'The Voice' exit Q&A: Matthew Schuler talks song choices, Team Xtina, and the future

Matthew-Schuler.jpg

Image Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC

Cute as a button, with an indie heart of gold, Matthew Schuler still could not be saved on Tuesday night’s The Voice, even by the supreme powers of Twitter. But don’t you worry about him! He’s got plans brewing, and when EW caught up with him bright and early Thursday morning, he had already gotten himself to the City That Never Sleeps. There’s no rest for the weary, after all, and certainly not those with dreams of a music career and 79,000 Twitter followers asking when his first single will drop. 

Schuler’s confidence and versatile sound stood out early with his unique audition, and performances like “Wrecking Ball” and “Hallelujah” made him a powerful force in the live rounds. We caught up with Matthew to talk about his song choices, what it’s like to be on Team Xtina and what to expect from him in the future (think big).

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Matthew, you just got into New York! How are you feeling after the elimination?
MATTHEW SCHULER: It’s so cool to be talking to you guys! It’s a little bittersweet because the show has done so much for me and I really enjoyed my time there. It was hard to say goodbye, but when one chapter closes, another opens. I’m ready to strike while the iron is hot, you know, to start my career. This is just the beginning.

Because you were a fan before you auditioned, did you feel like you knew what to expect? Were there any surprises?
Yeah, watching the show, I had a general idea of what I was getting myself into, but a few things changed. The steals and the knockouts, that was a cool thing to have in the mix this season; also, the Instant Save. It’s amazing, the people who are behind all that, who create these crazy concepts. They were very welcome changes. I was really excited.

So you were a fan of the Twitter Save? Is that something you think the show should keep next season?
I’m a benefactor of it; I wouldn’t be here without it. I think it’s really great that America has the power in those five minutes. The longest five minutes of my life! I think the twitter save should definitely stay. All the changes, they allowed for talent to stay on the show longer than if they hadn’t had them. I appreciate everything that Twitter and social media have been doing for my career.

Your audition definitely caught everyone’s eye from the start. What went into choosing to sing “Cough Syrup”?
I seriously have a heart for indie music. That’s definitely the type of music that I want to put out. Young the Giant is such an amazing band, full of youth and energy and spirit. They did a performance on the VMAs and they totally destroyed it and their popularity just skyrocketed. I, of course, got into them before everyone else. [Laughs] It’s so funny, everyone always says that. It’s an uplifting, joyful song about, even though things aren’t good, you have to go through the bad stuff to get the good stuff. It was an awesome start to my journey on The Voice to sing a song near and dear to my heart.

And you chose Team Christina after your four-chair turn. What did you learn from her as a coach throughout this process?
Yeah, Team X! People really don’t know this about her, but she’s like a mama lion. She really has our backs. She doesn’t ever want us to over-sing or over-rehearse and save ourselves for when it counts. I definitely learned about being transparent and honest with the audience through being on the show and through working with her. Being on her team, she really focused on passion and heart and emotion, which is something that I want to always bring to the stage. Tell the story and really believe in it, you know? She’s just an amazing coach and an amazing person

I’m sure that connection went into the song choices that you two made together: You started with that indie sound that you love and then you varied it up some. What went into making the song choices that you did?
Moving into the live shows, it was crazy. Christina definitely kept me on my toes. I feel like I sang basically every genre under the sun on the show this season. Except maybe salsa. [Laughs] It was so cool though, being able to branch out, because I want to be a versatile artist. Starting off the live shows, I was doing “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. I was actually terrified at first because, that song was what was so hot right then, so it was a tall order. But I think it worked out in my favor and it was a good risk to take. I really appreciate Christina for challenging me and testing my boundaries.

Like you said, that risk turned out in your favor. Were there any song choices that you felt weren’t received in the way you hoped they would be?
Yeah, I actually have to say there is one song: It was probably Imagine Dragons’ “It’s Time.” I mean, I love that song so much. I wish that had done better on iTunes, or that people had received it a little better. I definitely put my heart and soul into it, but I still have no regrets at all. I loved performing it, I had the time of my life up there. Having eight background dancers? That’s crazy!

Were you surprised to be sent home this week?
I guess I saw it coming a little bit because so far on the show, no one has broken the curse of the bottom three. When you’re in the bottom three, it’s almost inevitable you’ll go home the following week, but I was kind of going into it just joyful and excited to still be there. That America did save me with the Instant Save the week before was just an honor. The caliber of the talent on this show, it’s amazing! I’m still freaking out that Team Adam has all three. Adam is just killing it this season and I’m really blessed to have been working with all of them.

Who were some of your favorite other contestants to work with? Any memorable performances?
I definitely loved the all-guys song we did when there were like 10 guys left, “We’re an American Band.” It was so much fun. I consider them my family, like, they’re my brothers. Probably, “Lego House,” as well, being able to sing with Caroline, Jacquie, and James; I love them. It’s funny, me and James are from Pennsylvania and then Jacquie and Caroline are both from New Jersey. We’re definitely going to be keeping in touch. This show brought us together. I’m just…I’m a fan. I’m a fan of all of the contestants who’ve been on the show.

You’re fans of all of them, but looking forward, who’s got your vote? Who do you think is going to take it all?
Man, I feel like I’ve got to stick with my little sister, Jacquie. I think she could definitely take it home this season. There’s just something about 16-year-old girls on The Voice: the huge voices, the star quality, I feel like she’s got it in the bag. I’m so ridiculously proud of her. She’s a star.

Looking at your future, how do you see yourself moving forward in your music career?
You know, I’m talking to some labels and getting my original music out there. That’s the entire reason why I auditioned for the show, so I can share my original stuff with the world. I write so much and I want to write for other people. Music is so powerful and people, they go to it for comfort, they go to it when they’re having fun with their friends and I want to be the soundtrack to people’s parties and the soundtrack to people’s lives. For my songs to be attached to their memories, it would be an honor to do that. So, I’m definitely going to be doing a lot of song writing. Hopefully I’ll have some new music coming out real soon.

Finally, what’s the biggest thing you’re taking from The Voice that will inform your career moving forward?
It taught me about hard work and diligence. It’s not going to be easy, but the reward is so worth it. It taught me how to always present my best self and how to introduce myself to people. People really look to you and that they’re watching and you can inspire other people, you can encourage other people. That’s all I want to do. If I’ve encouraged one person being on the show, and in my musical career going forward, then my job was done.

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