By: Maggie Zawatski
Walking into the big fraternity house off campus, the last thing one expects to find is a recording studio but up the stairs and to the left proves otherwise. Part time rapper and full time student, Matthew Downey, 21 of Norwalk, CT spends his off-time in his bedroom, writing, recording and editing with the help of his brothers.
Downey started rapping as a high school freshman to pass the time on the bus on his way to basketball games. Fast forward seven years and thousands of written lyrics and Downey has found his passion in recording his own music.
Inspired by old school Eminem, 50 cent and Dr. Dre, Downey was hooked the second he listened to the fast-paced, carefully articulated bars.
“I’d describe my sound as smooth, flowing, and bar heavy. The lyrics are the main component, the best part,” Downey describes. “I don’t just repeat the word ‘yeah,’ I’m not about the meaningless lyrics.”
Though his latest song is a slower more emotional song, Downey’s favorite to write are the struggle numbers. The kind of songs that don’t just say what he has but how he got it. Downey’s songs aren’t meant for the packed house parties but for the moments when one can really listen and embrace the lyrics.
In the upcoming year, Downey hopes to release a 15 song mixtape with the help of his mentor Tiny Tempah. Tiny Tempah is a powerhouse London based recording artist who Downey has made connections with and who’s feedback fuels his progress.
“I have two Soundcloud accounts, one for Tempah and one for my friends. I reach out to his cousin, my connect, with songs every few weeks with the ideal goal being as I get better and grow as an artist hopefully we’ll arrange a meeting soon when he’s in New York,” Downey explains.
But Downey is not blind to how difficult getting into the music industry is. He continues his education as a risk management insurance major and plans to stay in New York following graduation to work.
“All you need is one killer song to get big nowadays, but my parents would kill me if I just quit everything for music. So right now, this is what I love and there really is no pressure and I see myself still writing and producing for years because it’s the most therapeutic thing in the world,” Downey explains happily. Unlike many other artists though Downey is not shy about his struggles.
“Recently, I’ve been really working on my voice and I’ve been trying to teach myself how to understand it better,” Downey explains unashamed. “Learning my pitches, highs and low, has helped me get a better understanding of the sound I want to make uniquely my own.”
Downey’s music can be found on Soundcloud at Soundcloud.com/Mdowney190 with 19 songs featuring countless different people. His newest song and one where he feels he’s shown the most growth lyrically and musically is ‘She gon pop’ which is remixed over a J.Cole beat.