SINGLE REVIEW: Crazy Heart by Matthew Schultz ft. Alessia Guarnera (Released 2nd May 2014)

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Hailing from New Jersey, Matthew Schultz is making big waves in the music industry, with his first single Money or Me creating a huge impact. This track, which melded hip-hop with a rock element was produced by Armando Guarnera and earned him a nomination at the 2013 EOTM Awards, as well as one for Best New Male Artist. In a short time he has accumulated a huge fanbase and is currently at the top of the charts on Reverb Nation.

However, he’s no newcomer to the industry, having played guitar in Chris Daughtry’s first band, and then venturing into other areas of the entertainment industry, landing a role in The Dark Knight Rises. Now having returned to his musical roots with the very successful Money or Me, his next single Crazy Heart looks set to be a surefire smash as well.

The track is a laid-back but emotive hip-hop ballad about a troubled relationship, propelled by funky acoustic guitar and snappy finger clicks. It builds gradually, we don’t hear a kick drum enter until two minutes in, and grabs your attention from the start. Rather than huge layers of production, Crazy Heart lets the song do the talking, the vocals taking prominence over a fairly sparse but effective backing.

Vocal duties are shared with the breathy, soulful voice of Alessia Guarnera, who brings to mind a cross between Janis Joplin and Rihanna. Alessia, from Brooklyn, New York, is the daughter of producer Armando and a singer-songwriter in her own right. She carries the memorable hook of the song, which it begins with, singing poignant lines such as ‘You build me up, you break me down, I never know my place…’.

Her high-register vocals are contrasted nicely by Schultz’ deep, gravelly tones, who details two lovers in turmoil in the verses. The lyric depicts two people very much in love, but struggling to remain faithful in the face of temptation (”I don’t wanna be that guy, and you don’t wanna be that girl” Schultz sings with sadness in his voice), a timeless theme we can all relate to. Schultz’ voice is not usually the kind you hear on a hip-hop track and the slight rock element that it brings makes the track fresh and original.

From his rapid rise, it would be fair to say that Matthew Schulz has all the credentials for huge success. Combining suave good looks with a distinctive voice and a fresh sound, it seems only a matter of time before he becomes a household name. Great tracks like this one should ensure that his ascendance continues to be meteoric.

With his first single racking up millions of YouTube views, Schultz already has a plethora of fans waiting to hear his next material. They will be far from disappointed with this song which is both catchy and has the emotional weight to get inside people’s hearts and heads. You could well be hearing this a lot over the summer.

 

Verdict: 9/10

Alex Faulkner

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