Matt Palmer is an R&B-pop singer, originally born in Atlanta, Georgia and now based in Los Angles, California.
The rising star recently released his soulful EP Get Lost, as well as videos to compliment every song – which join together to form a short film.
To celebrate Digital Pride, we talked to him about his experience as an openly gay man in the music industry, his favorite LGBTI artists and what went down when he met JoJo and Mariah…
When did you first decide you wanted to be a musician?
When I was eight. I heard Michael and Janet Jackson’s Scream on the radio. I went back and bought all their old albums! Then I heard Mariah Carey’s Fantasy on the radio and bought all her old albums and was just obsessed. I was like: ‘I have to do this!’
How would you describe your sound?
R&B-influenced pop music, strongly melodic, some dance influences. That sounds like a lot, but it’s 2018, we’re allowed to mix genres up!
What’s the message behind your EP?
At the end of the day it’s about the joy of falling in love, but also the traps we fall into. Making sure you don’t change yourself for your partner. You have to love yourself first. No matter what happens, you have to be able to look in the mirror and be proud of what you see.
Have you ever experienced homophobia or discrimination in the music industry?
I’m not positive whether I have or not. I’ve received different treatment as an openly gay artist. There was one producer I reached out to with a song called Break Up; I wanted him to produce it. He said he didn’t feel comfortable, because of his beliefs, to work with a gay artist. I was like ‘Right, OK, cool. If you don’t want to work with me, I definitely don’t want to work with you.’
There are times I feel pigeonholed. Sometimes mainstream outlets don’t want to post about your work because they’re like ‘Oh, this is a gay thing.’ Well, it’s music, and I am gay. But I feel we’re getting so much better with that, with artists like Troye Sivan, MNEK and Hayley Kiyoko. Non-straight artists are doing amazing things in 2018.
Who were your LGBTI music icons when you were growing up?
Mariah Carey’s not a gay man… But she was pretty close to me at the time! She was a big icon for me. I feel like the fact she has so much power and artistic integrity and is still so unabashedly herself… Very feminine in a male-dominated industry and didn’t try to shy away from that.
Which LGBTI stars do you most look up to today?
MNEK, Hayley Kiyoko… I also love Years and Years. I think they have such cool and unique sounds. They don’t play the pronoun game. Hayley’s singing about women and MNEK and Olly from Years and Years are singing about men, because that’s who they’re romantically interested in. I do think art is made from people being honest and forthcoming.
Who is the most famous musician you’ve met?
I was at a writing session when JoJo came in, and we had a moment. But I [was] so awkward and uncomfortable in that. I was very much like: ‘You sound really good on this song!’ and she’s like ‘Bitch, I know, I’m JoJo, have you heard of me!?’ I’ve had some awkward run-ins with Mariah Carey in which I told her I ‘liked her new song’, when I’ve loved her my entire life!
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
My latest visual EP Get Lost, it just came out this spring! I made a music video for every song. It plays like a narrative, telling the story from start to finish of a relationship. It’s so exciting and so cool. We just cut it together like a short film, which we’re going to be pitching to festivals.
I’m so proud of the work everyone did, from the music to the visuals and making it look really great. I’m excited to see where to goes now it’s out in the world – I’m going to do my darnedest to make sure people hear it, and get eyes ands ears on it. I’ve never been prouder of anything I’ve done.
For more information about Matt Palmer, head to MattPalmerMusic.com.