Stevie Matthews isn’t a typical 25-year-old songwriter. Some would expect classic garage rock or today’s indie pop. But he’s going in a different direction – a more wholesome direction. Matthews describes himself as a musician who makes “children’s music for adults,” and the Oyster Bay native just put out a music video for “Going Home” off his 2021 EP of the same name to show off his style.
The music video features the football field at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School, his alma mater growing up and features “animated cut outs” as Matthews dances around in the school’s football field, singing out about the joys of going home and experiencing life where he grew. Its message centers around gratitude and appreciating life.
“I just hope the video makes people feel good,” Matthews said. “I hope that people get up, dance and sing along.”
The music video encompasses all the parts that go into the songs he writes.
When he was young, Matthews recalled his parents playing The Beatles, Count Basie and Steely Dan around the house. Back when he was in
school as a 13-year-old, he remembers having a great desire to pick music up.
“I need to run to a drum set and guitar and make as much noise as possible,” he joked.
Joining his school’s band, his teachers recognized his passion and encouraged him along in his journey to learning the drums. He said that although he lacked the musical technical skills, his determination clearly showed.
Matthews went onto Drexel University for Animation and Fine Art. Although he said he wasn’t “audition ready” to get into a music conservatory, Matthews said he took a songwriting class in school that completely changed the way he wrote music. As a senior, he even worked with composers and jazz musicians to write the end credits for his senior animation project.
After college, he began to hone his chops as a musician, playing American Standards on the piano in Huntington Village in 2019 and 2020.
“It forced me to be a better player,” Matthews said.
That time was formative for him, as he realized he wanted to start writing new American Standards for the 21st century. It led him to the playful, uplifting style he writes now.
“The music is never childish, never patronizing,” Matthews said.
He draws inspiration from many places for his songs, work ethic and style. Music by Randy Newman, and songs from TV shows like The Muppets and Adventure Tim and Steven Universe (both which happen to be animated,) have influenced his songs.
As for his work ethic, he pulls a page out of a new genre, bedroom pop. The name comes from musicians who record music themselves from the comfort of their bedroom, making the most of what resources are available. Artists like Clairo, Gus Dapperton and 100 Gecs are all artists that have paved the way for the style.
“It’s empowering to see that not Berkeley [College] kids are putting themselves out there,” Matthews said.
He’s a bedroom pop artist as well. He was temporarily furloughed from his job in May 2021, so he set a goal to record an EP for two weeks before he went back to work. After recording demos and layering track after track after track, the end result was “Going Home,” a record jam-packed with playful songs about a variety of inspiring topics.
“I want to write music that encourages adults to break the barrier of self-consciousness,” Matthews said. “All that matters is that you’re experiencing a sincere message.”
“Going Home,” the lead single is the song that Matthews shot the video for in Oyster Bay. Knowing it would take years to animate a video on his own, he cut out “animated characters” to float around him as he danced in a marching band outfit, paying homage to the club he was a part of on weekends in the nearby football stands.
Shot over two days with the help of family and friends, Matthews said that “everyone was really into it and it turned out really well.”
When he put it online, he had no expectations of how many people would see it. Since uploading it, the video has amassed 3,500 views.
For the future, Matthews is just going to keep writing and see what doors open as he progresses as a musician. He hopes that he can write songs that are timeless, much like the American Standards that have inspired his songwriting.
Stream “Going Home” by Stevie on Spotify at https://open.spotify.com/album/2gnUnVxTHud4n27OMKM72a, follow him on Instagram @stevie_zucchini and stream and buy his music on bandcamp at steviematthews.bandcamp.com.