Interview: Matt Haeck

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Nashville Americana-style singer/songwriter Matt Haeck’s first foray into the world of music came at a young age. “My parents forced me to join choir when I was in 6th grade and I was really angry at them—until about a week into it when I discovered how awesome it was,” he says with a laugh.  “Being taught how to sing harmony was magical.”

Heck studied voice in college, but to the singer, who was born in Barbados to missionary parents, attending seminary seemed like the logical next step.  “When I was in seminary, I began to write songs,” he recalls. “Something about that process of writing totally drew me away from what I was doing, the bug bit me.”

After leaving seminary, Haeck descended into a vicious years-long struggle with alcohol addiction, worsened by an unraveling marriage; finally, he reached out for help, which also meant coming to terms with the possibility of pursuing another career path. “I was in treatment and aftercare, which limited my ability to play shows, so putting music on the back-burner during that time was a necessary thing. It allowed me to focus on recovery for about a year,” he explains. “I’d actually made peace with the idea of quitting music altogether; it’s a common thing for musicians to find their identities in their careers and success, and that was really unhealthy for me.”

Now, ten years later after beginning his career, Haeck has found his voice is releasing his stunning debut album, the appropriately-named Late Bloomer, out June 3rd via Blaster Records. A twelve-song collection brimming with raw honesty which showcases some serious songwriting chops, Late Bloomer is largely autobiographical;  “The song ‘Pissing Contest’ actually encompasses a couple of stories.  I really did lose a pissing contest to a girl once, which is apparently a rare skill that some ladies have,” Haeck laughs.  “At the time, I was still very religious, and was in West Virginia on tour.  I ended up wasted with all these people skinny dipping, it was a scandalous situation.  It was interesting to me, the idea of my own hypocrisy.  Losing the contest was like a metaphor for me turning my conviction on its head.  I mean, a girl isn’t supposed to beat a guy in that kind of contest! I lived in Austin for a short time, and my crew of friends and I partied a lot.  They were these hip Christian types, and I was already off the religion train at this point.  One night, we were all doing cocaine together; the subject of Jesus came up, I said something negative about it, and the entire group of people let me have it.  We’re all hypocritical at times, we all have to accept it and work on it.”

Haeck will celebrate the album’s release on Friday, June 3rd, at Fond Object in Nashville, and hopes that the subject matter will resonate with his listeners.  “There’s some depressing stuff dealt with on the record,” he says. “But I hope that folks can relate to the songs, and that it will help them in some way.”

Purchase Late Bloomer:

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Susan Hubbard

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