Jonson Kuhn | New SCENE
Sometimes your worst luck is your best luck and perhaps no one understands that better than Denver artist Matthew Birch (aka Our Violet Room). Not where I Thought I’d Be (out on September 2) is the name of his debut full-length album and not only is the title relatable, but the very personal subject matter within the album is also relatable. Somewhat of a concept album, Not Where I Thought I’d Be tells a story about heartbreak and devastation, seeing expectations thrown out the window only to see everything work out better in the end.
In addition to his September album release, Matthew has several other releases coming out soon including a single releasing August 12, alongside the focus track “Seems My Life” on September 2, and a video for his popular single “Secrets” coming out on September 23. His songs tell the stories of his life including the breakup of his marriage, his challenges with mental health, and ultimately how he has found forgiveness for both himself and others.
“The whole album tells a story about my relationship from start to finish. So, if you have like track one, track one is called “Secrets” and it’s a fun and pretty track about how good things are going, and then when you get to the end of the album it just sort of descends into angrier songs,” Matthew said. “You can just see the progression with each track, they just get more and more into getting angrier. And then the last track of the album is about how all of the crap I had to go through has actually put me in a better place in life.”
Much of life seems to be making plans only to see them now work out as you might think they would and “Not Where I Thought I’d Be” captures that journey perfectly in a start-to-finish story of happiness, heartbreak, and recovery. Though Matthew can’t say he was necessarily setting out to heal his wounds through songwriting, along the way he discovered the story was almost writing itself.
“That’s everything that just came out of me. And then by the fourth song I was like, ‘holy crap, this is like telling a story.’ So, after the fourth song, then I intentionally wrote like the three angrier songs to bookend how it starts out lovely and then ends badly,” Matthew said. “All the shit that hit the fan ended up being for the better. That’s how I got the name for the title of the album because I thought I’d be married, I thought I’d be having a normal job, I thought I’d be living my life with my wife until the end, but now I’m doing music fulltime, I’ve traveled the world and I’m opening up for one of my heroes and it wouldn’t have happened without that trial.”
He released the fifth single, “Loss (and I),” back in July of this year and it’s the perfect choice in terms of introducing what is to come from the rest of the album because it highlights the simple idea that the Not Where I Thought I’d Be revolves around, which is this idea of things being better off having ended even if it’s painful. His sincere sentiments are simple but impactful and almost come across less as lyrics and more as helpful advice to carry listeners through their own personal journeys, which is something Matthew said he’s witnessed firsthand time and time again.
“People come up to me after the shows crying for different specific songs that match where they are in their journey of losing someone,” Matthew said. “It’s been nuts, I think that’s why it’s been like growing and successful because on the album there’s a song for everybody: if you’re in a good spot in your relationship, you’ve got a couple of songs, if you’re in a bad spot, you’ve got a couple of songs, if you’ve passed it and you grew from it, you have a song, too.”
The new debut album isn’t where the good news ends for Matthew, he’s also opening for David Ramirez for three shows on his current tour in Colorado Springs, Greeley, and Denver, yet another experience to come out of the ashes. As Matthew explained, the opportunity kind of just fell into his lap, only further echoing the suggestion that it was meant to be.
“His manager just called me and asked if I’d like to open for him, it was that simple. I was just sitting at home and got a call, and they were like, ‘hey, how would you like to open up for David for three Colorado shows for his tour?’ David is one of my favorite artists, so it was a Yes pretty quick.”
Matthew has also had two of his songs featured on FreeForm’s popular series Good Trouble, as well as two songs featured in a Magnolia feature film. The story behind his songs finding a home with the TV show Good Trouble is almost as “meant to be” as the opening for David Ramirez. One of the actresses from the show was a fan of Matthew’s music, so she sent some songs to the showrunner who then contacted a licensing company who then called Matthew and signed him immediately.
“The cool thing about that is, you know when you watch a TV show and you hear a song, it’s usually at best maybe 20 seconds and then they’ll switch to a different scene,” Matthew said. “Well, Good Trouble used the full length of two of my songs. One of them was for a season finale and they used it over a relationship montage that was called “Cradle to the Grave.” And then another one was over an engagement scene and that played for three minutes, which is nuts, right? That’s not normal. I’ve just been super stoked, I might be on this next season, too.”
Stay up to date with a prolific artist well on his way to becoming hugely successful in the music industry!