A Conversation with Composer Matthew Head
Emmy Award-winning composer and Marietta native Matthew Head will headline the Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony’s upcoming 30th-anniversary gala on Saturday, May 18, at the Commerce Club in Atlanta. At the event – dubbed “A Night in Hollywood” – he will share insights and his unique perspective from working in the entertainment industry.
We caught up with Matthew to ask him a few questions about his career in music and why music education is so important.
What inspired you to pursue a career in music?
Music has always played a huge role in my life. My goal was to become a history teacher and writing music was a hobby of mine. I started getting recognized for my talents, which led me to some amazing opportunities that jump started my career.
Why do you think that organizations like the AYWS – that provide competitive musical opportunities beyond the typical high school band room – are important for students?
I will support a program that allows musicians to grow within their talents. AYWS is an amazing program that is beneficial to our musical climate by giving young musicians the exposure and opportunities that they won’t experience in a high school band. My goal is to bring attention to young talent.
What advice do you have for aspiring musicians and/or composers?
Keep learning and working on your craft and music. Develop your sound and strategically use it when needed. Music is forever changing and has a lot moving parts. You have to continue to reinvent yourself.
How do you think learning and performing music helps prepare students for the future – regardless of whether or not they later pursue music as a career?
Music will bring structure, focus, and discipline. Music is an excellent self-esteem and team-building source – reliable skills that are needed in the workforce.
Why do you think music is so important in today’s world?
Where would we be without music? Music has changed and saved lives. It dictates our moods and attitudes in our society. It is the modern language that all human beings can relate to.
Film/TV Music Producer Matthew Head has built a career through sheer talent, resilience, and by earning the respect of power players within his industry including Oprah Winfrey, celebrated Broadway Director Kenny Leon, and Academy Award winner Halle Berry. Through these coveted positions the Marietta-native’s work has won an Emmy, an NAACP Image Award, a Peabody Award, and countless other nominations. With more than 50 credits to his name, Head brings masterful insight and a keen ear to each and every project.
From hard-hitting documentaries that challenge the viewer to change the way they think about the world to light-hearted comedy that offers the escapism movies often do; from packed theaters to a home audience, no matter the scale he uses his unique ability to move an audience through music; to take a scene and accentuate key moments to increase the intensity of a line, word, glance or motion.
As Atlanta’s Film and TV music man, Head has secured the position of Music Producer for OWN’s number one rated show “Greenleaf” for two seasons and Kenny Leon’s go-to guy for theatre productions. In 2017 alone, Head curated music for the reincarnation of “Holler If Ya Hear Me,” a star-studded production of “Our Town” (that included Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., and Mark Ruffalo), and August Wilson’s play “King Hedley II.” Head’s work on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's “Doctors & Sex Abuse” documentary series also helped earn the team a Peabody Award furthering his reputation as the region’s Renaissance man. Matthew composed the score for Viacom’s/BET top rated series drama Carl Weber’s "The Family Business" and the romance comedy "Boomerang". Also while working along side award winning producer Timbaland, Matthew produced the music on Youtube Premiums and Lionsgate hit series "Step Up High-Water."
At just five-years-old, Matthew began playing piano and by age 12 began writing music. His mother, a school teacher, played instrumental, jazz, and new age music in their Marietta, Georgia home while the future composer/ producer found joy listening to the Michael Jackson albums produced by mastermind Quincy Jones. He later went to Savannah State University on a football scholarship but ended up dropping out to pursue music and returned to Marietta where he landed a job at a small studio in Smyrna.
Matthew continued pursuing his gift, and through that he landed projects with Capital Records and Atlantic Records. Through one of his contacts, he was introduced to the TV/Film world, and since 2008 he ultimately transitioned from producing albums to composing and scoring only. He continues to build his body of work and has gained a stellar reputation for excellence while maintaining an approachable attitude.