Interview: Cortney Matz

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This week, Becky Murdoch got to talk to the multi-talented Cortney Matz about the importance of music and how that reflects God in her life.

Q: What do you do, as an artist and for a living?

A: My eyes are bigger than my stomach in my desire to be in the world doing different things. I think this is the first time in my life that I am allowing myself to do everything that I like, so that’s cool. I am a freelance social media marketer, I’m a writer and producer for a web-series I’m currently developing, and I am a singer/songwriter. I also have a side business catering; I like making food.

The newest thing is singer/songwriter. I mean I’ve been writing and singing most of my life, but as a career track, it’s new. It was probably my late teens when the desire to write songs started to kick in and have been doing that in my own private time for a long, long time. It’s only been in the last few months that I started to really try to get out there with my songs, singing and playing publicly, outside of church. It’s always just been a church thing because I grew up in church and I kinda felt like “God gave me this gift and it must be for church.” But that’s not necessarily true. Music has such a way of being a channel for communicating a lot of truth about life, actually a lot of the songs I write are about life. Especially since moving to L.A., I have a song that just talks about having too much to do and being overwhelmed and just cheering myself on to keep going. Things like that – it’s just normal everyday stuff but it gets a little more poetic when you sing about it.

Q: How does music echo how you feel about God?

A: Music is, I think, a deep thing, something that touches on the parts of your soul, your spirit and your emotions that you can’t even rationally think about. I think everybody experiences that to a certain extent. But for me, I think music is a collaboration – when I play, when I sing, when I’m writing, I don’t always know what’s going to happen next, and I like that. It’s exciting to me to just sit down and start. There’s a lot of improvisation in what I do, even when I’m performing I’m finding that I’m improvising, which can be a little frightening. It’s that sense that, I’m just hanging this out there and trusting that God is going to meet me on either side of it.

He generally does – I mean, there are times when I definitely need to practice and cultivate that sense of collaboration and waiting for Gods’ voice and then responding to what He’s telling me to say. Not specifically telling me, but you always start a song or start playing anything with some intention. So for me to just be able to go out there and say I want this thing and know that this is what’s in my heart and on my mind and trust that the words are going to come or that I just might have to play it out – just play the notes. So I think of that experience, of creating and even just listening to music, as an experience of God speaking to the deep parts of us. Some ways are really meaningful, and some ways are really just fun, so you get up and dance and be carefree. It’s exciting but it’s always more than what you can see or feel or taste or touch. It’s a bigger understanding of the world.

Also, I think there’s something about sharing music with other people. You know, when you hear a great song or something has really moved you, you can’t wait to tell someone else about it. With the advent of Facebook and other social media sites you see a lot of music and dance and things like that because someone was moved to share it, “Oh this piece really moved me!” or “This was really unique spin on a classic tune.” To be able to have that opportunity to experience it, whether you are right there with them or not, is great. I remember being younger and just having my friends over to listen to music, or being in the car and your favorite song comes on and you crank it up and both rock out to it. There’s just that sense of camaraderie and fellowship in being able to share something that speaks to both of you in a way you can’t quantify. Sometimes it’s fun to try to figure out what’s so great about a song.

So music, to me, is a profound experience, and it’s just so fun to make, and it’s awesome to have in your life. And I love that we live in a time where we can listen to it whenever we want. I mean, we don’t have to lug around a phonograph or go to a live performance, though live performances are still wonderful. I just went to a symphony; the Santa Monica Symphony is doing their free concert series right now. I totally recommend going down and listening – it’s really exciting to hear music live, and it’s cool to perform it and be able to offer that to other people who might not have the opportunity to hear it live. It’s just awesome that we can hear it whenever we like and we can carry it around with us in a little tiny device. And we have Pandora and Spotify that will introduce you to new music. There are so many opportunities to be exposed to other types of music and explore music from across the ages.

Q: What are you reading, watching and listening to?

A: I always have like five books going; I love to read. I have a few screenplays from friends I’m reading. I’m reading a book about Rich Mullins, one of my favorite music people, called An Arrow Pointing to Heaven. It’s a biography about his life, but also has commentary about his songs. I’m very slowly making my way through that. I’m also reading Bill Bryson’s, At Home. It’s a book about the history of the modern house and why we live the way we do. It’s pretty fascinating.

I love movies, but I have not actually watched one in a while. I did watch Pitch Perfect with some friends the other day. I love that movie. It’s kind of a guilty pleasure, but it’s fun, and the music is really good.

I’m always listening to The Weepies, probably almost every day. They are a husband/wife folk, pop-type duo. I love Rich Mullins. And then just listening to my friends’ music, because they’re really good. Melody Michalski, Charles McDonald – check them out. I’ve been playing a lot of my own songs lately, so I’m listening to my own music I guess you could say.

To learn more about Cortney Matz visit her website.


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