Moving Forward With Matt Cook

By Kenny Bieber

May 13, 2020

Jersey shore-based musician Matt Cook is about to gather with some of his closet friends sometime soon. Don’t worry; he’s practicing social distancing but on his upcoming fifth full-length release entitled Number Five Sessions, he’s set to release perhaps his most collaborative effort so far. Cook is no stranger to collaborations musically, in addition to his own projects as a singer-songwriter; he’s a regular supporting player for artists such as The Bryan Hansen Band and has filled in with various artists from Asbury Park’s rich and varied music scene. I sat down recently with Matt via zoom to discuss his new record, his musical journey thus far and the importance of giving back. While he’s been gaining new fans and listeners of late, Cook is no stranger to music. “I’ve been writing music since I was 15 years old and I started piano lessons when I was 5.” Cook launched his musical career fairly early with his debut album written and recorded when he was just 20 years old.

Currently though, Cook is looking to the future as he preps for the release of his forthcoming album which, if early singles are any indication, may be his most musically rich yet. “The sounds here have been described as moody, I’m playing around with lots of synths here as well,” Cook states about his record’s overall sound and style. One of the biggest elements of this release is the number of collaborators Cook has brought in. His latest single “Reap A Harvest” a contemporary piano-driven number also features singer-songwriter SOF who Cook has played with in the past. “We’ve played several shows together and I really liked her voice and felt she’d be a good fit for the song.” The track also features long-time collaborators of his such as Will Blakey who also plays in The Bryan Hansen Band and regular producer Pete Andrews.

This collaborative streak indicates that Cook’s sound is evolving both socially and lyrically. As a songwriter, Cook very much values progression. “As an artist I definitely am always looking to move forward. You never want to get complacent or just keep doing the same thing.” This mentality has allowed Cook to create work that feels resonant to both himself and his listeners. “As a songwriter I’ve drawn a lot from my personal experiences." These personal experiences have been reflected in Cook’s music throughout his discography and have also led to some of his most notable achievements as well. “Last year I got to perform and give a Ted Talk at TedX in Asbury Park at the Paramount Theatre which was definitely a highlight.” Cook’s speech and performance were centered around the theme of chaos, a topic he’s experienced first-hand. “When I was younger I had an incident where I fell into a diabetic coma and almost lost my life,” Cook reveals. At the time Cook was an undiagnosed type 1 diabetic. Upon surviving this ordeal he’s ensured to not take anything for granted and values giving back greatly. “I perform music for those in hospice along with being a music teacher and I greatly value being able to give back.” In times such as now where we’re facing constant hardship, it’s important to remain positive and proactive, a mindset Cook has been adopting as of recently. “I’ve been using this time to focus on writing and preparing my new record.” Cook has also made time to keep connected with his fellow Asbury Park music community.

Recently Cook along with dozens of other Asbury Park musicians all came together for a live recording of Bruce Springsteen’s “Waiting On a Sunny Day” put together by Telegraph Hill Record’s Joe Pomarico. While there’s no clear end to the current global crisis at hand, Cook is determined to continue to give back with his music however he can. “I’m just really blessed I get to make music with other people who love it just as much as I do.” Even more importantly, he’s determined to move forward while doing so. Be on the lookout for Matt’s upcoming record Number Five Sessions and be sure to follow him on all social media platforms as well!

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PHOTOS #1-3 BY KENNY BIEBER


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