Lyrics to Starfire
There is one last step I need to take
to be in your garden.
And that one step I need to take
is I need to be honest
and say I love you.
- Rodney McCarter of Mathis Grey
It wasn't until middle school that music came into his life in the form of an instrument. But not in the form you might expect from the kind of music that is in his life today. He started playing the trombone in the school band. Definitely wasn't his favorite of instruments, but he was able to learn to read music and play. He realized years later that he was actually really good at it. He didn't write music back then, but he started writing poetry which he stated he really liked to do. It was an outlet of sorts for him but at the time he said he didn't really know what to do with it.
Life took a turn for Rodney in his late teen years. He said he could remember it like it was yesterday. He and his friends were in the parking lot of Walmart when Metallica's song "One" came on the radio. He couldn't believe what he was hearing. This was the beginning for him and his undying love for music. This prompted him to go out and buy his first guitar. He said at one point in the interview, "I still remember the feeling of buying that guitar. It was electric, which is totally different from what I play now. I think about sometimes what my life would be like had I never bought that guitar. I can't imagine doing anything but what I'm doing right now with my music".
After buying his first guitar he started his first band. Rodney and a few friends got together and started a garage band. He said, "It was really loud and really awful (laughter) but it was a lot of fun. Our bass player never learned how to play bass and we just never really got it together. We played one show and it was in the garage of one of my friend's and her mom was our only audience. But we had fun with it".
Rodney then switched to a softer sound that is much more comparable to his sound today. He took classical guitar lessons at Indiana-Purdue University. "This helped me get really comfortable and familiar with playing the guitar. I stopped the lessons and kind of went out on my own when I knew I wanted to write my own music".
He started playing small coffee houses and restaurants. His first show was at the restaurant Laguna Grill. There was no PA system so he had to sit on his amplifier as he played for his audience. He said, "I can still remember that. It wasn't ideal but it was good enough. I think I walked away with $25 that night". He knew this was exactly what he wanted to be doing. This was where Mathis Grey, his stage name was born.
When asked if he got nervous playing in front of an audience he said, "I get more nervous playing in front of people I know. If it's an audience of people I don't know I'm not nervous at all. Not really sure why but that's just how it is".
"It hasn't been easy trying to jump start a career in music," stated Rodney, "but, I couldn't imagine doing anything else. There is just something about writing and creating something that is so personal and then getting up and playing it in front of an audience. Even if my music connects with just one person at a show that is good enough for me".
Rodney's major musical influence right now is Grant Lee Phillips. He also listens to classical music and R&B. "Everybody loves music. That's the really cool thing about it. There isn't one person in the world that doesn't like music. It might not be the same kind of music but they love it all the same. I like to listen to all types of music. I just love it". Mathis Grey's style of music has a soft, slow driven melodic feel. Rodney is very much into storytelling through his lyrics. He says the lyrics are the heart of his music.
Fourteen years later, life is much different now for Rodney. He is touring across the country with other musicians with his label Crush House Entertainment. "We just finished a tour going from Indiana all the way out to California. That was the longest tour I've been on. It's interesting to play shows where people don't know you or your music but by the end of the show they are connected and really getting into the music. Our second leg of the tour which will be out East will start this Fall".
Rodney's favorite show so far was in Chicago at the Hard Rock Cafe. "It was the coolest place I've played. The audience was great and things just felt really real to me at that point. I've been doing this for a long time now and I just feel like now is my time. It's happening I can feel it".
I asked Rodney at the end of the interview for advice he could give to anyone who has the desire to fulfill their dream. These are his words, "Just go for it. And DON'T give up. When people tell you that you can't do something, and you love what you're doing, do it anyway. Just don't give up. Because when you start doing what you love, it can take you places you've never been before".
I am so grateful Rodney took the time to share his story and his journey. Anything is possible in life if you love enough and are determined. Follow Rodney on Twitter @MathisGrey. You can also find him at http://mathisgrey.wordpress.com/ or http://m.soundcloud.com/mathisgrey or http://mathisgrey.bandcamp.com/. Look for Mathis Grey's new single "Starfire" to be released this Tuesday, May 14, 2013 on iTunes and amazon.com. Join him in Chicago this Thursday, May, 16, 2013 as he plays another show at the Hard Rock Cafe at 10pm!
As always with love,
P.S. Follow me on Twitter @jfremion.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or questions.
Copyright 2013. Jennifer Fremion. All rights reserved.