'All We Are:' Inside the fervent mind of Matt Nathanson

Singer-songwriter will headline next weekend's Balboa Beach Fest.

October 04, 2012|By Candice Baker
  • Matt Nathanson
Matt Nathanson (Daily Pilot )

It was a very surprising answer to a common question, at least for singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson.

When asked Thursday during a phone interview how life has been treating him, he responded: "Everything is really good. I have no complaints at all … which is very strange for me."

Nathanson has developed a name for himself since the 1990s as a self-deprecating, incurable romantic of the alternative Lord Byron variety, releasing a slew of albums on the power and pain of love in its many forms.

With hits like "Run" and "Come on Get Higher," the San Francisco musician has built himself a cult following, from teens to grandparents, who travel around the country to see him perform live.

But after years of publicly sharing his experiences in the dating world, today's Nathanson is happily married, leaving fans wondering what might happen to his inspiration levels.


"It's funny — I still find myself being sort of endlessly the well of inspiration," Nathanson said. "For me, being such a fan of music and a nerd for music, it comes from other musicians and other albums and that kind of stuff. And so being home… well I guess it gives me a little more perspective."

Nathanson is set to headline next weekend's Balboa Beach Fest, where he said he's happy to be able to perform a full set rather than a few numbers, following a tour as an opening act earlier this year in Australia and Europe.

"It's a killer lineup, like the whole day," he said of the festival, which also boasts performers like Joshua Radin and A Fine Frenzy. "Hopefully I can get there early enough to catch some of the other acts. It's going to be awesome."

Nathanson will perform with his guitarist, Aaron Tap, rather than with his full band.


'Sing Me Sweet'

Along with comedic deftness, which he mines for improvised monologues and jokes from stage, Nathanson also is known for the intensely personal partnership he tries to cultivate with each show's audience, via a conversational style and a willingness to take requests.

"Getting onstage for me is a pretty natural act," he said. "A lot of times, a lot of artists that I've worked with in the past will kind of like need 10 minutes before they get onstage, and kind of gather themselves. For me, getting onstage and talking to people, I try to make it as natural an experience as I can, because I don't want there to be any remove from the audience.

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