Local Spotlight: Matt Kahler

By Angelica Cabral


Matt Kahler is the voice of the streets of Phoenix. Twice I have happened to see him performing and twice I have been in awe of the gentleness of his voice and the way it blended it in with the ongoing world around him, while simultaneously drawing in listeners.

I met up with the pre-business sophomore at LUX Coffee in Phoenix a couple of weeks ago and here are some of the highlights of the interview.

How did you get your start in music?

Well, I took piano for a couple years, from 8 years old to 10 and then started guitar because I thought that would be cooler and I just kind of fell in love with that. Actually, Green Day made me want to start making music…I got older and I got more serious about it and started playing around Phoenix, anything I could get for the past three years.

Are you in college right now?

I am, I’m actually down at UofA, but I’m up a lot here for music opportunities. I’m actually transferring to ASU second semester.

How does your major and being in college fit in with your music life?

It hasn’t been too difficult to keep the two aligned. I’m really passionate about music, so that’s always kind of up front. I think it helps staying busy with other things. In terms of the writing process, it helps to have other things going on in life that you can actually write about, instead of sitting around trying to write from a couch all day. So, it works out.

I looked up your music and I saw you do a lot of covers; can you talk about that a little bit? What do you like about doing covers?

I think for live shows at least, they’re a great way to pull people in, get people to perk up their ears a little bit at a song that they recognize or hear maybe that I’m doing it a little bit differently than the original artist does it, put a style on it. I like recording them to kind of break it up a little bit even on social media, to have other things that people will know, other than my originals. Sometimes I’ll sit down and record a cover if I don’t have a song written to record at that time and I just want to knock out a recording.

Do you have a favorite song that you’ve covered?

That’s tough…”You Need Me, I Don’t Need You” by Ed Sheeran is always fun to do live. “The Ignition Remix” by R. Kelly is a classic that’ll get some requests every once in a while.

So, you’re EP came out kind of recently, could you talk a little bit about that; the process of making it?

So, that was just an independent decision that I made. I wanted to put something out officially, up to that point it had been all home recordings and things that I’d done on my own in my bedroom. I thought it was kind of time to do something a little professional. That was sort of a first attempt at making a bit of a foray into the studio scene. I actually recorded at a studio in Phoenix, North Phoenix, over the summer, last year…I put together four songs in the studio there. Now it’s kind of cool to say that I’m on ITunes, even if I’m always growing and now kind of shying away from that record.

What do you see for the future? What’s next?

Currently, I am working with an artist development company that I was introduced to through Capitol Records. Actually, I did a Skype interview with Capitol and they referred me to this artist development company based in Florida and LA. Right now I’m in the beginning stages of this process…In the near future I’m going to be recording in either LA or Nashville, putting together an EP, maybe an album. Then, taking that to record labels as a product to pitch to them. That’s kind of the next few years’ game plan. Right now I’m really focusing on songwriting and performing at places.

Where can people catch you performing?

Pretty consistently at Tempe Marketplace and Desert Ridge Marketplace. Old Town Scottsdale now that winter is done…I tweet about the upcoming shows and stuff on twitter.

You can follow Matt Kahler on Twitter @MattKahlerMusic or go to Matt Kahler Music on SoundCloud to hear his music.