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Rising Stars: Meet Matt Leigh

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matt Leigh. 

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I’ve always wanted to be a rock star! And music has been my obsession for most of my life. I was very fortunate to be raised by musically inclined parents who introduced music study at a young age in addition to a multitude of musical experiences during my childhood. I became a professional musician while I was still in high school playing bass at gigs around the Midwest. After my formative years in Kansas City, MO (Go Chiefs, Go Royals!) I moved to Nashville in 2010 to pursue a career as a music producer and musician. It has been a whirlwind of a career as I’ve had many incredible opportunities working on a number of projects in various capacities since then. I’ve toured with Grammy® winning recording artists. I’ve taught future generations of audio professionals at the local audio colleges. I’ve played bass on countless records and in live shows around the country. These were all incredible learning experiences, however, I moved to Nashville with the goal of working in recording studios. In 2015 I was very fortunate to be hired as the Studio Manager of world-famous The Tracking Room. During my time here I had the privilege of working with several big stars including Taylor Swift, Lauren Daigle, Ronnie Milsap, and Natalie Grant to name a few. In 2020 I won a Grammy® working with Willie Nelson on his release “Ride Me Back Home.” Sadly, The Tracking Room closed its doors in April 2020 (not covid related which was very strange timing!). Since then, I have been working as a freelance music producer, mix engineer, and session musician. I am currently working with several great artists who I believe are the future of music as well as seeking new artists to develop. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The music industry is not for the faint of heart! It takes a very special personality and internal drive to make it in this business. The biggest hurdles are that it is not easy to break into the industry, and it takes a very long time to get noticed for your talents. Patience and perseverance are certainly must-have qualities in this field. I realized that if I just keep showing up and keep doing what I am doing that people will get to know me over time and they will then take notice of what I am doing. This process takes a lot of time, which translates to long days in the studio with the occasional late-night sprinkled in all while sacrificing your social life! They often say that Nashville is a 10-year town. In other words, it will take you 10 years to make an impact here. I have been very lucky that it only took me 5 years to land a dream opportunity. And 5 years is still a pretty long time… There have certainly been some ups and some downs along the way, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I feel so blessed that I get to make music for a living every day! 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a music producer. This encompasses a lot of different aspects of the creative process, but in the simplest terms, I help artists bring their musical ideas to life. I specialize in helping artists bring out their true, genuine sound. There are many artists that follow the trends and try to capitalize on what is popular right now. I, however, tend to gravitate to artists that are looking to create something that is uniquely there’s as well as something to develop and grow into while looking towards the future. My role as producer is to help identify and bring out that signature sound. This has been my bread and butter since I began producing records 15 years ago. In that time, I have been very lucky to work on some incredible projects. I am most proud of the Grammy® I won in 2020 working with Willie Nelson and a Grammy® nomination working with Natalie Grant in 2016. Nonetheless, I am also very proud of the projects I have produced for South For Winter, Sheridan Gates, Planet Booty, and El Gun Legro to name a few. Each of these projects represents a different aspect of what it means to be a record producer. I like to push the boundaries of what is acceptable for an artist to do within their genre. This sets me apart from the other producers around here! 

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
Right now, all the buzz is surrounding Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio music consumption (pun intended). Companies are starting to make big pushes to shift how listeners consume music. It is the Wild West out there as far as the creation side goes. It will be interesting to see if it truly does catch on as it is a really interesting way to be immersed in a music performance. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Alex Mertz
Daniel Brown
Rachel Deeb

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