The Exclusive Interview With Serena Matthews!
By Billy Donald, Rock Interviews [01-06-2004]
Tennessee born and bred singer/songwriter Serena Matthews has been waiting for the opportunity to let the world hear her music, and she recently had the great fortune of doing so through www.soulcitycafe.com Serena was kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions about her great musical adventure to this point!
[Billy Donald] Serena, thank you so much for taking the time to join us here for this interview! I just wanted to start of by congratulating you for getting a place in the spotlight of Soul City Cafe! Tell me about your thoughts on this golden opportunity to finally have your music heard by such a wide audience!
Serena Matthews It is truly an honor to be the first "Be Soul City" featured Insider. I still can't believe they picked me to be the first. There are so very many talented artists in Soul City, and I can't wait to see who will be featured in the coming months. (I do have some guesses!)
[Billy Donald] How did you go about getting the wheels in motion as far as submitting your material to Soul City Cafe?
Serena Matthews Actually, I never did submit anything to them, they called me one day in December and asked for my permission to do the feature, and naturally I gave them a very enthusiastic YES! They said they felt badly that I wasn't able to enter Jewel's song contest because I live in Tennessee. It was a blessing to receive that call. I'm kind of happy that I couldn't enter the contest now!
[Billy Donald] For those unsigned or undiscovered talents that may be out there reading this interview right now, can you tell us how Soul City Cafe has helped you to forward your musical career, and how it can do the same for them?
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Serena Matthews Most importantly it has given me a newfound determination to advance forward with my music. Knowing that the Soul City Cafe community believes in my work is such a spirit booster and motivator. I would tell any artist that the first step to advancing forward in their music career is simply believing in their heart that they can do exactly that. Everything else will fall into place when the time is right, so don't rush it, just enjoy the ride.
[Billy Donald] You were born and raised very nearby me in one of my favorite places in the world, Tennessee, so you have the great fortune of being around a huge music scene in Nashville. Can you tell us about the music listeners that come out to see you perform in the city? Is it a good, supportive musical town in your opinion?
Serena Matthews I can't imagine a city other than Nashville where the listeners are more supportive, especially to folk and acoustic musicians. I think every songwriter should play in Nashville at least once in their life, even if it's just for the sake of saying, "Yeah, I played in Nashville once." Haha! But seriously, there are good and bad places just like in any other town. I would recommend hitting the open mic at The Bluebird Cafe on Monday nights to anyone who is trying to get their foot into the door in the Nashville music scene. Listeners are actually told by other listeners to be quiet if they talk to loudly during a writer's performance. It's all about the music there.
[Billy Donald] Your Homemade CD Sampler has become a hot seller for you all of a sudden and hey, at $5.00 a CD, a great value for the pure, honest music that is on it! Can you tell our readers about this CD that you recorded and produced yourself?
Serena Matthews Sure thing! (And thanks!) The CD is autographed and contains just over 20 of my songs recorded at my home from 2001-2003. It was originally offered to fans who would write to me seeking a way to buy one of my CDs without a credit card. For a long time I offered the homemade version for free, but as requests began to happen more frequently, I just couldn't afford to send them for free anymore, so I charge $5 to cover postage and CD costs.
[Billy Donald] I know that you are now working on your first official album at this time. What is the progress of the album, and how has the experience of going in the studio to record the album opened your eyes about the music industry?
Serena Matthews The studio album is coming along very well, and I hope to have it in music stores by summer of 2004. (I'm taking my time with it, as I want it to be very good!) It will contain several of the songs from my homemade sampler, but they will be newly recorded and mastered, and I will also have the help of some other very talented musicians on some of the songs. All in all I am very excited to bring this album out to the rest of the world, and I can only hope that people continue to listen to my songs as I move forward in my career.
[Billy Donald] I did want to mention that you are a very strong supporter of Animal Rights, which I think is wonderful. It truly is something I believe very strongly in myself. Can you tell us about some of your favorite organizations out there?
Serena Matthews Absolutely! To name just several of the organizations I support, I would have to include People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), The World Wildlife Foundation, The Fund for Animals, The World Society for the Protection of Animals, The Humane Society, United Poultry Concerns, Last Chance for Animals, Farm Sanctuary, The Elephant Sanctuary, and Greenpeace. I could go on and on and on, so if you would like to see a more comprehensive list, please visit the animal rights page on my website. Thanks so much! Also, please don't forget to check out my charities page, as well.
[Billy Donald] Serena, I want to thank you so much for taking the time to join us here once again! I want to wish you the very best of success with all of your future musical projects, and I hope we can have you back here again soon! In closing here, do you have any messages that you would like to pass on to our readers here?
Serena Matthews Thanks so much, Billy, it was absolutely a pleasure to join you and your readers here today. I would be happy to come back and do it again anytime. To your readers I would love to say thanks to each of you for checking out this interview, and I hope that people will continue to support the music of independent singers and songwriters around the world. Thanks again, and keep in touch!
For more information about Serena Matthews, visit her website at www.serenamatthews.com
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