Interview With Country Singer, Songwriter & Musician Re Mattei!

rei mattei feels like it's gonna rainCountry singer, songwriter, and musician Re Mattei’s name carries a sentimental meaning. “Re,” derived from her first name Marie, is a tribute to her late grandmother, who called the singer that before she dropped the name. “When people call me Re, it reminds me of my grandmother, so it gives me a warm place in my heart,” she shared with So Booking Cool. The New Jersey native is currently promoting her new single “Feels Like It’s Gonna Rain,” co-written by Carrie Underwood, Don Poythress, and Barry Dean.

The song, which continues to grace the Music Row Country Breakout Chart, tells the story of when one knows a relationship is on the outs but does not want to face the truth. We also discussed her single, “Bump, Bump, Bump,” which Mattei wrote about a personal experience. The song is an upbeat anthem about how music can help one overcome the pain of a breakup.

Mattei became a lover of music early in life. She was intrigued by what she heard on the radio, which led to her writing songs at nine years old and then taking on guitar lessons three years later. It didn’t take long for her to realize she wanted to study music. However, after a meeting with her then guidance counselor, she started to change her mind about her dream.

Re-Mattei-1“He [guidance counselor] made the comment, ‘well, there’s already one Beatles; you got really good grades, you need to be a lawyer or a doctor,’ ” the performer recalled. “I remember I came home that day, and my dad called and asked me how was school, and I said ‘oh fine, I’m probably going to be a doctor or a lawyer.’ ”

Fortunately, Mattei’s father reminded her of her musical aspirations and advised her to follow her heart. And she did. She enrolled at Berklee College of Music, graduated, and landed a music publishing deal to join the Top 40 all-female band, the Uptown Girls, where she traveled around the world as a lead guitarist for three years. Now, she is gearing up for her debut album, Believing and Seeing.

Listen to the interview to learn more about Mattei, her music, some of her favorite artists, what she thinks makes a good artist, Christmas, Dolly Parton, details about her next single, songwriting, her other profession, and more! Fore more information, check out Mattei on social media.

Interview With Rock ‘N’ Roll Pianist, Singer & Actor Jacob Tolliver!

jacob tolliver“Santa Baby” was originally Jacob Tolliver’s least favorite Christmas song—in fact he dreaded it—but when the emerging rock ‘n’ roll artist, pianist, and actor had the idea of collaborating with Full House and Fuller House star Jodie Sweetin for a holiday song, he saw no better choice than the classic record. Tolliver’s 50’s, 60’s, 70’s rock ‘n’ roll piano skills meshes with Sweetin’s pop sound for the rendition, which will release worldwide this Friday, November 16.

“It’s kind of a pretty relevant theme in pop music within the last five, ten years of blending retro sounds with modern beats and modern sounds, like Bruno Mars, Michael Buble, Post Modern Jukebox or Megan Trainor,” he told So Booking Cool in description of the song. “Baby” has now become Tolliver’s favorite.

JODIE AND JACOBTolliver, who hails from Ohio, has been active in music since he was a child. Currently, he is the opener for legendary rock n’ roller Jerry Lee Lewis aka The Killer. Previously, Tolliver portrayed the pianist in the Las Vegas production of “Million Dollar Quartet.” The popular musical tributes the famous recording session between Lewis, Elvis Pressley, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins. During his run on the tour, Tolliver was recruited for the 14th season of American Idol. Both stints have allowed Tolliver and Lewis to build a close bond.

“The man truly is a genius,” Tolliver said. Lewis is also an exception to the “never meet your idols” phrase. “He’s 83 and he’s at the point in his life where I think he’d love to see somebody wanting to keep [rock ‘n’ roll] alive and keep it going ‘cause it is really great music. If you’re at a dance and let’s say “Johnny B. Goode” comes on, everybody starts dancing…people love that music, it makes people happy, it makes people dance.” Tolliver’s goal isn’t to copy; it’s to help keep the genre going.

Before making it big time, Tolliver actually was interested in public relations. He saw himself being the publicist for a musician. Proving that life has an interesting way of unraveling, Tolliver was not always passionate about playing the piano. Listen to the interview to learn more about his trajectory, including the time he stopped playing the piano for five years, how friend and Full House creator Jeff Franklin’s party led to Tolliver befriending Sweetin, the book he’s currently reading, Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll by Peter Guralnick (Little, Brown and Company), his thoughts on mentorship and the new Bohemian Rhapsody movie, and more! For more information visit Tolliver’s official website.

Review: I Don’t Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice

final-cover-palmerI Don’t Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice, Keke Palmer, Author North Star Way  $14.98 ISBN-10: 1501145398 

Singer, actress, talk show host, humanitarian, and now author, Lauren “Keke” Palmer has gone from writing in journals to writing her youth empowerment book, I Don’t Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice, a passion-project that has been in the making for three years. After first announcing the book at the end of last March, of course fans were excited and intrigued, but there was also judgment about whether or not it was too soon for the young star to be penning her own life story (which in itself is odd because what gives anyone the right to tell someone he/she cannot write his/her own story?)

Furthermore, as someone who’s been in show business from when she was a child to a now 23-year-old woman, one is sure that Palmer would have plenty to say. And she does, and after reading I Don’t Belong to You, it becomes abundantly clear that so much of what the Scream Queens star says needs to be heard—regardless of if you’re an aspiring entertainer, doctor, writer, etc.

Inside is filled with uplifting memes, quotes, and guides from experts and other celebrities, but the most provoking sentiments come from Palmer, who opens up about everything from her anxiety, heartbreaks, sexual abuse, and depression to therapy, meditation, speaking engagements, and being pro-community. The Illinois native also divulges that as a child, she used to falsely think that her parents were using her; and when her Nickelodeon series True Jackson got cancelled, she felt guilty and anguished about not being able to support her family the way she was accustomed.

Another recurring theme of pain is the one the music industry inflicted on her, classic tale of label versus artist, with a really in-depth perspective.

On a more lighthearted note, readers get to learn other interesting things about Palmer’s career, such as the fact that her first gig (though she did not advance to its TV airing) was the American Idol 2003 spin-off, American Juniors and that it was ultimately her singing abilities that helped land her a role in her first film, Barbershop 2: Back in Business. Also, Palmer shares that entrepreneur, filmmaker, and actor Tyler Perry recommended the Madea’s Family Reunion star to his dermatologist and paid the tab—a secret Palmer has kept until now!

When it comes to improvements and/or suggestions for I Don’t Belong to You, there is repetition at times that should be eliminated. Although I understand why she might not want to expose too much, I think Palmer should be a little more specific when it comes to her account of her father’s alcoholic verbal abuse—I only advise this because there are probably many young people who can relate because they have experienced something similar; this information makes the book more relatable and poignant.

Palmer is accomplished yet still young in her career, with many more projects and lessons to learn ahead, which makes her all the more a perfect person to write this book. Most public figures wait until years later to reveal personal struggles and turmoil, but Palmer has chosen to recount her journey while she is still very “relevant” as they say, in her career. Sure, she isn’t the first famous person to write a memoir and/or guide book, but as a reader, one can feel that what probably motivated Palmer to open up so candidly is not just about a testimony, but using her story to reach others. To remind people that her being a celebrity does not make her any less human, no better, or no less than you, me, or the next person.

We live in such a time now where people assume that those with popularity and riches should have nothing to complain about regardless of what they might be going through. Palmer is unembarrassed to admit that there have been times where she wasn’t getting any opportunities in her field of work, there were absolute crickets, which is why she firmly believes in one creating his/her opportunities instead of just waiting around.

I want to thank Palmer for making this gift of a book and for choosing me alongside hundreds of others in the #IDBTYSquad Facebook book launch group to receive the ARC, and thanks are also extended to Lacy Lynch, Palmer’s book agent, and Daniel Decker, who ran the book launch. I Don’t Belong to You is available for pre-Order now and purchase Tuesday, January 31.