Audiences find guitarist inspirational with an edge

Aside from my weekly Arts & Culture column, I also produce the Arts Scene calendar about what’s going on for arts and entertainment around the Summerville area. As such, I frequently type Matthew Crissman’s name as he performs music at local establishments. A native of Lexington, Crissman has lived here in Summerville for the last three years and performs mostly as a solo artist although he has had gigs with a band of various musicians backing him.

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Regan: When did you start in music (playing, writing and performing)?

Crissman: I’ve been playing guitar since 2009 and writing since 2012. I have been performing throughout my life. When I was younger, I actually participated in a few talent shows. As a singer, I recorded myself for the first time in 2012 but I didn’t start performing in front of an audience with a guitar until 2016.

Regan: How would you describe your music, alternative?

C: I would say that it is inspirational music — pop/rock with an edge. A lot of my music seems sad when you first listen to it but listen closer and you’ll realize it comes from a positive place.

R: Which artists or bands have been the biggest influence on you and why?

C: I have so many different influences. I am a huge fan of The Beatles and really anything from that time period inspires me. I am kind of a hippie! I have a huge appreciation for all music. I grew up in the 90’s so Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, and Marilyn Manson all have had an impact on me. I try to combine the 90’s realness with the counterculture message of light and dark as both play a part in the universe and I try to convey that in my music.

Regan: How many songs have your composed and do you have a favorite one (tell us about that)?

C: I have written enough songs to make an album. I have tons of ideas for songs and writing is always on my mind. One of my favorite songs I’ve written is called “The Rain Falls” and it is a song about empathy.

R: You had a music video produced by Hybrid Audio Solutions (West Ashley) over a year ago to your song,

“A Light Inside You”. Tell us about that experience and how you met your Producer/Alan Price.

C: I met Alan Price through Facebook and a mutual friend and songwriter, Jamie Jamison. Alan saw one of my recordings on Facebook and texted me saying he thought I had a cool voice and he wanted to take one of my ideas and turn it into something. We talked about it and decided to record “A Light Inside You” which is my first official recording. It has aired on the radio locally on 98 Rock (98.1 FM/WYBB) and 105.5 FM The Bridge (WCOO). We recorded the music video shortly after that and you can check it out by Googling Matthew Crissman “A Light Inside You”. It is on Spotify, iTunes and Apple music as well.

R: What do you like most about music—writing the music itself or the lyrics, and does the melody appear first for you usually or the words?

C: I love everything about the writing process. I have written songs both ways, to be honest. I have an appreciation for the melody and the lyrics, so I guess it depends on the song. I have felt strong emotions from writing a melody like when you are hearing something for the first time, but you swear you’ve heard it before, and I’ve wept reading my own lyrics.

R: What are your hopes and plans for your music?

C: Currently, I am focused on learning as much as I can about songwriting and performing. I will be releasing a new single soon. You all should check it out. It’s called “Don’t Let Go”. My main goal as a musician to is to help inspire as many people as possible. Music has changed my life in so many ways and I just want to give back to the community.

Mary E. Regan, Columnist, is a Publicist with her ProPublicist consultancy. Story ideas? Email: