What do Angelina Jolie, Jessica Simpson and Padma Lakshmi all have in common? Count them all in the fan club fof emerging pop star Matt White, of course. The NYC-based singer-songwriter, 30, is set to release his piano-infused sophomore LP, It's The Good Crazy, on September 14, but he had a minute to catch up with Usmagazine.com last week to discuss the effort – and his unique way of dressing up to get attention. Want to hear more? Read ahead and also stop by www.myspace.com/mattwhitemusic.
Usmagazine.com: Tell me about the new disc!
Matt White: The album was recorded in Woodstock, NY and it was done completely on analog tape -- the old school way of recording. I like the live feel because there's more room for making mistakes and improvisation, and those are when the great things happen. So,it's a very live feeling album. It's mostly all piano, and I'm really trying to take after my heroes, like Elton John and Billy Joel, Jerry Lee Lewis and stuff like that.
US: You’ve opened for Sheryl Crow right?
MW: Sheryl Crow, John Mayer, Counting Crows, Coldplay, and BB King.
US: Is she really maternal?
MW: Yeah, Sheryl is actually very maternal. Wyatt would come out and be around during sound check with the big sound buffer headphones! I’m sure he'll be very musical and she's great.
Us: And what was it like being on tour with John Mayer?
MW: I toured with him in 2007. He's a tremendous musician The crowds were great, and he really gives it his all. The musicians he plays with are unbelievable as well. He’s just continuing to kind of push it and change it up with all these different things. He’s very generous and very passionate about everything he does.
US: Who’s your dream artist to work with?
MW: I would love to do something with Van Morrison. I love him and his singing and his voice, everything is guttural...
US: You mentioned Billy Joel, but who are some of your other influences?
MW: Elton John, Bruce Springsteen. I love Mumford and Sons right now, contemporary. I love Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I love this new band called Black Dove, which is going to be huge. And Neil Young.
Us: You had 1.5 million downloads of your massive college hit, "Best Days," and it was on Laguna Beach back in the day. How did that happen?
MW: The people who pick the music know young people and that first single was number one on college radio and it kind of had that bustling Jack Johnson feel.
US: Ah. And you’re also designer Tory Burch's cousin?
MW: She's my first cousin! My family is very, very musical. We’re all very creative people and Tory took it another way and created this amazing brand.
US: That’s crazy. Does she sing at all?
MW: She does sing, and she’s very good. She has sort of like, Joni Mitchell-esque kind of quality. She wanted to maybe make an album and she is really, really talented musically. Her mother and our grandmother were unbelievable as well.
US: Wow, that’s interesting.
MW: But now, she's only known for her ballet shoes!
US: Was Tory really fashionable when she was a kid?
MW: She was very very fashionable when she was a kid, yeah. She always had incredible style.
US: So who are you dating?
MW: Tara Famiglietti. She has has her own jewelry line called Nana Fabella. And she's put jewelry on everyone from Madonna to Angelina Jolie to Gwen Stefani to fashion people like Padma Lakshmi.
US: How long have you known her?
MW: I’ve known her for 6 years.
US: Has she ever designed a piece of male jewelry for you?
MW: Yeah, I wear her jewelry all the time. She made a silver and turquoise eagle that I always wear. She designs everything, she’s amazingly talented. Actually her dad designed clothes for John Lennon and Eric Clapton, and Robert Plant and Mick Jagger and David Bowie.
US: So your new song "Falling in Love," is that about her?
MW: Um not really. The song sort of came about because I was just sort of interested in the conception of guys and girls that are friends and then they realize that they’re in love and there’s this masked thing when a guy goes through a relationship with his friend and vice versa. And you see everything and you know how they handle things. I think that it happens all the time. It happens with gay couples, straight couples, interracial couples, everything. The concept was cool.
US: Didn’t you tell me there was something funny about how you came up with the name of the album?
MW: It's The Good Crazy. People always say to me 'you're crazy,' but they would say 'the good crazy!'
US: Any other songs have cool stories or inspirations?
MW: I love "Sunshine." I wrote "Sunshine" when I was dropped from a record deal. I was fired, and it sucks! But it happens and you have to pick yourselves up and see the positives.
US: How does your family feel about you becoming a musician?
MW: They are very supportive. My whole family’s musicians. My mom calls me like 10 times a day! And I’m one of four siblings!