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Matt Terry

10th June 2024

Photographer & Editor-in-chief: Owen James Vincent

Digital Editor: Pankhuri Bhutani

Interview: Chris Richmond

Grooming: Alex Spikings 

Stylist: Ray Wooldridge

Matt wears Feng Chen Wang

A big thanks to DediKated!

It's been a big year for Matt Terry. After winning The X Factor back in 2016, a string of singles and a debut album followed, as well as collabs with Enrique Iglesias and Sean Paul. Things then went a bit quiet for a while, but now he's back - and somethings different. He's confident and self-assured, a vision of a man who knows himself more than he ever did, and that's reflected in his music. 'His Car', Matt's latest single, is a gut-wrenching plea of love, and his first single to be released since coming out as LGBTQ+. It's a touching tribute to navigating love as a queer person, and we spoke to Matt about the track's conception, his story so far, and his plans for the future.

Hi Matt! Thanks much for the interview. First of all, I just want to say your latest single, 'His Car', is incredibly affecting - I had a lump in my throat whilst listening to the song and watching the video. What you describe is something that I know countless queer people experience every day. What was the process like of writing and recording the song? Was it painful to revisit those emotions? 

Hello! Thank you for having me!

Oh thank you honestly, that means the world. I love that this is the reaction I am getting from the song and the music video, it’s real life and telling stories with my songs is what I love to do. 

And it is exactly, that. I wrote this song, as you said, for the countless queer people that live this way. 

This song honestly happened very quickly. I wrote it with one of my good friends, we just sat by the piano and it all came flying out. As soon as we finished the song, we both laid on the floor and listened to it back and we fell in love with it. 

It is by far the hardest song I've ever recorded. I kept getting to the chorus and my voice would wobble and my eyes would fill up and we had to stop. Which has never happened to me in all these years!

Why did you feel that now was the time to open up about your sexuality? 

Honestly, it was all because of this song. I never felt the need to declare my sexuality to the world, but I have always said if I ever did I would do it my way. And His car was my own way of telling my story. 

I also feel that in the media right now and especially in music, we’re not showing enough diversity of what LGBTQ humans can look like, it seems we’re only seeing one side, with the all the glitz and glitter, heels and lashes. (Which are all awesome of course) but there are also everyday guys like me who are a huge part of the community, and we need representing to! 

What was your experience like filming the video? Did it feel different having a male love interest for the first time? 

I felt so FREE! And the truth will always set you free. It was such a rewarding experience. I worked with one of my close friends Courtney Nathan Phillip. We directed and produced the whole thing together so its was DOUBLE liberating, to be in control and to be on camera with a man. My good friend Arun Blair was the love interest and I thought he was the perfect fit. He’s really been there for me over the years and knew the story just as well as me. So I am over to moon with how it turned out and love that so many people are watching it!

Are you happy with the response to the single so far? Personally, I've seen nothing but positive comments about how proud everyone is of you for being so honest and vulnerable. 

SO happy! I didn’t know what to expect. But I was honestly overwhelmed with the amount of love I received. I also was just aware that I would get all around responses. I knew that people knew about my sexuality, I knew that others didn’t. But it's not about them and what they know. This is just about me living my truth and thats all that matters. 

I’ve never had so many dm's in my entire life. I still go looking through them all now. With the amount of stories and experiences that are so similar to mine. We’re all going through this together. I feel very welcomed.

You took a slight hiatus for the last few years. What did you learn taking some time out? 

I learnt how to take care of myself. Coming off the show I cared most about the opinions on the people around me. I tried to please absolutely everybody and said yes to things I should never have said yes to. Decisions were made by others, and when they didn’t work out suddenly it was my fault. I for sure was ridiculously hard of myself and I had neglected taking care of myself. 

Today is a very different story. It feels good to live life this way, only thinking about myself and the people that I love. I make every decision authentically. I think most of all I have learnt how to not take this life too seriously, do what you love and have fun doing and remember nobody fucking cares so why should you?! [laughs]

Are we building towards an album? What can fans expect from further releases? 

I’ve written so many albums that will never see the light of day, and probably were how I got through lock down to be honest. But yes to answer your question I have an album ready. However I do feel like we’re not living in an easy time in music and unless you’re one of the big guys it's not as simple to just drop an album. So that being said, I’m rebuilding. I’m seeing this as me starting over, only this time with much better knowledge. So I think my strategy right now is to get as much music out as possible, rounding up new fans and hitting those playlists!

You've said in interviews before that your time on The X Factor was difficult. What was it that was difficult about the experience?

The first hurdle is really understanding the show and the monster that it is. It really is huge and it can make or break you. I feel like I actually grew A LOT on the show, and I will say the actual show itself, I look back on fondly. I understood the assignment and all I wanted to do was win. I kept my head down, my eyes on the prize and went for gold. But it was AFTER the show that I feel was extremely difficult. I wasn’t looked after in the slightest looking back.  I had all this pressure to deliver a number one album and anything less was gonna be considered a flop. And I hated myself and punished myself for years… But I have done a lot of work on myself and today I am so proud of 23 year old me. 135 million streams on your debut single…Not many artists in this world have done that, and I am so so proud of it! 

Do you regret going on the show?

I truly trust my path. I believe for whatever reason, I am always right where I am meant to be. I wouldn’t be the strong human I am today without that experience. 

Were you happy with how things were managed career-wise after you won the show? Did you feel forced into doing anything you didn't want to do? 

Absolutely not. It’s a really fine line, because nobody forced me to do anything. But there were things that I did because I was told I “needed” to do it for my career to be relevant… being papped with a girl being one of those things, ill leave it there… but I will confidently say there was no duty of care and I felt like I wasn’t human. 

I do want to say I have very much moved forward and I have forgiven and forgotten.

We hear you have a new single coming out in June! What can you tell us about the track and it's release?

YES! Well, are you ready to have some fun? Because I am! I feel like my last few singles have been very deep, which I love, because I like to get deep. But now that I have told some of my story and summer is approaching it’s time to enjoy a pop banger in the sun. I am so excited for people to hear this one, its a side of me I have never shown anybody and I am ready to get this one out for the world finally hear! It’s a whole vibe, definitely pop but with r&b melodies along with some quirky lyrics. I had so much fun writing this one!

This is your first pride season since coming out to the public - how do you feel? Does it feel different now you have that weight off your chest?

I CANNOT WAIT! I love nothing more than surrounding myself with queer people. I headlined Gran Canaria pride last month and I just loved seeing the plane filled up with beautiful people from our community, seeing everybody around the square and bars, I felt like I belonged. We are the best after all... It does feel different I feel like I’m finally doing my job as myself. And it just feels so fucking awesome. 

What can we expect for the rest of the year for you Matt? 

Ahhhh I am so excited for this year, I am enjoying everyday. So lots of prides and festivals which I cannot wait to perform at through out the summer. It feels awesome finally being part of my community in the music space. And of course, A LOT MORE MUSIC!

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