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By Hannah O’Hanlon
A rising Campbeltown singer/songwriter, who once turned down an offer from music mogul Simon Cowell’s talent scouts to appear on the X Factor, has released his first album.
Matt McAllister’s debut anthology, Stories, is available to download from all major streaming platforms, including Amazon Music, Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music and Google Play, as of today (Friday).
And it is not the only exciting step in Matt’s music career, as he also revealed to the Courier this week that he will begin a US tour, followed by a European tour in September.
The album, which features 11 songs, took 26-year-old Matt four years to complete. He drew from his own life experiences to write some of the songs but many are complete works of fiction.
‘There are only a few songs on the album that I know who they were written about,’ he said. ‘The other songs just sort of happen, sort of fall out of me – like the song, Autumn Falls. One day I was bored so I picked up the guitar and 20 minutes later I had a story about a couple from the Second World War. The husband dies fighting in the war, the lady grows old and develops dementia and thinks he’s still alive and that she is still young. Throughout the song she slowly realises what has happened.
‘I’ve no idea how I came up with it, it just sort of happened, like most of my songs do. The best songs just sort of come to you in a moment, then you’ve got a small creative window to get it done before it goes again.’
Matt’s first single, Scottish Winds, which is very close to his heart as it was written about losing one of his friends, has received more than a quarter of a million views on YouTube and features on the album.
He collaborated with many local musicians on various songs, including Alex Wotherspoon, Mark Leishman, James Murdoch, Sam Hales, Erin McSporran, Jamie Girvan and Oban’s Kate MacPherson.
Fans across the pond will be able to experience the tracks live when Matt begins his US tour next month. Following a gig at the Ugadale Hotel in Machrihanish, where Matt currently works, he was asked by the company which owns the hotel, Southworth Development, if he would perform at some of their American venues.
He will also perform in some US pubs and clubs, after which he will travel to mainland Europe to busk and perform at venues there.
Despite his success, Matt appears to be his own worst critic.
‘I worked really hard on the album but I’m only happy with a certain percentage of it because I’m always trying to get better,’ he said. ‘I believe you never stop learning or working at your craft, but if I didn’t release it now I would still be working on it when I am 90! It’s a relief to finally have it done.’
Surprisingly Matt’s music career was not a life-long dream and began after a chance encounter.
‘I picked up a guitar at a party when I was 17 and someone showed me how to play a few chords,’ he said. ‘Everyone went to bed and when they got up, I was still trying to learn those chords – and I just kept going!’
He added: ‘One day the dream is to be a full-time musician, but if it doesn’t happen, I’m okay with that.
‘My main goal for my album and my music career has been to work as hard as I possibly can at it and then if nothing happens at least I can move on and not wonder what if I done this or that.
‘I would like to thank all the people who continue to show their support towards me, and a special thanks to Southworth Development.’
Physical copies of the album, which costs £10, can be bought directly from Matt via his Facebook page.
‘My dad – wee Irish Alfie – will be selling them too, probably out of the Ailsa Bar or Kilbrannan Bar,’ Matt added. ‘If you know him, get yourself a copy.’
The cover of Matt McAllister’s first album, Stories. NO_c33mattmcallister01_album
Matt McAllister has performed at various venues throughout Kintyre and beyond. 06_c33tarbfest01