Few singer/songwriters can command a crowd for an hour or longer with just a voice, a microphone, and an acoustic guitar;
Though Mayfield is currently gaining airplay on the
Mayfield began his musical journey at early age after picking up the guitar at 9. “I used to listen to my dad through the thin walls of my house--he'd play old Beatles, Neil Young, and James Taylor. He showed me some chords and got me into a few lessons,” Mayfield says. About a year later, he gave his first public performance as a fifth grader at the Crestline Elementary School Talent Show in
He began composing songs at 12 when he realized that “everybody was trying to be the next great guitar player,” and to be different, he had to come up with his own style. Early and current influences sprang up from all over the classic and alternative rock map, including Peter Gabriel, Oasis, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Death Cab for Cutie, and Kings of Leon. Though he admits the original compositions were rough, nevertheless they begin to come together and formulate his repertoire.
Prior to his solo career, Mayfield fronted the Birmingham-based alternative rock out, Moses Mayfield, which included Mayfield as frontman, vocalist, and guitarist, guitarist Will Mason, bassist Hans Ford, keyboardist Matt Taylor, and drummer Will Drake. After releasing an independent EP (2003’s Unified) as well as a full-length disc (2004’s Enough to Let Go), the band signed to Epic Records in 2005, and eventually found themselves under the umbrella of Columbia Records and Sony BMG.
For the next two years, the band embarked on several nationwide tours, opening for and sharing the stage with such major bands and songwriters as Switchfoot, The Fray, Will Hoge, Pete Yorn, and Blue October. In March 2007, Moses Mayfield released their
Despite their initial success, the band was unable to avoid the storm that was brewing in the major label music industry. “Moses was a great band. I'm still proud of the record we made and work we put in. We gave ourselves entirely to that music...and I think it paid off. We learned a lot of lessons, however, about the crumbling infrastructure of the major label model of doing things… as soon as a few folks got let go and a new CEO was in place at Sony, we were gone. It's just politics. It's unfortunate, but that's the way those guys work,” Mayfield says. However, he remains optimistic about the future of independent music. “The revolution is underway. Artists are taking the business back for themselves...me included.”
In January 2008, Moses Mayfield disbanded and Mayfield began the “pretty natural” transition from frontman to solo artist. “I was so burnt out on constant touring and the ups and downs with the label. Everybody started to go their own way and honestly, the wheels just fell off. But my passion and hunger to write great songs were stronger than ever. So once I'd taken a little time off, I got right back to work and put the EP out on my own. Tracked, mixed, and mastered in 30 hours for under $1000. No need to spend too much time nitpicking everything. I just left the mistakes stay...feels more honest that way.”
The resulting disc was the 8-song The Fire EP, which includes the aforementioned “Dead to You,” “Razorblade,” “First In Line,” and “Element.” Along with Mayfield on vocals, bass, and guitars, the record also reunites the songwriter with drummer Will Drake; Stewart Vann of the
In addition to recording, Mayfield has experienced a variety of success in the area of touring, playing major venues in the Southeast such as Workplay Theatre in
As far as the
Mayfield started 2009 with a packed Workplay show on January 24th that included big name local acts like The Kate Taylor Band, The Triceratops, and The Great Book of John. He plans to continue playing around
He also will be playing at Workplay on April 11th as part of the Blue Cut Robbery, which consists of Mayfield, Stewart Vann, and Will Drake. “[The Blue Cut Robbery] is just three guys who wanna have fun playing rocknroll. We aren't taking it too seriously, which I think makes us a better band. Once again, no rules. 5 minute guitar solo? Why not? 4 key changes in the same song? Yes, please.”
As far as recording is concerned, Mayfield will be heading to
Finally, Mayfield offers this advice for any fledgling songwriters and bands. “I think trying to carve out your own sound is the challenge for all of us. Something fresh and something people will gravitate towards. As an artist, you wanna move people...make them feel things while the songs on and the windows are down. Songs can completely change the course of any given person's day. They can change the temperature in any given room. It's a powerful art form. I'm hooked. “For more information on upcoming shows and to listen to tracks from The Fire EP and other demos, visit www.myspace.com/matthewmayfieldmusic