It’s not just banjo pickers and acoustic guitar strummers coming out of the South.
Mattiel, based in Atlanta, Georgia, grew up an hour from the city on a farm with her mother. As an only child, she struggled with loneliness. “I was pretty isolated,” she tells BTRtoday. “[But] I think maybe being isolated on the farm overall influenced my creative spark.”
Though her family wasn’t particularly musical, her mother kept around records from the late ‘50s and the early ‘70s. Listening to these records over and over again, Mattiel became enamored with rock ‘n’ roll. However, it wasn’t until she moved to the city (Atlanta) in 2014 that she met people who encouraged her to start writing her own tunes.
“What you’ve heard is the first stuff I’ve ever made—it’s cool, people seem to like it,” she says about the debut self-titled album that she released in September. “I like to make people happy with it, but I also like to spread the message that anybody can do it to the best of their abilities too, it’s just fun.”
All of the tracks on the album maintain a rock and R&B influence with major country influences. The theme throughout is a warning about unfaithful lovers or the repercussions of certain life choices. Mattiel’s vocals carry low and sturdy throughout each song with a sweet tone that sounds confident, yet ominous.
One of her favorite tracks is “Whites Of Their Eyes.” It’s a threatening track, heavier on the rock/R&B side, with a steady marching band-like beat and gritty guitar strums behind fuzzed out vocals that remind you of a classic Spaghetti Western stand-off.
The video features shots of Mattiel singing in scenic environments shot throughout California and Georgia. Sometimes adding aesthetics flares like fireworks, bold colored backdrops and even a white worse. At one point Mattiel even stands daringly all the way up on the horse—the imagine eventually ended up becoming the album’s cover photo.
“When we shot it, it was more like a souvenir photo that I wanted, because I wanted to have a photo of me standing on a horse—I didn’t know it was gonna be the album cover,” she says. “I grew up with horses, so I’m pretty comfortable with them. I can usually tell if it’s gonna be a good experience or a bad one.”
This farm girl isn’t stopping any time soon. She’s already planning on playing SXSW and doing an EU tour sometime this year. She’s also in the works of finishing her second full-length album that she’s very excited to share. She doesn’t want to give too much away, but she says her sound has made an obvious evolution.
“It’s easy to distinguish that it comes from a different time,” she says.
Listen to the self-titled album and the full interview with Mattiel on this week’s The Music Meetup.