Interview with Matt Goss

Matt Goss has been making music for most of his life. From his pop career with his brother in the 80’s to his soon-to-be released solo album, Goss has transformed his style and genre. The crooner has been selling out shows in Vegas for the past five years, and he is looking forward to the release of his swing album. He’s got a soothing voice, incredible talent, and an authentic vibe. You can catch him at the Caesars Palace in Vegas, and you can pre-order his full length album Life You Imagine on iTunes, which will be released April 29.

Cliché: How did you first find a love for swing music?
Matt Goss: When I was young, my grandfather would always play swing—Nat King Cole and Sinatra—and it was always unforgettable. For me, I always had such fun memories of that music. It always made me feel calm and like I was home. There’s also an eloquence about it. My grandfather was a gunner in the Second World War, and he just loved that music. He and I would sit with a beer and just listen to the music. So, that’s where it originally came from. I also started getting into the Rat Pack and the way they looked, so I’ve always had a love for that.

 You have a show in Vegas. How’s that going for you?
This is my fifth year in Vegas, and we are pretty much one hundred percent reviewed with shows selling out, so I’m very proud of it. It’s great. I mean, the show is very energetic, and it’s not just lounging. It’s got a ton of energy with a nine-piece band. There are 14 people on stage with my dancers. It’s a sexy show; what you see is what you get. It’s all live music, and we base the performance around the music and my arrangements. People always come out feeling great, and I’m very proud of it.

Since you’ve been there for five years, are you planning on sticking around for some time longer?
Yeah, I do. I mean, I like singing on a regular basis and connecting with a new and old audience. The people that know me have seen me around the world, and I’m gaining a new audience in America which is really exciting for me. It’s fun hearing about people that didn’t know me and now do, and then some people have known me for so long, and then they come to the show. I love performing in Vegas.

At the shows, do you mix some old classics with your original compositions?
Yeah, I do. I do a lot of different stuff. I do a swing version of “Hotel California,” which is one of my favorite parts of the show. I do a lot of original stuff as well. It all seems to flow together nicely. It’s a two-hour show, but it whizzes by. By the end of the show, people are always up on their feet.

Is there another cover you like to perform often?
I love singing “Feeling Good.” That’s one of my favorites because we do a swing, hip-hop version. It’s a lot darker and more sexual. It’s very engaging, sensual, soulful, and edgy. I put a lot of thought into my arrangements.

How was working on your full-length album?
Out of all the records I made, it took two years to make, and it’s all authentic. If you look at the EP and the song “I Do,” I’m very proud of writing that song. I worked with Ron Fair (who has worked with Lady Gaga, the Black Eyed Peas, Mary J). He’s really a profound producer who gave the album life. With that song, there’s over 100 musicians involved because we had a full orchestra. When you hear all of the strings, and you hear the horns, that’s a 27-piece horn section. That’s what I wanted it to be; I wanted it to be authentic. It’s real music.

Is the album all original songs or are you including covers as well?
They are all original compositions. There are so many people who redo old songs that they kind of create albums of all covers. I mean, I love covers and would love to do one of covers, but I really wanted to write my own. My song “Mustang” comes from a personal place, and I wanted to have some connection between me and my audience when it comes to the authenticity of where my songs are coming from. I think if you want to write a new record, it’s nice that the audience knows that you’re singing a song that came from the heart. I’m proud that the album is fully original compositions.

Where do you turn to for inspiration?
Always my heart. My heart governs my mind most of the time. When I say my heart, it’s my life. Something that may happen in my life may have direct tie to something I write about. When you’re trying to parent your emotions when writing a song, you can’t usually go wrong.
Aside from the release of the album, what else are you looking forward to for the rest of the year?
I have a live, hour-long HSN special which will air April 20. It’s beautifully shot. I just signed a TV deal for a TV show we are working on. There is so much I’m working on, but for me, it’s all about the music and working to gain a new audience. People really seem to love the new album.
Photo: Lauren Dukoff
Matt Goss Interview “Swinging On” originally appeared in Cliché Magazine’s April/May 2014 issue.

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