The Rayflector

Finding Your Voice

Years after Matt McAndrew first took the stage on The Voice, he’s still searching for his own.

Rae Deboe, Editor-In-Chief

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It is noon on a Sunday in October. The air is freezing in the room in which I sit as I start a Skype call to Matt McAndrew.

A week after asking him for an interview, the face of the season seven runner up of The Voice fills my computer screen.

After some niceties (“Thank you so much for doing this!”), McAndrew begins to discuss his most recent single, “Game Over.”

“Tripped on love/Just my luck/On my lips/Into my blood,” McAndrew sang in the track.

The song’s accompanying video is staged in a club, bringing more life to the already engaging track, contrasting the melodramatic title.

“Like I was saying in different interviews, it’s like, ‘Oh, so this song’s called Game Over and it’s about a relationship,’ people automatically think it’s gonna be negative. So even just having that kind of image… and with all the visuals, just trying to amplify what was in the audio. The kind of feeling that I was getting from the song. It’s just all about that vibe,” McAndrew explained.

We discuss McAndrew’s time on The Voice, including some of the lessons he was able to learn from other competitors and his coach, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine.

“I feel like [Adam Levine]’s somebody that I’ve just kinda looked at as a role model and just to see how he does a lot of different things… from the way he performs to the way he sings.  I was really nervous in the beginning. Even people who are really seasoned performers – and I had performed a lot – there’s nothing that prepares you for that. It’s like an audition on top being on TV, and I was really nervous, but he kinda had this super, kinda laid back, like… just like ‘What, man, you’re nervous? Don’t be [expletive] nervous!’ And I was just like, ‘Oh, cool, okay, just don’t be nervous.’ That really helped because he was so laid back about it,” McAndrew said.

While the consideration of his time on the show is interesting, it’s his thoughts on modern music and its interpretation in the mainstream that most intrigued me.

“It’s always fun to see the reactions of people,” McAndrew muses as he discusses upcoming releases. “We live in a time where Migos wins Best Pop/Rock Group [at the American Music Awards].”

Unable to stop myself, I actually chuckle, muttering, “We don’t talk about that.”

McAndrew, though, shut me down quickly. “No, let’s talk about it! Everybody’s talking about how ‘there are no genres anymore,’ and that’s not something I realised would affect awards.”

We mention Post Malone, who clearly draws influence from pop, electronic, rock, and rap music while vehemently refusing to identify as a rapper. It is artists such as these, McAndrew believes, who continue to push the envelope of what music is and what it has the potential to become.

This shift in the public mentality affects artists such as McAndrew, whose style is ever changing and evolving.

“One song I put out isn’t indicative of the body of work,” McAndrew explained.

Going through the YouTube comments under the “Game Over” music video, some users explain how unhappy they are with the electronic track.

“If you’re disappointed with how poppy ‘Game Over’ is,” McAndrew said calmly, “were you really even paying attention [to my earlier work]? Don’t be worried if I put out a song and you’re like, ‘I don’t like it.’ Try to think of Matt McAndrew as a label that is capable of doing a lot of different things. You’ll probably like one of them.”

Listeners who allow their opinions to change are the ones whose perspectives mean the most. Their initial reactions become obsolete as the true meaning becomes more clear and their appreciation builds.

That’s the type of fanbase McAndrew is seeking.

While his time on The Voice allowed him to gain popularity, his true stardom is only beginning. As his number of dedicated fans grows, so does his determination to keep releasing music that he loves.

That’s end game.

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Finding Your Voice