Last year, among his many other accolades, Matthias Sturm was nominated for the 10th Independent Music Awards (IMAs) in the Short Form Music Video for “Blood And Thunder,” the title track from his debut full length album. Considering his status as a musical citizen of the world, it’s no surprise that he chose the dreamy John Lennon and Pink Floyd influenced global harmony song “Peace on Earth” as the unofficial lead single. The tune is gaining airplay from Triple AAA stations & college radio in the U.S. to outlets in India and Dubai. Sturm will be headlining a tour in Dubai the last quarter of 2012 in association with W.O.A International, the Dubai Cable Networks, VH1 and with the support of the Rolling Stone (Middle East).
The multi-talented singer/songwriter’s life leading up to his emergence as a solo artist rolls like a high spirited travelogue, with his heartfelt voice conveying highly poetic music and lyrics that, in his words, invite the listener to “step into a Byronesque universe inhabited by muses.” Sturm hails from East Germany; was heavily inspired by Mississippi Delta Blues and jazz a la Miles Davis and John Coltrane; attended the evening classes of the Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden; and writes most of his songs at home in a large 16th Century Fortress in the Countryside outside of his adopted hometown of Paris. He headed to L.A. to record Blood and Thunder at Blind Melon’s private studio with producer David Hillis, best known for his work with Pearl Jam, Afghan Wigs and James Blunt. The collection also features two-time Grammy nominated songstress Erin Alden (keyboards, piano, arrangements) and drummer Dave Krusen, who anchored Pearl Jam as a founding member.
Drawing upon influences from numerous cultures, Sturm has a unique sound that’s steeped in classic 70s rock and has been compared by Shoentel Music in Los Angeles as “reminiscent of Roger Waters...(but with) more layered depth and more melodic.” Mike Galaxy, an L.A. based music promoter adds, “These songs are cool, very different than anything I’ve ever heard.” They offer a subtle and colorful mix of folk, Avant Garde and French Chanson garnished with cinematic soundscapes. His expansive depth as a singer, songwriter and recording artist is in some ways a musical outgrowth of his highly acclaimed work as a visual artist and painter. After the Berlin wall came down, Sturm became one of East Germany’s youngest and most talented painters. His paintings are part of some of the most important collections in Germany, Austria and the U.S. and in many private art collections.
Sturm has a recently growing fan community in the Benelux States where Belgium popstar NOVASTAR recruited him for supporting slots on a 2008 tour of Belgium and Holland. Sturm has also performed on club tours and larger venues across Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, India and the USA, sometimes on legendary stages like the AB (L’Ancienne Belgique) in Brussels. Signed to W.O.A. International with a management and license deal for India and the Middle-East, he performed the W.O.A. Indian Summer Tour 2009. Last year, Sturm was back on stage for the W.O.A. International India Tour 2011 in association with VH1. His pioneering of independent music in India included a performance at the International Music Festival at Goa in front of the Indian Minister of Power, Mr. Alexio Sequeira. He recently created a new video clip of his song “Homesick,” which was shot at Goa, and will have TV premiere on VH1 India this year.
For many fans, one of the most compelling aspects of the Sturm musical experience is his lyrics, which read like poems from the Romantic era of English literature. “Crow Food” is a song about transformation that draws on the metaphorical image of a man sitting in a park, transforming suddenly into a bird. “Mister D” is the sweeping tale of someone who lost their love and is offered a chance to have his pain taken away, but at a steep price—like a handshake with the devil.
“I see myself as a storyteller, and my lyrics have a strong poetic character,” says Sturm. “They are written in the style of a spoken word tradition that draws on the romantic literature I love from 19th Century England. It was a very interesting phase in the history of poetry and the stories, like mine, were a bit dark and asked great questions about life, death and love. There is a strong association to image and scenery which allows people to imagine themselves in any given situation. My writing is very subconscious, and I always feel the most interesting songs come upon the writer when he or she least expects.”
by Jonathan Widran, member of the L.A. Recording Academy
Matthias Sturm’s tracks