To be honest I didn’t really know a lot about Matt Henshaw until recently and after listening to hisSoundcloud channel continuously for the past week, the words eclectic and eccentric come to mind and I genuinely find his style a refreshing change from what other similar singers are putting out at the moment.
Matt was the NME breakthrough act winner of 2010 and has featured in the Guardian as well as having a string of radio performances and continues to wow audiences with his extraordinary mix of B-Boy Soul and Rhythm n Blues.
If you have never heard his stuff then he is definitely worth a listen and if you have, enjoy the interview.
LM: Can you describe yourself in three words? MH: Lead with a tough one, I want to steer away from neurotic singer songwriter so I’ll go with kind quiet gardener. My two personalities.
LM: Where were you born? MH: I was born in Nottingham shortly after the election of Maggie Thatcher to the highest office for a third time and Michael Jackson’s Bad was selling millions of copies.
LM: When did you come to Leicester? MH: I’ve been back and forth for years now. Finally settled down just about now I think, hopefully my roaming tendencies don’t make me wander.
LM: Why did you come to Leicester? MH: Originally to study, years ago. And then, weirdly, work, it was the only place I could get a job, then I got bored and had to find a creative outlet and everyone in the Leicester arts and music scene has been so warm and welcoming I’m glad I’m here and feel at home.
LM: How old where you when you began to express an interest in music? MH: Well, there was an advert on tele with Deep Purple on it and I remember that had some affect on me, and Oasis’ first album went to number one on my seventh birthday I remember but I didn’t really take an interest in playing and singing until I had a football injury and realised that being the next Chris Waddle wasn’t going to happen.
LM: Where your parents supportive? MH: Yeah, they had no previous interest in music or any experience of it, or even much in the way of money, but I think they recognised my passion for it so they’ve been as supportive as parents can be.
LM: How would you describe your music? MH: I like to call it acoustic rhythm’n'gospel, but I don’t know if it’s anything that grandiose, just soulful heartfelt songs.
LM: Who are your musical influences? MH: Mainly the old soul singers like Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye, but I’ve gotta say I probably get closer to Steve Marriott and Stevie Winwood. Which I don’t mind.
LM: What’s your favourite music genre/s? MH: Soul music, but that’s not restricted to Stax and Tamla Motown, anything that has feeling and is well crafted.
LM: Do you remember your first ever gig? MH: Not really gigs but I used to sing songs on buses if anyone wanted to listen. But then the first time me and my mate who played the drums got asked to play at his neighbors birthday party I got too shy and wouldn’t sing, so we played a few instrumentals!
LM: Do you have any music on release at the moment? MH: If yes give all details about the release Nothing official, I’m working on loads of songs and I’m being quite patient trying to find the right avenue to take with the songs that are so personal and close to me. But if you search around, I’ve pad my dues, and you could find something to buy or watch that would help fund my Yorkshire Tea habit.
LM: What are your plans for next year as far as your music goes? MH: Keep going, pay the bills and keep petrol in the car, spread the word as much as possible in Leicester and around the country and then do a proper release when I’ve sorted out the logistics and gathered what cold soulless business I believe called “critical mass”.
LM: What are you currently listening to in the car? MH: Traffic, the band I mean, not just rolling the window down and enjoying the sounds of the streets.
LM: What will your next music purchase or download be? MH: I’ve no idea, I always feel like I own or have listened to all the music I’ll ever need to hear, and I’m in one of those phases at the minute but something always comes along that’s worth a go. Probably Charlotte Carpenter’s next EP though come to think of it.
LM: Finally, Christmas turkey or Christmas crackers? MH: Not really sure, I like the excitement of crackers, but it’s always short lived and not really much use unless you need a miniature screwdriver set or a pack of playing cards too small to ever actually have a game of rummy with. And food is always welcome, dinner is usually the best part of Christmas day, it’s a bit of a family tradition of ours that we always listen to Glenn Miller, I have no idea why, but it’s the nicest part of the day when everyone’s together and happily eating away.
LM: Matt, can i just thank you for taking the time out to answer my questions today. MH: No Problem at all.
You can here one of Matt’s personal favorites ‘It Ain’t Easy’ below or visit his You Tube channel.