Forget the usual tags – ‘singer-songwriter’, ‘folk-soul’, and ‘troubadour’. If you’ve caught him live, either solo or collaborating, you’ll understand Randolph Matthews operates in his own parallel world, well away from traditional mainstream record label marketing formulae. His music is an evolving journey, rooted in purity and unshackled expression, drawing on the greats of yesteryear in soul, Neo African rhythms and conscious words. Sure, you’ll hear echoes of Marvin Gaye, Jon Lucien and Bobby McFerrin, influences in the true sense, allied to an open-minded approach borne from years performing live and collaborating with a wide variety of groundbreaking London and international artists.
Born in Camden in 1973 to West Indian parents, Matthews’ early music schooling involved soaking up London’s burgeoning late-‘80s soul-jazz scene, including regular trips to Norman Jay’s feted sessions at Hoxton’s Bass Clef. A career in music beckoned. Aged 21, he started out as a percussionist before finding his true vocation as a talented vocalist, performer and lyricist. By the 1990s he was playing sessions for the likes of US soul / boogie legend Don Blackman, recording with Julie Dexter for her J-Life project and working with Arthur Baker on tracks for Brooklyn soul legend, Will Downing. Back then, he even remembers voicing a high profile ad for Twix chocolate – remember the Twix ‘In The Mix’ campaign?
In 2006 Matthews signed his first record contract and released “I Love” Documented.
An aurally delicious blend of emotive words, chant inspired by progressive beats produced Tony Nwachuku (CDR/NEPA) and raw melodies it was a promising experiment in turning Vocal emotions into something tangible. It gained a loyal following, which lead to his first dance piece credit; single Canvas featured in Kwenda Kwenda.
By 2007, Matthews had graced an impressive series of forward-thinking projects with some of Europe's leading soul, jazz and world music musicians and producers, including two fruitful collaborations with in 2008 with Jazzanova producers Seasons and Sygaire (Sonar Kolletiv) which lead to the release of Open to Love for Giles Peterson double boogie complilation "In Da House" and featuring his Heart Song improvisation on numerous tracks for ambient electronica dub producer Seb Taylor and Natasha Chamberlain Kaya Project Album (interchill record).