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Matt Duke
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Matt Duke is a South Jersey-bred singer/songwriter currently signed to Drexel University’s student-run record label, MAD Dragon Records, and Rykodisc. Duke began playing piano at the age of seven, and by ten he developed a deep love for the arts. Inspired by artists such as Van Morrison, The Band, and Pearl Jam, he taught himself how to play his mother’s vintage guitar. Duke spent his high school years at Philadelphia’s St. Joseph’s Prep, where he was exposed to Ani DiFranco, Ben Harper, Tool, and Damien Rice. Impressed by their poignant lyrics and musical ambition, Duke started writing and performing at coffee houses in Philadelphia area. By the winter of 2004, Duke recorded his first demo, which landed him placement in MAD Dragon Records compilation CD XYX.
Soon after, XM Satellite Radio’s “The Loft” (Channel 50) added Duke’s songs from XYX into its rotation. Duke’s songs were among the most requested at The Loft, joining Bruce Springsteen and Ben Harper for six weeks at the top spot. These placements helped MAD Dragon Records secure national distribution through Rykodisc. In late 2005, Duke entered the studio to record his debut LP, Winter Child for MAD Dragon Records. He released this LP in September 2006. Winter Child was co-produced by Stewart Lerman (Loudon Wainwright, Dar Williams) and Steuart Smith (The Eagles, Shawn Colvin) at The Shinebox Studios in New York City. The record features contributions by musicians such as Marshall Crenshaw, Brad Roberts (Crash Test Dummies), Suzzy Roche (The Roches), Steve Holley (Wings, Ian Hunter), David Mansfield (Bob Dylan, Bruce Hornsby), and more.
Duke’s lyrics in Winter Child tackle a number of topics ranging from self-destructive behavior (“To Whom It May Concern”, “Listen to Your Window”), to casualties of inner city violence (“One Small Bird”), to the mourning of a loved one (“Don’t Ask for Too Much”) and the Apocalypse (“Tidal Waves”).
Matt Duke released his second album Kingdom Underground in September 2008 under Mad Dragon/Rykodisc. Additionally, he came out with an Acoustic Kingdom Underground EP in June 2009. The Acoustic EP features six tracks that were largely inspired by Matt’s literary experiences. Although he dropped out of college after “15 minutes,” he has used many classic novels as a jumping-off point for many of his tunes.
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