By Rebecca Belt
MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST and singer-songwriter Matt Cornell is stepping firmly into the country music spotlight with his new album, My Soundtrack, released Friday, March 24.
The Sydney artist said this was the first album that truly represented who he was as an artist.
Although this is Cornell’s fourth record and second country release, My Soundtrack cements who he is as an artist and as a person and he wrote or co-wrote all but one song on the album in two months.
“It was a crazy eight weeks, writing most days. Sometimes I was literally coming up with concepts and ideas to write about whilst driving to the writing sessions.”
In This Town, written with Allan Caswell, was the first single released from the album last year. Cornell drew on his experiences of travelling through country towns for the song. It tells the story of two characters – a retired old boxer and a young widowed mother who lost her husband in Iraq.
The singer-songwriter has found his home in country music thanks to advice from good mate, Adam Brand.
“Adam, after hearing my 2011 album, Out Of Suburbia, said to me, ‘you don’t know it, but your songs are already country’, as he pointed out I tell stories through my songs; songs about the ups and downs of life. ‘That’s country’, Adam said.” The Sydney artist has been warmly welcomed into the country music fold, being a 2014 CMC Music Awards New Oz Artist of the Year finalist, and has been nominated again, this time for Male Artist Of The Year at the 2017 CMC Music Awards. Cornell also enjoyed eight weeks in the No. 1 spot on the iTunes Country Chart as part of Adam Brand & The Outlaws.
It is the title track that defines this album. Written with Drew McAlister and Allan Caswell, it tells the story of the songs, bands and artists that Cornell grew up on. There’s even mention of a Richard Marx song, who Cornell supported on his 2016 national tour.
“I grew up on 80s music, as well as lots of albums from my parents’ vinyl collection. They would go on to define me as a musician and as an artist. When I hear a particular song, I can remember a particular time of my life.”
Cornell also wrote with good mate and Golden Guitar winner Damien Leith.
“I toured in Damien’s band shortly after he won Idol – that was ten years ago. Although we go way back, we’d never written together, so we finally made it happen, and ‘Rest Of Our Lives’ was born. There’s two love stories in this song, the couple mentioned, and the town they’re from.”
The one heartbreak track came from Cornell’s personal experience sixteen months ago close to Christmas. He described Unbreak My Heart as one of the most raw and honest songs he’d ever written.
“This song is highly personal for me, I started writing it at a time when I was as flat and heartbroken as you could be. It was close to two years ago now so the scars have healed, but out of that experience came this song, and I’m so proud of it.”
My Soundtrack is an album full of positivity, though, and Cornell wants people to take it on the road with them.
“It’s a great road trip album. Every track has a message with an infectious feel-good nature permeating the sound and stories.”
Cornell is currently on the road with Adam Brand’s Get On Your Feet tour, opening with Gemma Kirby, and performing a songs from My Soundtrack.
“Playing live and touring is a great way to build my fanbase, make new friends, and connect with people through my songs.”
My Soundtrack is released on March 24 and launched at The Bridge Hotel in Rozelle, Sydney, on March 29.