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Matt Ellis
Birth name Matthew Ellis
Born 28 December 1973
Origin Sydney, Australia
Genres Indie folk/ rock
Years active 1994 – present
Labels Krow Pie
Website www.mattellis.com

Matt Ellis (b. 28 December 1973) is a folk/ rock genre singer-songwriter who became an indie identity of critical acclaim in his hometown of Sydney, Australia.

Early years

He had an international upbringing spending his childhood between Sydney's northern beaches, Brisbane, Australia and Wellington, New Zealand before his family's relocation to Hong Kong - where he spent almost all of his teenage years.

Inspired by punk & rock bands of his high school era, Matt Ellis formed Sydney, heavy-rock band Sedgwick Pie. With Matt as their frontman, Sedgwick Pie released two EPs, touring with such prominent 90s acts as Reef (band) UK, Grinspoon AUS & Tumbleweed (band) AUS, before launching his solo career in 2000 with his critically acclaimed debut,"Peel". Release of this album quickly established Ellis on an international stage, with the album sitting in the top 10 on ninemsn for six weeks. The self-produced music video for the title track "Peel", gained airplay on Foxtel's Country Music Channel, MTV Australia, Rage (TV program) and defunct, late-night TV show on Network Ten, Ground Zero. The track was added to rotation in South East Asia, but was eventually banned after outraged viewers called in to complain that the clip - which featured Ellis driving around Sydney blindfolded - promoted reckless driving. The banning sparked an invitation from Channel V Asia for Ellis to interview and perform live at the station in Hong Kong. This performance wrapped the Peel tour which saw Matt Ellis perform at respected rock music venues CBGBs (RIP) NYC & the Knitting Factory LA.

In July 2004, Matt Ellis launched his second, self-titled solo effort at the Vanguard in Sydney. The production team on this second album consisted of Ellis himself, long time musical collaborator, Tamlin and ARIA Music Awards winner, Jonathan Burnside. As a preview to the forthcoming album, a double A-side single of "In This Life/ Where It Starts" was launched in August 2003 at Sydney venue, The Gaelic Club. Along with more critical acclaim the release also attracted a sponsorship from Cole Clark Guitars, Australia. Tracks from the album received airplay on Triple J, Sydney’s FBi Radio, Newcastle’s New FM, 2NUR and countless stations Australia wide. The album has also received airplay on College radio in Germany, Canada and the USA.

In 2005 Matt Ellis left Australia with his latest album in hand and embarked upon a tour across Canada and the USA which included shows in and around Vancouver, Hornby & Denman Islands and at the North by Northeast (NxNE) Festival in Toronto. Ellis stayed on the road through July and August playing a twenty date acoustic tour through New York, Pennsylvania, Toronto, Vancouver, San Francisco and Los Angeles. It was while on the road that he began writing his current release, "Tell the People." Writing of the album was completed and a demo recorded while on creative seclusion in a remote, coastal village in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula.

Recent years

Returning to Los Angeles in 2006, Matt Ellis collaborated with fellow musician, Branden Harper to produce his third solo album, "Tell the People". Recorded at Veneto West Studios in Culver City, California and engineered by Ronan Chris Murphy, the 11 tracks on "Tell the People" attracted a stellar cast of musicians. The recording sessions included Nels Cline (Wilco) and Tim Young (David Sylvian, The Youngs) on guitar, Greg Leisz (K.D. Lang, Beck, Joni Mitchell) on lap steel, pedal steel and mandolin, Tim Luntzel, (Bright Eyes (band), Norah Jones, Emmylou Harris) on bass, Dave Palmer (Fiona Apple, Air (band)) on piano and Rhodes and Branden Harper on drums. His wife provides vocals on track 10 & 11.

In promotion of this, well received and critically acclaimed album "Tell the People", Matt Ellis has performed across the USA, with regular shows at such esteemed, LA, music venues as Hotel Cafe and The Troubadour. He has returned to his homeland twice since this album's release playing both Brisbane & Sydney, Australia. Ellis has taken to the Little Radio stage at South by Southwest, playing multiple days in 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010.

Ellis' current album, "Births, Deaths & Marriages" was digitally released in March 2010. Ellis cut the vocals and acoustic guitar in a Venice Beach loft where the decision to work alone with his then drummer, in a laid-back recording environment, sometimes capturing and keeping a song played in full for the first time, well-suited the songs and Ellis, perfectly. Over several months, special guest musicians were brought in, adding layers to the songs note by note. Ellis' 4th solo effort has captured an expanded repertoire of artists. Returning guest, Greg Leisz (Joni Mitchell, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris) added his haunting, singature pedal steel, lap steel and Banjo to four tracks while Tim Young (Beck, Daniel Johnston) channeled the desert through his Telecaster on five of them. Calexico's Nick Luca added further electric guitars, piano and Feder Rhodes while his Calexico band mate, Jacob Valenzuela rounded out two songs with trumpet. This album is inspired by Ellis’ travels across the south and his love for the Mississippi Delta region. There is a surprise performance by gospel great (who sang the duet “Gimme Shelter", with Mick Jagger on the “Let it Bleed” album), Merry Clayton. Ellis mixed the album with Craig Schumacher (Calexico, Devotchka, Iron & Wine, Neko Case, Richard Buckner,Lady Bug & Luca and Dean Martinez) at his WaveLab studios in Tucson, Arizona. Ellis currently resides in Venice Beach, California, USA with his wife, Vavine Tahapehi - who has contributed vocals on his past two albums and performs with him on stage.

References

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