Born and raised in Pennsylvania, is ex-college quarterback & singer-songwriter, Matt Freedman. With over 15 years of industry experience, he’s penned hundreds of songs and sold-out venues across the US, including The Trocadero in Philadelphia. This July, Freedman took the next step in his solo career with his debut single release, “One of These Days”. A song that, through a tasteful acoustic instrumental blend and carefully crafted lyrics, speaks to living in the moment and enjoying the time you have with the ones you love.
Recently, I spoke with Freedman about his path to pursuing country music, his debut single and his goals for this year.
Kyla Pearson: For those who are unfamiliar with your music, can you tell us a bit about your path to pursuing country music? What made you want to become a singer-songwriter?
Matt Freedman: I’ve been playing in clubs since I was about 19 years old, growing up on pop/punk, country and oldies primarily. I’ve always loved the storytelling of country songs, and the sensory imagery that it paints. I always felt other genres of music really lacked in that aspect comparatively. My music has always gravitated towards anthem, rock and hooks with a great melodic feel. Over the years I’ve tried to evolve my storytelling as well. My goal is to try and always blend a very visceral feeling with the music, and blend it with a great story.
Kyla Pearson: You recently released your debut single, “One of These Days”- which speaks to living in the moment and enjoying the time you have with the ones you love. Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the song?
Matt Freedman: Of course! During COVID, I had really struggled feeling cooped up causing anxiety and restlessness. Feeling caged was never something that sat well with me, I love being able to be outdoors, be around people and feel the energy of friends and family. When that was halted for a period of time, I wrote over 100 songs from March 2020-December 2020 and “One of These Days” I thought was the most appropriate story to tell coming out of a year that many of us would like to put behind us… But the lesson really is that you don’t have to over-think the escape. Sometimes all of the planning, the anxiety of travel, the airports, etc can be so daunting that it paralyzes us and you lose the spontaneity of just getting in the truck and GOING. This song was an escape song about just GOING. Not thinking, not planning, not analyzing the trip. Just getting with a great shotgun rider and just GOING.
Kyla Pearson: Can you tell us a bit about the songwriting/recording process that went into making the song?
Matt Freedman: This song was one of those rare songs that just poured out. We had stayed at a friend’s house not far from ours the night before, and it was the first time since Covid hit that we had gotten out of the house for a night. I remember waking up the next morning thinking, I don’t ever want to take a night like that for granted again. So I wanted to commemorate the night with a hook — “One of These Days Won’t Pass Us By Again”… So I started noodling on the acoustic guitar, which I always do when I have a melody in my head. I was trying to visualize a proper escape, where you don’t plan, don’t pack and just go. Just get in the truck in leave. It was maybe me trying to visualize my wife and I’s next escape. I then worked in a studio in Nashville called OmniSound Studios and a producer named Adam Knight to get the song tracked, mixed, mastered and now out to the streaming platforms.
Kyla Pearson: In relation to the song’s theme, why do you think it’s so easy for many to fall into the trap of “One of these days I’ll…” instead of going after their goals and dreams and doing what they want to in the present?
Matt Freedman: Great question. I may be unique in this mindset, but I feel very stalked constantly but our own mortality. I’m very blessed and incredibly grateful for all I have in my life — two beautiful daughters, a wife who supports all of these efforts, and a really great life. However, for me, I constantly feel that I need to leave these songs behind as my legacy to my daughters, and to anyone willing to listen. I think people get in their own way when it comes to pursuing something. The fear of failure, embarrassment, falling short, etc. Once you can get out of your own way to put in the work and take what you want rather than letting come to you, everything changes. You realize that nothing is going to be handed to you, regardless of your talent. I can very honestly say I’m the least talented person every time I walk into a recording studio, a gig, a writers’ round or a co-write in Nashville. I’d never want it any other way. To those who think they can wait, sit on their ideas and ONE DAY it will happen, I can assure you the only way it WILL happen is if you make it happen. Period. No short cuts, no cutting corners. Gotta put in the work, and the journey becomes the destination.
You’re also a part of the Nashville country music scene. What are some of the advantages and/or challenges to being a part of this country scene, compared to other prominent country scenes across the globe? How has it impacted your career/musical sound?
Matt Freedman: Nashville has my heart, forever. The community, the people, and the HUSTLE. It’s absolutely infectious. I’ve been a musician and songwriter for over 15 years, and nowhere else in the world has a more dense population of creative, talented, and GRITTY people. It’s a scene that’s accepted me, and every day I still work extremely hard to make connections — and to ALWAYS pay it forward to help anyone in any way that I can. Whether with a co-write, a social post, a charity event or to make donations at all of my shows. There are certainly other scenes around the globe, and I’m incredibly proud to continue to build the Philadelphia country scene – my hometown!
Kyla Pearson: Looking back, 2020 was a challenging time for many and it especially hit the entertainment/music industry harder than most. What was one lesson you learnt in light of the pandemic that has helped you grow as both an artist and an individual? What is one opportunity you had that you may not have had under normal conditions?
Matt Freedman: I don’t think I’d be talking to you today without the pandemic. It gave me pause to really recalibrate what was important to me. After years of working corporate and startup jobs to pay the bills, my wife finally said to me “You’re a better person when you’re playing music.” That really stuck with me and made me realize that I need to prioritize music for the remainder of my days on this planet and to show my two young daughters what it means to grind your ass off to chase your dream, whatever that dream may be.
Kyla Pearson: With live music starting to be a reality once again as lockdown restrictions begin to lift, what is one venue or show you’re looking to perform at and share your new single with your fans? What live shows do you have coming up that fans can catch?
Matt Freedman: Live music is the best thing in the world. I’m so fulfilled when I play and watch live music. To me, other than being in the studio or a writing room it’s the most magical place on earth. I’ve been playing a ton of shows in the Philadelphia area, and hope to continue to build the region with original country music and more musicians here. Two dream stages for me right now are @WhiskeyJam and @Listeningroomcafe. I’ve visited both and absolutely blew my mind with the talent, and more so the commitment that the venues make to promoting and cultivating original country music for songwriters and artists. To me, what guys like Ward Guenther are doing for music is absolutely the most important thing happening in the entire music industry today.
Kyla Pearson: Lastly, what is one goal you hope to achieve by the end year? Do you plan on releasing new music other than “One of These Days”?
Matt Freedman: Absolutely! My goal is to have two EP’s out by the end of the year, both of which are almost complete! I also would love to get some song placements with artists all over the world to continue to write with amazing songwriters, like yourself Kyla!
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Freedman, Matt. Interview. Conducted by Kyla Pearson, Jul 7 2021.
Unknown.“Official cover art for Matt Freedman’s debut single, ‘One of These Days’ ”. Photo courtesy of Matt Freedman. Accessed Jul 7 2021.