Matt Cusson: Going Along
AAJ: Tell me about the journey to record Matt Cusson.
MC: It was long, short, difficult, easy, miserable, happy, dead, alive, everything. Not to get too artsy but it really was a long and winding road. Very overdue. I started most of the songs out in my house, or apartment, I seemed to be living someplace new almost every few months. Then as each song slowly came to life, I brought in other players and singers who I thought could take the song and bring it to where I wanted it to go. Although I didn't go all the way there with this record, I'm almost glad because it really shows who I am as a musician. I think the first song I wrote was "Heaven," which I wrote about five or six years ago. Then all the stuff in between, and ending the recording by doing the "A cappella Interlude" literally a day or two before getting it all mastered. It was a fun journey at the end of the day.
AAJ: Tell me about the songs.
MC: Each song has a story to it. There are a lot of slow songs on this record but they really reflected what I was going through up until the release. "Every Step" was the last full song we recorded for the album, I had just gotten out of a heart-wrenching break up, and that song literally was finished in a few days, outside of the horns and guitars. Each line in that song is significant in that the person I wrote it for will understand each word. So be careful what you say to me, I may just throw it in a song. "Here's To You and Me" is a song I wrote for my parents, it's basically about having gone through the years and years of ups and downs and struggles of a relationship based on true love, and then looking back on it all. "One of Those Nights" I wrote at a very difficult time in my life. It took me a really long time to write, but it was worth the wait, I think. "Once Upon A Time" was a song I wrote for my three nieces, Carla, Kaitlyn and Kristina. As I said though, each song has a story to it, I write about my experiences, things that happen around me, or whatever I'm feeling at the moment.
AAJ: The collaborations, why them?
MC: Bill Myers is one of the most amazing musicians I've ever met. To have him arrange "Could" was an honor and dream come true. When I heard he was interested in helping out, I jumped right on it. He was amazing to work with. Shoshana Bean, easily one of my favorite singers in the industry and also one of my best friends. Having her sing on "Could" just made a lot of sense. That song was recorded by Brian McKnight on his Anytime (Mercury, 1997) album, and Shoshana and I met because we were both working with Brian awhile back. Javier is one of my best friends and one of my favorite artists out there now. I had to get him on a song somewhere on the CD. Not only is he singing "Same Old Song" with me, but he also helped out on the hand claps in "Every Step" [laughs].
AAJ: Working with Brian McKnight.
MC: [A] dream come true and an everyday music lesson. I never stop learning from him or being amazed by his ability. We're currently now doing The Brian McKnight Show, which has me playing with artists such as Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson. Brian has made a lot of my dreams come true, and I've gotten to see the world because of him. He is, to this day, one of the most talented artists I've ever heard, having him as a musical mentor has been an experience I wouldn't trade for anything.
AAJ: Tell me about performing live. And Europe, Asia, everything...
MC: There's nothing like going to a strange land and performing. I've been very blessed to have had the opportunity to travel the world for music's sake. Live, I try to make the audience feel at home, it's almost as if they're in my living room with me sitting at the piano, and we're just hanging and playing music together. The fans in Europe and Asia are incredibly loyal and supportive. Not that the American audience isn't, but traveling to those other places for the first time, I didn't know what to expect. It was a beautiful thing to hear the audiences all across the world singing the lyrics.
AAJ: Something important to you.
MC: Everyone and everything along the way that made me who I am. Most of all my family, who has given me endless support and life lessons.
Matt Cusson, Matt Cusson (Cuesound Records, 2008)
Shoshana Bean, Superhero (Shotime, 2008)
Donavon, Pass It Around (Universal Australia, 2008)
Brian McKnight, I'll Be Home for Christmas (Razor & Tie, 2008)
Cupid, Time for a Change (Atlantic, 2007)