Matt O’Ree is undoubtedly one of the best guitarists of our time. Within a short period, the New Jersey rock and roll artist has made many records. Teaming up with Bruce Springsteen, Matt’s released a spectacular single “Black Boots.” In this interview, the American singer shared with us his success story and what it was like working with the rock and roll legend himself.
Matt O’Ree’s Early Years
Matt started his musical career in 1994 as a rock and roll artist when he formed his guitar band, Matt O’Ree Band. The American singer and rock and roll artist released his first album, 88 miles in 1998. But his road to stardom started in 2005 after his third album “Shelf Life” came out. Shelf Life also got a feature in Guitar World Magazine and won four Asbury Park Music Awards. The album won in the following categories: Best Blues Band, Best Guitarist, Best Local Release, and Best Song of the year. Since then, Matt’s profile keeps rising rapidly. The immensity of his talent is hard to put into words and he was only just starting out.
How Matt Became King Of The Blues
In 2006, the highly talented American singer and rock and roll artist competed with over 4000 other guitarists in the Guitamageddon “King of the Blues” guitar contest organized by the Guitar Center and Guitar World Magazine. It was hosted by BB King and John Mayer. Matt won the grand prize. That gave the rock and roll artist the boost he needed to aim even higher. He eventually became famous, performing at several red carpet events. But before then, many other events also happened that redefined the story of this American singer.
Enter Bruce Springsteen
Having grown up in New Jersey, it was his dream to play alongside legendary guitarists like Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. Fortunately, Matt didn’t have to wait that long for this dream to come true. He got the first opportunity to be close with the big boss when Mrs. Springsteen approached him after he won the 2006 King of the blues guitar contest competition.
She wanted him to include her son in the list of his guitar students. That brought Matt close to the Springsteen family. Matt’s got advice from Bernie Brausewetter after winning the 2006 competition. His late mentor told him to add helping kids play guitar as an additional skill in his career. He said this will allow him to earn, share his knowledge, and be available for gigs whenever there is an offer.
So the rock and roll artist started teaching guitar classes. On one occasion, when Matt was teaching Sam Springsteen, the son of the legendary Bruce Springsteen, Sam got hold of one of Matt’s songs and later played it to his father who loved it. Both Matt and Bruce Springsteen discussed the song, and Matt asked if Springsteen would want to be a part of the song. Springsteen loved the idea. The song turned out to be the popular single “Black Boots”. But before it became a reality, another important event took place in Matt life.
The 2015 Asian Tour
In 2015, Jon Bon Jovi announced that Matt would be a part of his team for an Asian tour. That was a big moment in Matt’s life and career. The opportunity to be a part of a world-class band, tour across different countries, and walk on the red carpet doesn’t come to everyone. The tour began in September 2015 with Matt joining others to sing to an audience of 45,000 people. At the tour, the American singer witnessed a big crowd of 70,000 people.
To be part of the tour, Matt was introduced to Bon Jovi by a friend and Bon Jovi band’s keyboardist David Bryan. After the tour, the relationship between Matt and Dave became even stronger. By then, Matt had been very busy with his fifth album, “Brotherhood.” Dave Bryan eventually contributed to writing the content of the album. Matt and Dave Bryan co-wrote “My Everything is You.”
By 2016, Matt released the album that he co-wrote with Dave Bryan. Moreover, another track co-written with Jon Leidersdorff of the Lake House Music and featuring Bruce Springsteen and also Steve Cropper was also published. However, the single Black Boots, that featured Springsteen, became a major hit.
According to the American singer, the album took him about two years to perfect and many years to plan. But the journey leading up to the release of the song started even well before the recording started. Perhaps, it could be traced back to 2008 when the rock and roll artist met John Leaders, an artist and music producer. Leaders wanted him to record an album in his studio, Lake House Music. There he met Hubert who agreed to play one of Matt’s songs and things kind of just snowballed from there.
Matt O’Ree On Recording Brotherhood & Music Gear
During the interview, we asked Matt O’Ree to talk a little bit about his process of recording his new CD Brotherhood. Matt told us that he used his trainwreck amps to record the entire record. He mentions having a blast doing it. “Guitars that I used were my custom shop, Gibson Les Pauls, and custom made double-neck 12/6-string guitar, Danelectro 6-string, and a D45 Martin acoustic.”
He further stated, “there’s a song called “Life” where I used my 1969 Univibe pedal. Jimi used this a ton for the last year of his career. I used it on the solo section and it just really made the song happen. Episode 9 is completely about this unit. That was a really fun episode for me.”
Beyond Black Boots
Matt single with Bruce Springsteen, “Black Boots” became quite popular right after its release. We asked Matt whether he had another favorite on the album. He said having Bruce Springsteen sing the song with him was super cool. “The other song I love is the closing track, “December Gray”. I love the composition on that one and all the layered guitar tracks I did on it. It has an emotional feel to it”. We totally agree with Matt on that one.
Matt says it’s always great to work with other artists. “Especially guys like Bruce, David, and Steve! They all added so much that it made the songs even better. Their talents shine on those tracks—a real honor for me”.
All of us at dHarmic Evolution had an amazing time listening to Matt talk about his experience with music as a career, his awards, his red carpet treatments, and his achievements. We were also quite delighted to hear him talk about his GearTutorial video series and most importantly, his successful album Brotherhood. We couldn’t recommend that album enough! Listen to the full podcast with Matt O’Ree at dHarmic Evolution.
Get In Touch
Matt O’Ree’s music career is anything but ordinary. From winning guitar competitions to landing red carpet gigs and teaching Bruce Springsteen’s sons and eventually collaborating with the legend himself, Matt has taken advantage of every opportunity that has knocked on his door. As an artist, this is as important as anything else.
At dHarmic Evolution, we interview artists, musicians, content-creators and people on different stages of their creative journeys and chat with them about their challenges, their dreams and their hopes for the future. These people inspire us, move us and show us exactly why we love the world of arts so much. If you’d like to hear more interviews with these inspiring artists, head on over to our podcast page.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Who is Matt O’Ree?
Matt is an American singer, rock and roll artist, and a songwriter. He is the founder of Matt O’Ree Band and a member of the Bon Jovi Asian tour of 2015. He won the Guitar World Magazine competition in 2006 and became king of the blues.
- What kind of music does Matt O’Ree create?
Matt is a rock and roll artist. The American singer specializes in blues and rock music and plays lead vocal guitar.
- Where to listen to Matt O’Ree’s music?
You can download Matt’s music on the guitarist band’s website, http://www.mattoreeband.com
- Where to listen to a podcast with Matt O’Ree?
You can listen to the full interview with Matt O’Ree here.
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