Matt Epp (Brock Hodgkinson)
It was as though this beam came from above and just pinned me to my stool and I was like 'this is what I'm gonna do for the rest of my life'.
—Matt Epp, singer/songwriter
Determined, talented, hard working. Those are some of the qualities you notice right away when you meet singer/songwriter Matt Epp.
He grew up in Brandon, spent a few years living in Spain where he learned Spanish and even some Turkish, and established himself in Europe. He has recently moved to Ontario and is in Winnipeg to kick off a national tour to launch his seventh album.
The amazing thing is that Epp decided to become a singer/songwriter before he could sing or write songs. "The passion hit me - it was like a spiritual awakening and I realized this was a thing I needed to do."
He remembers the moment very clearly. "I had this encounter with what I would call the Holy Spirit. It was so profound that I gave myself to that...In that moment I was physically pressed to the ground and I couldn't be released until whatever process had happened," he says.
"I was alone and there was a hand on my back, pushing me down" he explains. "And then when I was released I needed to sing. I didn't know what to do with it, what songs to sing, what to sing at all."
Something else cemented Epp's epiphany. "One February I went to the old Collective Cabaret and I saw Dan Frechette playing acoustic guitar and singing these songs that he'd written. I guess it was a dark period for him but for me it was as though this beam came from above and just pinned me to my stool and I was like 'this is what I'm gonna do for the rest of my life.'"
Epp was also drawn to the passion, architecture and culture of Spain. He decided he needed to go there to further his search for other musicians like himself who were just starting out.
After some networking on MySpace he managed to find some people to collaborate with. "I went over there and within one week, I had a band and a show and even fans," he recalls.
Epp's latest album is called Learning to Lose Control.
Hear Matt Epp with special guest French Press on Saturday June 1 at the Pyramid in Winnipeg. Before then, catch him on SCENE on Air with host Ismaila Alfa on Saturday June 1. The show airs every Saturday from 5 - 6 p.m. on CBC Radio One, 89.3 FM/990 AM/97.9 FM in Brandon.
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