Maybe it was his love for music or his childhood idol Kanye West, or maybe it was the true desire to be different than anyone else. But listening to senior Matt Woodward’s funky electro music or reading a review about it in Burlington’s Seven Days hints that he might be onto something.
The magic starts when he sits down at his computer, headphones on and MIDI sampler keyboard in front of him. Then the good vibes just start rolling out.
In some of the songs he produces, you can hear ambient nature-like sounds. In others there are unique chaotic sounds that seem are so out there, but tied together with a sort of organized rhythm.
Woodward, who also goes by the name WDY, is not only a full-time student majoring in communication, but he also DJs for WIUV, produces and writes his own music, writes for the Spartan and is a on the men’s cross-country team.
It was in 2010 that the urge to produce music like no one else grabbed him. Armed with only his computer and keyboard, he began splicing sounds together – and people started listening.
“My intended audience is dreamers; people who really think outside the box,” Woodward said.
Senior George Forbes, who was also Woodward’s roommate last year, witnessed all the late nights and time he put into his music.
“His dedication is pretty impressive,” Forbes said.
All the hard work started to pay off through thousands of hits on music sharing sites and reviews in various publications, like Seven Days.
“No one, not just in Vermont or in the Burlington music scene, is creating music that sounds even close to mine,” he said.
His friends completely agree.
“There’s a lot of variety in it and it makes him really stand out as an artist,” sophomore Margie Kuchinski said.
And she isn’t the only one who enjoys Woodward’s uniqueness.
“I think it’s different, but refreshing. You can sit back, relax and listen to it,” Forbes said.
His biggest challenge as a small town artist, however, is getting more people to listen.
“In a way, it’s nice to be able to create something that sounds new and fresh, but it’s hard to get people to actually hear it,” said Woodward. “You can have a Sound Cloud and a YouTube, but if you aren’t in a big music market its tough to ever be found and that’s what I think is happening with me right now.”
Still, that doesn’t stop him from doing what he loves, although the pursuit does get in the way of other things at times.
“It’s tough to focus in class a lot because it seems like I’m chasing a career I don’t find as interesting as music is to me, especially music that I create, ” he said.
Unlike many artists, Woodward never took lessons in producing music, he just learned by doing. His album titles, song titles, and the sounds he produces fit whatever mood he is in at the moment or even a particular life experience.
Woodward said he shares these moods and life experiences through his music because he hopes people can find some sort of connection to them. Once his music really starts to get noticed, he hopes to go a lot further with it.
“I’m hoping to keep creating albums. I’m trying to continue to create and hopefully keep get more and more plays and hopefully that will reach record labels that I could sign to,” Woodward said confidently.
A secret confession people may not know is Woodward doesn’t really know how to play guitar, even though he has an electric guitar model in his dorm room. He’s really eager to learn, though, and eventually wants to add guitar on his albums.
So where will he be in five years?
“My ultimate goal is to tour the world. Playing my music every night would be a dream come true,” Woodward said.