Local musician in it for the long run

RUTLEDGE – Local musician Matt Byrd has taken a step to further his career in music. His new single, “In It for the Long Run,” recently hit streaming services.

Byrd is a 6’5,” 23-year-old Rutledge resident who has studied music and the arts for most of his life. He describes himself as a “local giant” and has been a member of Encore Theatrical Company in Morristown for six years. Byrd said he was inspired to pursue music as a career when he began high school. He said music was his refuge. 

Byrd said he was going through a difficult time with his family which led him to seek an emotional getaway. He began choir at Grainger High School his freshman year and began band his sophomore year. He began playing alto saxophone and quickly learned tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, trombone, baritone horn, tuba and bass clarinet. 

“I would learn one thing and I’d play so much music on it. I’d be like, ‘I’m bored. Give me something new,’” said Byrd. 

He studied music at Walters State Community College (WSCC) for a while, but never finished his degree. He said his time there helped him develop as an artist. He not only developed his vocal skills, but also learned how to write sheet music. 

He said the friends he made while at WSCC helped shape him into who he is today.

“I think that when you come from a broken home, you kind of have a little of a misunderstanding of who you are,” said Byrd. 

He said when he would see other people going through similar experiences, he would reach out and see how they were dealing with their situations. He said he and his friends would go to the lake to spend time. He said the moments with his friends helped inspire his song. 

Byrd said the song came together quickly. He said he turned his phone on silent and sat down with his guitar and wrote the first verse. He finished the lyrics and recorded an acoustic guitar track during the first evening. Byrd said from start to finish, the song took about eight days to write. 

Byrd said he felt the timing was right for him to write the song. He said the reason he went to his music closet that night was because his grandfather was ill. Byrd said he received news that his grandfather passed a couple of days into writing the song. He said writing the song was a cathartic, healing way to help him get through the loss.

In addition to singing his single, Byrd also wrote the lyrics, played all instruments in the track, performed backup vocals, produced and recorded the song in a soundproofed closet in his home. He said no one assisted with the original track. However, Byrd said there is a remastered edition available in addition to the original, which was re-produced by Christopher Schultz.

Byrd said he is working to make more music. He is in the process of writing additional songs, but said new releases would be delayed for a few months. He wants to complete an extended play record (EP), which is a short album, before releasing another single.

Byrd said he chose country music because of its ability to tell a story.

“Whether it’s a tearjerker or it’s funny, it all has some kind of ‘Here’s A and here’s B. Now, let’s take the journey together,’” said Byrd. “And that’s kind of what I was aiming for.”

He said he wanted structure for the song which would allow people to see who he is and where he’s been. Byrd said when people listen to his music, he wants them to know that he’s real and human. He doesn’t want to grow arrogant. Byrd also said he wanted people to be able to be reminiscent of life and family, both blood and chosen, when they listen to his music. He said his music is meant to make people feel.

Byrd said he hopes to begin performing live when he finishes his EP. 

“In It for the Long Run” was distributed by DistroKid, an independent digital music distributor, and is available on iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Google Play, Spotify, YouTube and Pandora for 99¢.