In an interview on Thursday, December 18, just two days after he placed second on the “The Voice” TV singing competition, former Barnegat Light resident Matt McAndrew was still riding high after his lengthy run on the show.
“I’m just happy about everything,” he said. “I feel like I’m in a pretty good spot right now.”
The Southern Regional High School grad has been shining brighter than Ol’ Barney itself. On Monday night, he performed an original tune, “Wasted Love.” The song was on top of the iTunes charts for the competition while also picking up a ton of Youtube views. Even #WastedLove was a trending topic in Philadelphia on Twitter well into Tuesday afternoon.
He was matched up against Chris Jamison, Craig Wayne Boyd and Damien going into the show’s Tuesday night finale. Boyd won the show.
McAndrew said that in a dress rehearsal before Tuesday’s announcement of the winner, the four finalists’ names were called out in a random placement. For that random placing, McAndrew landed in fourth. He said that was the moment in which he realized that he’d be all right with wherever he placed. He further said he felt the finale had more of an awards ceremony atmosphere than the feeling being eliminated.
“I felt like it was an honor for all of us,” said the 23-year-old.
McAndrew did say as the finale got down to the final two contestants that he was hoping he would place first. Yet when that did not happen, McAndrew gave Boyd a hug because he was truly happy for his opponent. From that point forward as the result sunk in, he was just happy. He was happy for what he had been able to accomplish on the show. He mentioned the success he has had on the iTunes charts, noting “Wasted Love” in particular. He said, honestly, he may be happier about those charts than anything else.
He added as his time progressed on the show, he was able to perform better and better under pressure.
“When people are watching and it really counts, I don’t get nervous about anything,” McAndrew said. “I feel at ease.
With “Wasted Love” on Monday night, he said, “I wanted to deliver a really great performance, and I just had a lot of fun doing it.” Monday marked the first time original songs were done on the show.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” McAndrew said. “As with everything, (coach and Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine) was involved and I give him a lot of credit. We didn’t write the songs. They were found for us. So, Adam had to listen to hundreds and hundreds of emails with songs coming in.”
McAndrew said Levine was the one who selected the song for him and felt good about that selection. Levine played McAndrew a demo of the song, and his reaction was: “oh yeah, cool.” He added he was able to appreciate the tune right away because of its lyrics – something he felt comfortable singing. He was also a fan of the tune because it mixes a little bit of everything he has done up to this point. He especially noted the tune’s relation to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” because of its, as he describes, “agnostic, gospel feel.”
McAndrew added, “like everything on the show,” producing “Wasted Love” was a quick process. He explained he was in the vocal booth for under an hour. Then, the music video was produced in about four hours. Despite the fast manner in which the tune was produced, McAndrew noted that it has been really well received.
Now, he hopes to put out another tune as a follow-up to “Wasted Love.”
“I hope to get some new music out for you guys – hopefully sooner rather than later,” McAndrew said. “(I hope) people just give me places to go and things to do so I’m not sitting in my house.”
During his introduction on the first episode of the season, McAndrew pointed to his first tattoo: an empty box on the back of his wrist. If he signs with a record label, a check will be added to that box. The grand prize if McAndrew had won: a record deal. That box may not have been able to be checked on Tuesday night, as many “McFANdrews” had hoped, but it appears McAndrew has made a name for himself.
The singer also noted the “awesome” support he has had from his hometown area.
In an October interview, McAndrew said this experience was made possible with a little help from his best friend, Manahawkin resident Matthew Hillblom. Hillblom found out the show had a casting call in Philadelphia.
“He was the one who was like, ‘Dude, you’re in Philly. It’s right in your hometown. Like, you don’t really have any excuse to not do it,’” McAndrew said in October.
The Southern Class of 2009 grad made a return to his alma mater back in the fall. He said the experience was crazy, noting that the event had sold out. Yet he figured the atmosphere would be relatively mundane. It was not. In a November interview, McAndrew said the kids were filled with enthusiasm and excitement, which made the event “surpass (his) wildest dreams.”
During that November interview, he said his schedule has been jam-packed, lasting from 4 a.m. until 11 p.m. at times. On that day of McAndrew’s interview with The SandPaper, he started the day early for a media tour. Then, there was a rehearsal for the show’s group song, shooting a digital short and a photo shoot. After the 4 p.m. SandPaper interview (eastern time), he had another rehearsal for a new song with Levine.
Fast forward, McAndrew said he hopes to have a schedule and experiences similar to this again in the future. He said since the live rounds, he was just trying to avoid elimination out of a fear it would lead to having a bunch of downtime where he would just worry about his future. Now he feels that his career will continue to move forward, and with decent momentum.
McAndrew’s hometown appears to still be on his mind, though. He feels the area can be sort of secluded and tight-knit, things he really appreciates. He loves the scenery and people. As for the latter, he again thanked everyone for their support. Heading into Tuesday’s finale, Southern Regional High School’s front sign was hyping McAndrew and the halls were filled with signs reminding students and staff to support him.
Now he said he looks forward to returning to the area during the winter. When doing so he hopes to catch up with some folks. However, for himself, he is looking forward to being on a deserted beach to take time and reflect on what has transpired.
“It’s what I used to do growing up,” McAndrew said.
In that October interview, McAndrew said he spent much of his childhood figuring out who he was as a person. To do so, he would indulge himself in music and walking the beach by himself. He did these things with the hope he would be the “one anomaly” that would live his dreams. Reflecting on these moments, he called the Island beautiful and a great place to grow up.
“Now, living in Philly, I appreciate it in a different way,” McAndrew said in October. “It’s just so beautiful. As beautiful and serene as it is, it obviously doesn’t afford you the same opportunities musically and culturally as living in a major city does. But it was a great, isolated place for me to dream and build on things.”
Now, he will have the opportunity to build on his experiences with “The Voice.”