that’s ultimately what inspires you to choose an instrument or learn to sing.

Matthews said that while he took some formal guitar lessons when he was in sixth grade, he didn’t have the inspiration to really learn until a few years ago.

“The most of [learning guitar] was looking for songs that I wanted to play, learning the chords and teaching me how to put my fingers on the guitar,” Matthews said.

This process of trial and error is how Matthews also learned to sing. From there, he just needed the songs.

Matthews calls “Waiting for Daybreak” his autobiography for the last years of his life.

The album explores the themes of change, exploration and growth that come with leaving home and starting a new season of life, Matthews said.

“It’s really weird to look back and think, ‘Okay, I remember writing that when I was that age or going through that,’ and now I listen to all the tracks and [think about] how was my journey from high school to college,” Matthews said.

The writing process, Matthews said, only begins with an emotional moment or thought. As he thinks about them and writes them down in his phone, they eventually become lyrics.

On his song “All of my Strife”, Matthews sings, “How could you forget your hometown?” paying homage to his Connecticut hometown.

“It started as a simple thought, you know, how could you forget that?” said Matthews. “Then, later, I’ll think of a melody and it will start flowing through my head. It either starts with a thought or a melody and then somehow they combine. It turns into something that I keep expressing and thinking, “what else was I thinking?”

When he sits down to write the lyrics, Matthews says he is influenced by many artists who have come before him.

“Some of my biggest influences come from the 70s and 80s, a kind of traditional folk songwriting. Tom Petty is a big one for me, but anyone from that kind of era who wrote rock music that dipped a bit more below the level of ‘here’s a girl I like,'” Matthews said. “I just have a lot of songwriting elements that talk about emotions and experiences and how to flesh them out into more accessible things.”

For his very first album, he wanted to go the traditional route and record the songs in a professional studio.

Matthews recorded his album at Dirt Floor Recording and Production Studio in Haddam, Connecticut, near his hometown. He used the money he earned from his summer job to pay for studio time.

“We ended up producing it together at the end, which was really cool. We would lay out all the tracks, we would come in and then polish them at the end before releasing them,” Matthews said. “I was very lucky to be able to come across [Dirt Floor Studio] and work with these guys.

While most of the album Matthews was created as a solo artist, there are three tracks that bring in other creators.

In high school, Matthews said he had a band, Flipside, with his three friends: Aiden Bonilla, Luke Devenney and Drew Macneil. “Coming Home”, “A Hard Place”, and “The Murderess (of Elwood)” began as Flipside songs.

“There are elements that are not just mine, that I like. It brings an extra flavor, I think,” Matthews said. “Bringing in people from outside and diversifying my musical palate a bit. Without those three songs, I think the album wouldn’t be as diverse as you would hear it in its final form.

On release day, Matthews went to see Sammy Rae & The Friends at Roadrunner in Brighton. Still riding the wave of excitement over the release of his music, he said he brought a sign that read, “Hey, I just released my first album,” and the lead singer read it from the stage. .

From then on, he said people approached him after the gig asking him to check out his music and he gave out cards to promote his artist page.

“We were leaving the concert and people were listening to it in their cars. This day is probably one of the craziest days of my life. It was such a unique experience — I couldn’t have arranged it any other way to make it happen again,” Matthews said. “It was very cool to have people who weren’t connected to me or my music originally to listen to it as well. It means everything to me.

Although the debut album tells a very personal story of Matthews’ life, he said he still hoped people would connect with it.

“I think some songs come from a certain emotional place and I know there are people who feel the same way. I hope people who are looking for this kind of music and who are looking for this kind of emotion that I represent can hear it at the right time, I guess,” said Matthews. “I don’t think anyone needs to feel anything specifically from my record, but I hope people who listen to it will feel something.”

As Matthews pursues an undergraduate degree in journalism, he still plans to keep music close to him.

“Music is just my outlet, it distracts me from the rest of my life when things get too tough or work gets too overwhelming, music is always there to be fun on the side,” Matthews said. “Maybe if a stroke of luck happened and I was allowed to make it my career I would reconsider, but for now it’s just a fun hobby that I enjoy and that keeps me going. gives a little something extra to get out of life.”

“Waiting for Daybreak” is available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube Music, and Matthews posts updates about his music on his Instagram artist @arlomatthewsmusic.

Follow Grace on Twitter @LaverriereGrace

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