Meet NYC singer-songwriter Matt Berman, A.K.A. Monroe! The New York native is currently signed to rising San Diego music label, Pacific Records. His The Streetlight EP was released at the end of May, so we had the chance to speak with Matt about some highlights, including releasing the EP and going on tour with The Killers‘ Brandon Flowers!
Was there a song or album when you were younger that inspired you to play music?
The first album I owned was 52nd Street by Billy Joel. I like to think that was a big inspiration. Lots of saxophone and great lyrics.
Your birthday was recently. How did you celebrate it along with the release of the EP?
I grabbed drinks with some friends and had dinner with the family! Kept it nice and low key. It was nice to be able to celebrate my birthday along with the release of the EP.
Which performance that you have been apart of that has stood out to you the most?
It’s really hard to pick a certain performance, but I think the tour I did with Brandon Flowers was life changing for me. It was the first opportunity I had to play in font of thousands of people on a nightly basis.
Photo Credit: Pacific Records
Speaking of Brandon Flowers, were there any experiences you got to take away from traveling and performing with him on his band’s world tour?
Most of the best experiences happen behind the scenes, and most I can’t talk publicly about [laughs], BUT I have to say it was an amazing experience to play alongside Brandon and the rest of the band every night. Traveling around the world with everyone and playing an electrifying show every night, thats living the dream.
What was it like to be able to play with jazz legend, Herbie Hancock?
It’s really humbling. Anytime you get to perform with one of the greats, it teaches you so much. I grew up playing saxophone and studied jazz since junior High School. I got some really cool opportunities when attending LaGuardia High School for Performing Arts, and even more opportunities when I attended The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. Its always a learning experience and such a cool opportunity to stand next to one of your idols.
How do you think you have grown as a musician from Black Tie Event to currently with Monroe?
I don’t think I really knew who I was as a musician or a person in the beginning. It’s been quite a process of developing myself, figuring out my style, figuring out what I want to talk about, etc. I think you have to go through a lot and live life to really figure out who you are.
I heard the concept for the music video of “One More Night” was slightly based off of the movie, Love Actually. If you can recreate the idea of the music video for “One More Night” with another romantic comedy, which one would it be?
Well, it’s more about the concept than the actual plot of the movie. The goal was to have different story lines happening simultaneously that all cross paths in the end, much like the movie. I really wanted to create a video that kept the viewer interested and provided a fun story to follow these characters.
So you have signed to Pacific Records. What drew you to that label in the first place?
I really love how connected to the artist they are and how much they care about each artist individually. When you sign with Pacific, its like joining a family. They always make sure the artist is happy and really work with you to help ensure the product is the best it can be. They really care about the artist and make you feel supported.
You love the band Augustana, and you’ve collaborated a lot with one member of the band, Jake Owen. How does it feel to work so much with someone whose music you’ve been listening to since high school?
It’s totally amazing. I’m really lucky to be able to create and collaborate with Jake. This album would not even be remotely possible without him. Aside from his playing with Augustana and other bands, he’s helped me really focus in on my sound and has really helped develop the Monroe sound.
Would you ever consider writing a musical similar to Hamilton called Monroe, based on the president, James Monroe?
HAHA! I think if I ever wrote a musical, it would be more along the lines of the Billy Joel musical “Movin Out.” (Make a really famous choreographer make some dance moves to my music).
Did you take anything away from your time working at Diesel and incorporate it into your music career?
You know, when you go through a breakup and you write songs about how your heart is broken and how you can never forgive the person for hurting you and then you get all sad? What’s the work version of that?… JUST KIDDING. I loved working at Diesel. It was my first and only “desk job” and I had amazing co workers; but I think some people are not destined for the 9-5 desk job. I used to be the kid that wouldn’t stop talking in class and would get in trouble for being too social, I’m pretty sure that will only help when I get to meet all of our fans on tour!
Anything you want to say to your fans?
I hope you all like the EP and can connect with it as much as we have. I’m really excited to keep bringing everyone new music, and hopefully a full album soon! Thank you for the support thus far and I’m excited to bring this music live to you as soon as possible!