Making music: Soundstream studio produces album by Silverton teen

January 2021 Posted in Arts, Culture & History
Matt-Alex Raney – photo by Corey Christensen

Matt-Alex Raney – photo by Corey Christensen

By Melissa Wagoner

On Jan. 1, 2021 Matt-Alex Raney released his first album, If We’re Being Honest – 13 tracks inspired by classic country and written by Raney himself.

“I’ve never been much for talking and communicating,” 17-year-old Raney confessed, “Music really helps me put all those ideas and feelings into words and music. I can express everything I think and feel through that rather than talking.”

Produced with the help of Soundstream, a music studio located in downtown Silverton, If We’re Being Honest is the record that almost didn’t happen. In fact, Raney’s entire music career was very nearly extinguished before it even got off the ground.

“My dad forced me,” Raney said when asked how he got his start in music. “And it was the best thing that I ever hated.”

Starting out on both the guitar and piano at the age of 12, Raney didn’t find anything about music that he connected with.

“I hated it with a passion,” Raney confirmed, “more so the piano.”

Then he met Corey Christensen, Soundstream’s founder, and decided to give music one last chance.

“I had three teachers before Corey and they taught me scales but I was never interested in any of it,” Raney recalled. “When I got to Corey my dad said, ‘I want him to be able to play a song by the end of the hour,’ and Corey said, ‘OK,’ and by the end of the hour I could play Red River Valley.”

After that initial breakthrough, Raney began taking a serious interest in his music, not only learning songs but writing them himself.

“It was the summer I turned 14 I started writing,” Raney said. “Usually, I have a guitar on my lap and a pencil in my hand and then I just let whatever happens happen. The more I think about it the worse it gets, so I try not to think about it at all. I just let my hand do its thing and hope for the best.”

After three years and hours of hard work in the studio, If We’re Being Honest is a collection whose very title gives a sneak peek into the fabric of the album.

“I want my music to kind of tell the story of me – what I think and feel about everything,” Raney said. “And I want to be as honest as possible. So, that’s why I named the album, If We’re Being Honest.”

IHe said he is inspired by the classic country and rock artists like Johnny Cash, Tom Petty and Don Williams – introduced to him by his father. The contemporary writing style of Eric Church played a part, too. Raney’s favorite musicians are all storytellers just like him.

“I always wonder what some random person who is listening thinks because when I hear it, I think about what I was thinking when I wrote it,” Raney said.

“Sometimes it gets hard, when you hear it, not to overthink and think it’s not that good. You are your own worst critic. It’s hard to differentiate between meeting my expectations and meeting everyone else’s expectations because mine are a lot higher.”

Christensen, music instructor turned producer, could not be prouder of his student. Matt-Alex has come a long way from the kid who was so ready to call it quits.

“It’s been fun and interesting,” Christensen said. “He’s been a great friend and a great student. I’m really excited for him.”

While there will be no music release party for the album – which will be available on all major streaming platforms as well as on www.cdbaby.com – the experience has still been a good one for Raney. He is already at work on what he hopes will be album number two.

“I’m really happy that I was at the right place at the right time,” he said about meeting Christensen. “It was all very
lucky so to speak.”

If We’re Being Honest
Music by Matt-Alex Raney
Produced by Soundstream Music Studio in Silverton
www.soundstreammusic.org
Stream on all major music services.
Digital purchase at cdbaby.com.
CDs available at Soundstream,
234 S. Water St., Silverton/a>

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