This article appeared in the East Orlando Sun April 6 edition.
| Central Florida is teeming with talented singers and songwriters. It doesn’t matter what type of music you prefer, there is something for everyone. Walking through the door of national attention opened by Orlando-based acts such as Backstreet Boys and Matchbox 20 is Orlando resident, Matthew Buckner an R & B singer with a soulful voice and playful personality that has already attracted many fans worldwide.
Buckner is a busy man these days. Ever since he placed as a finalist on "Missy Elliot’s Road To Stardom", he has been hopping. With his full-time job at Universal Studios, the process of recording his CD, and preparing for his appearance at The Score Foundation’s next charity event, it’s amazing he has any time to sleep. "It’s crazy trying to work a full-time job," Buckner said. "Just because you were on a reality TV [show] doesn’t mean your life is all glorious. With those competitive shows, if you don’t win, it’s back to work."
Although he has been singing since he was a kid, Buckner didn’t decide to make a career of it until he was in college. That decision led him to audition for "Star Search". When that show wasn’t picked up for the next season, a producer from the show called him and suggested he audition for "Missy Elliot’s Road to Stardom." Matt was one of thousands to audition, and one of only 13 selected for the show. He finished in the top three on the season finale, which aired March 2nd.
His strong Christian values are evident in the songs he writes and sings. "I’ve been calling it 'positive oriented rhythm & blues,'" Buckner said. "Some of the songs are more hip-hop (and R&B), and some are more Pop ( and R&B). I’m trying to have a commercial appeal. I’m trying to reach a certain audience -- not just a commercial audience -- but also an audience that thinks I’m doing something different. I feel that hip-hop/R&B has gotten vulgar and disrespectful towards certain subjects like women. I try and stray away from that [and] show people that R&B can still have a positive outlook."
Matt cites Brian McKnight and Maxwell as influences for the type of music he performs, but his biggest influence has been progressive-rock frontman turned multi-ciltural performer/producer Peter Gabriel. "He integrated so many different cultures into his music," Buckner said. "He had people from all over playing different instruments, and the way he made everything work together -- I feel he was really different for his time; he was just so creative, unlike anybody else out there. He wasn't doing typical, popular, commercial music, and yet he still sold, just because he was so creative."
Buckner's own music has made an impression on everyone who has heard it. "Matt Buckner is one of the best unsigned talents I have ever met," said Johnny Magic, a DJ at XL 106.7. "This kid is knocking on the door of greatness. He soon will be added on the long list of pop talent that has come from Central Florida, a list that includes The Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, Mandy Moore, etc. It’s exciting to watch this kid blow up and we are behind him one hundred percent."
Orlando may not have the long history for performers that cities like New York and Los Angeles have, but in the last decade more and more artists have risen to national stardom from Orlando. "I feel we have a cross-over appeal and there's definitely a market for that here in Orlando," said Buckner. "As far as the label situation, Orlando is not the biggest. As far as performance-wise and [for]marketability, I think Orlando is a great place. I think there is definitely an audience out there."
Buckner is currently in the studio working with the production team The Beat Surgeons on his debut CD. While that's in production,there are plans to issue a 5-song "sampler" CD just so people have something to hear to keep the buzz going. You can hear samples of his songs "My Song", "Girls In The Club," and others on his site at: www.matthewbuckner.net/
Presently, he has only one appearance scheduled for the Orlando area. Buckner will join Allison Sattinger and Mosaic at 7 p.m. April 7 at The Dragon Room on Church Street in downtown. It is a charity event to benefit The Score Foundation and The Orlando Magic Youth Foundation. He hopes to have more appearances set up soon.