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Musican is starting 'a new chapter'

By GLENN GAMBOA Newsday (TNS) Published: November 23, 2016 4:00 AM
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Matthew Koma's uncharacteristically quiet period is about to come to an end.

He is releasing his new single, "Kisses Back" (RCA), this week, the start of what the singer-songwriter-producer says will be a ton of new material in the coming months.

"I'm used to doing a lot of things at once," says Koma, calling from his home base in Los Angeles. "For the past six or seven or eight years, I've been busy collaborating with other people and sidetracked by other opportunities. This starts a different chapter."

Koma said he was wrapping up his production duties on Shania Twain's upcoming album when he got the idea for "Kisses Back," which combines the power-pop sensibilities of Elvis Costello to sketch out a failed relationship with a club-ready electronic groove and a clever, looped chorus.

"A couple people heard it and wanted it," said Koma, who has written songs recorded by Kelly Clarkson and Carly Rae Jepsen, and collaborated with everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Tiesto to Zedd on the Grammy-winning smash "Clarity." "But this felt different. It felt like the vision of what I wanted to do . There are a couple of songs that just feel like your babies."

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"Kisses Back" opened a new period of creativity for Koma, who said he took a break from collaborations and singing on other artists' songs to focus on his own music for a while. "It was a mental shift," he said. "I thought, 'Here starts the making of an album.' I realized I've lived a lot of life and been through a lot of things and this was the first time in years that I really stopped and reflected on it."

The rawness of the emotion on "Kisses Back" marks another departure for Koma, 29. "I've always loved being a craftsman," Koma says of his songwriting. "But this comes from a very different space. It's about just being real. It's about being honest about my relationships, about struggles I've been through personally. I've written plenty of songs that are not tailored for me, writing six different songs to fit six different artists' visions. This is about connecting to myself."

Koma says he feels the set of songs that go with "Kisses Back" is complete and that in his mind they fit together as an album. However, he wants to see how the world reacts to the single first before building more elaborate plans.

"It's just really exciting starting to put music out there," Koma said. "I've never had anything represent me the way this music does. It captures what I set out to do. I believe in it and I just hope that it connects with people."

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PHOTO (for help with images, contact 312-222-4194): MUS-KOMA

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