Matthew Kiss has been performing since before he could even walk. The songwriter used to sing Russian songs with his mother when he was a child, before playing the piano between the ages of 3 and 9. When he was 13, he learned the guitar and never looked back.
“If there was ever a constant in my life, it was always music,” Kiss said. “In the summer of 2007, I saw John Mayer live in concert. Until that point, I had been playing guitar for a few years, and writing poetry/attempting to write songs. I just remember watching Mayer perform on stage, and thinking, I want to do that, I know I can do that.”
Fast-forward to the present day and the Rockaway Beach musician has combined his influences that include Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash and Ryan Adams to create strikingly honest songs based in Americana. Kiss does not limit himself lyrically, tackling topics that move him.
“I’m very inspired as a writer to deliver the story to the listener in the most effective way possible,” he said. “I love working with words, trying to find the right language so the listener can not only understand what I’m saying, but also be able to connect.”
These lyrics can be heard on his debut EP, “The Black Hound Sessions,” which came out in July 2012. When he was writing that record, Kiss said he was going through a period of loneliness and struggle over his decision to drop out of college and pursue a career in music.
“While this was a very solitary and sometimes lonely part of my life, it was also one of the most freeing and creatively fruitful times of my life,” Kiss said. “I was dealing with a lot of turmoil within myself, but it helped me create music that I am still very proud of.”
Kiss also put his experiences of growing in the Rockaways into his music.
“God Bless The Whiskey” looks at the tragedies of several people who were inspired by Rockaway.
Included in the song is Maggie Mae, a young girl who died before her time, Frankie the Rat, a broke musician and alcoholic, and Tommy the Gun, who drowns his sorrows over the death of two of his sons in combat overseas.
Now, two years later, Kiss is ready to work on his next project, and is looking at studios and producers to record the ton of material he says he has ready to go. He will also be performing at Rockwood Music Hall on March 9.
For more information about Kiss’ music and concert schedule, visit www.matthewkiss.com.