He might not be related to the other famous singer with the same surname, but Matt Carstens (20) is determined to make his own unique mark on the South African music scene (and beyond) for years to come. And based on his latest single, Somebody Else, Matt is certainly proving that he has what it takes.
Commenting on Somebody Else, Matt says: “It’s the happiest break-up song I’ve ever written. And yes, it’s about my last relationship that came to an end, and the process of coming to terms with the fact that love comes and goes…”
He says that the message behind the song is that you should not get caught up in trying to find true love, but rather having it find you. Wise words from this young talent, who adds: “No sense in forcing anything. So I’m very much a single Pringle at the moment, despite being a hopeless romantic.”
Previous success and collaborating with Francois van Coke
Somebody Else is not Matt’s first introduction to the music world. During 2017 he released an album, 2DHeart, with the song, Paper Planes, being the breakout single. A collaboration with none other than Francois van Coke followed, resulting in the hit-single, Broken Society.
Currently returning from his first UK tour, Matt says that he has three additional singles that he would like to release before the end of the year. “I believe evolution is necessary in the music industry. Every single which I’ll be releasing now is linked stylistically and thematically, while I try to figure out and voice where I’m at during this exciting time of my life.”
Writing all of his own music, Matt says that he wants his music to be the clearest and most honest representation of who he is as a human being at a particular time in his life. “People take to real music. Yes, taste may differ, but once you relate to a song on a personal level, it’s a beautiful thing.”
Matt was born a wild one
As an only child (“My mom says I don’t play well with others”), Matt was born in Nelspruit in 1998 – and raised all over Limpopo with parents who were nature conservationists at various parks and game lodges.
Music is definitely written into Matt’s DNA, with his great-great-great-grandfather being Jan Orrelis De Villiers, the organist and music professor from Paarl. He says that his dad’s side of the family is also quite a musical family, “so I think there is definitely good musical genes from both my parents”.
After he matriculated, Matt studied Languages and Culture at the University of Stellenbosch for a year before deciding to pursue music full time (while still continuing his studies through UNISA). He currently resides in Pringle Bay, just outside of Cape Town.
Getting to know Matt (who hates, hates, hates coriander)
Matt describes himself as individualistic, contemplative, stubborn, a little bit awkward and “just the right amount of pain in the arse”. Talking about his philosophy in life, he states: As inexperienced as I am in life (seeing as I am so young), accepting mortality is the biggest thing for me. If you accept the fact that you are not going to be here forever, you will make the best of the now. I also think a good philosophy to live by is to be kind, and to realise that there is no real place for judgement in the 21st century. We’re all human, we’re all flawed. We’re all just trying to find our own way.”
Five fun facts about Matt that will surprise his (already rather large group of) fans include:
- He is left-handed, but plays all his instruments with his right hand;
- His favourite dog is a French Bulldog as “they look like they are the snobby politicians of the dog world”;
- He is VERY good at impressions;
- He loves animals and is working towards getting more involved with the SPCA. However, he is terrified of spiders;
- He HATES, HATES, HATES coriander. “I’m pretty sure it should be illegal. Just saying…” he chuckles.
Asked to describe his style of music, Matt replies: “I can’t specifically pinpoint my own genre, as I take influences from various different styles of music that I enjoy listening to. It’s more about the emotions that the sound and lyrics evoke than trying to categorise myself into a musical box. I think it’s really important to draw as many influences as possible because we now have the ability to make music that is really diverse and integrated and interesting.”
His musical influences currently include the UK band, The 1975, as well as Childish Gambino, Ed Sheeran, Matt Mason, John Mayer, Sonlux and “a little bit of Miley”.
So what is Matt’s big dream? “To be able to pay rent would be nice. In all seriousness, I would like to reach independence through my music as well as project a conscious message to anyone who is willing to listen. Success to me is not only big crowds – it’s about getting to say my say. But okay, the big crowds will also be nice,” he says.
Where to listen and how to get in touch with Matt
Matt’s music is available on all major digital platforms, including Deezer, Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play and Amazon.
Matt is very active on social media, so join in the conversation at Facebook (MattCarstensMusic), Twitter (@Matt_Carstens) and Instagram (@Matt_Carstens).
Also visit www.mattcarstensmusic.com.
Matt concludes: “I still have a lot to say as a musician. I’m going to keep on making music and writing songs – until I have nothing left to say.”