If you like your music smooth, sultry and sexy, then Yellow Shoots is definitely your go-to artist. He seamlessly fuses R&B, soul, jazz and hip-hop to create gorgeous songs that immediately envelop you in raw sensuality and emotion.
Yellow Shoots is actually Greg Matthews, a singer/songwriter from Philadelphia who is now based in the growing music scene of Brooklyn. His artistic name was born from his experiences with synesthesia, a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway, such as sound, leads to an automatic, involuntary response in a second sensory or cognitive pathway, such as sight.(Wikipedia) Greg sometimes sees vivid yellow colors when hearing music (a common form of synesthesia is known as chromesthesia, for sound to color), hence the name “Yellow Shoots.”
He attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he studied guitar. He began honing his music skills playing guitar for Noel Terrel’s gospel band, and later collaborated with Ryan Toby of City High, and played back-up for R&B/pop singer GoGo Morrow at Jay-Z’s Made in America music festival in 2013. After relocating to Brooklyn in 2014, Yellow Shoots started writing and producing his own music, and released his stellar debut single “Pieces” that October. His lushly produced music is mostly synthesized, and he records almost every instrument featured in his songs. His silky-smooth, sensually breathy vocals call to mind the jazz singer Michael Franks.
In “Pieces,” warm, jazzy textures and multi-layered vocals, including sounds of a child singing, contrast with the darker lyrics of disillusionment and deceit: “All the ways that you show me that you care, turn into lies.”
After “Pieces” dropped, he continued working on additional songs, eventually releasing his EP More Alive in 2015. That EP contains five songs, all of which address love, lust, and relationships, set to slow, soulful electronic hip-hop infused vibes. Other singers collaborated on two of the songs – Mayo for the title song “More Alive” and Faja for “Soul Find Me.”
In an interview with Josh Messer for the weblog pressplay, Yellow Shoots explained his inspiration for his highly seductive music style. “Honestly, I think society has some serious polarity in the arena of sexuality. Sex in America is either massively overdone, overcompensating to grab people’s attention, or it’s considered completely taboo. I think this EP has a naturally seductive nature because I explored what sex actually does to people. I think it’s capable of driving people to insanity, euphoria, freedom and knowledge. It can be liberating as well as damaging. Most of the music here demonstrates sex as a quest for knowledge, to learn about others, expand one’s mind. So I explored this side of sex. It’s much less about about the instinctual side.”
Here is a live performance of another song from the EP – “Tame You” – performed with a back-up band on the roof of a Manhattan highrise for Balcony TV in 2015:
With his latest release, the bluesy, ethereal “Stormy Weather,” Yellow Shoots vocalizes the emotional agony and sense of loss that comes with the break-up of a relationship. He told The FADER magazine, “‘Stormy Weather’ is about a person losing a relationship or separating ties with someone. It talks about how one doesn’t actually feel the depths or significance at the time they lose a relationship. I tried to demonstrate that I get hit with that wave of loss at an unexpected time, which is often triggered by an unexpected event. Life is odd and awkward for a bit and all of a sudden you get smacked in the face with everything that’s missing, everything you had before.”
Yellow Shoots is currently working on his follow-up EP, scheduled to be released in 2016.
If you dig his music, support this guy and check it out on itunes, Spotify and SoundCloud.