When it comes to songwriting, Matt Powell has one specific rule: Don’t think of genres. The singer-entrepreneur, who broke into the music scene only a year ago, last month dropped his “first love song” called “Found You”, just shortly after he’d shocked fans with the very worldly, folk-inspired “Little Ol’ Me” in May. As Powell’s name early in his career got associated with lively, foot-tapping dance-pop tunes, the rather abrupt shift in genre as evidenced by these last two releases is not only bewildering on one hand, it is also truly interesting on the other.
The departure from his electronica and techno roots isn’t something Powell sees as a big deal, though. The Pensacola musician, who goes by the name Qwiet Type, maintains that genres shouldn’t limit creativity. This philosophy has been working out pretty well for him. In fact, his attempt at world music earned Powell his most-streamed effort with “Little Ol’ Me”, which is already close to 297,000 plays as of press time.
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Music is through which Powell expresses himself best, and as such, what he does is simply capture and bring to life exactly the sound he has in mind—and not stick to whatever other people expect of him. It is worth noting that the Qwiet Type guy is an independent artist free of any label dictates. He is his own manager, publicist, and coach. In this exclusive chat interview with the musical virtuoso, he shares to us his musical direction and affinities, his inspirations, and upcoming releases.
Your song “Little Ol’ Me” has remarkably surpassed in streams all releases prior to it in just a matter of months. What an achievement!
Hi! Thank you. To date “Little Ol’ Me” is indeed my most successful song as it’s about to reach 300,000 streams on Spotify. The live studio version of the song has only been out on Facebook for two weeks and already has over 125,000 views. I wrote that song from my heart.
Some are asking whether you wrote it with the current global crisis as the main impetus, your thoughts?
No, it’s not about COVID. People probably just connected the message as the song was released at the height of the pandemic.
If not COVID-inspired, what made you write “Little Ol’ Me”?
I’ve been thinking that way about the world for a long time. If you don’t worry about this big world and all its problems and just focus on your own little world, guess what, your world is manageable, and you can change the world… your world! And if everyone did that… then maybe the world might actually change in a positive way.
You started out as an artist with a knack for dance-pop and electronic sounds. From “Window” to “We Gotta Move” you literally got the groove, why the sudden genre change?
I don’t think of genres when I write music—at all. If you listen to my music you hear a lot of genres. “Little Ol’ Me” is a song about the world, so the music came out sounding worldly. That wasn’t intended, it was a just a natural and organic progression that came out the way you have now heard it.
I don’t think of genres when I write music—at all.Matt Powell
Tell us more about your latest single, “Found You”. What’s the story behind it?
It’s a true story about how my life was not going well at the time. I was somewhat lost, drinking too much and living downtown above a bar (“floating on a cloud/ too close to the surface”). I then met a girl, who is now my wife, and ever since I’ve been doing very well. Started two successful entertainment businesses and now Qwiet Type. The sound and “genre” of that song is just the sound that I heard when writing the lyrics.
Anything coming up next?
My upcoming songs, “Ferris Wheel” and “Uninvited”, will also probably shock you. The first one sounds pop—didn’t plan for that—but it’s a happy song.
What are these songs about and how will they sound?
“Ferris Wheel” is about one of my first dates with my wife at the fair and on that date I knew my life was about to change forever. Naturally, the song has an upbeat happy tone that sounds pop-ish. The song being released after that, “Uninvited”, is a song that’s a little more angry with irritated lyrics, so it has a grungy, swampy, dirty rock sound to it.
Wow, you really are versatile. If anything, what’s your songwriting mantra?
I just want the music to match the lyrics and the vibe of the story. I simply just don’t care what genre it fits into.
I just want the music to match the lyrics and the vibe of the story. I simply just don’t care what genre it fits into.Matt Powell
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Sam is a mediocre artist, musician, and the founder and editor in chief of UNXIGNED. He is a law student who leads an excitingly boring life in the confines of his room juggling studies with passion and dreams. He is terrible at finding balance but gets by anyhow. He wants you to follow his artist pages and channels for when he decides to up his game. Pretty open for collabs and will mix your would-be hit song for cheap.