A Portuguese composer with the eyes on the world, an Australian singer-, songwriter based in New York City, both with their own acclaimed career. An improbable meeting, you would say, but it was in fact one meeting that seemed bound to happen sooner or later. Even before knowing each other, Rodrigo Leão and Scott Matthew seemed to circle the same grooves.
Rodrigo, a veteran of the Portuguese music scene for 30 years, started out as a rock musician and songwriter, formed the internationally renowned acoustic ensemble Madredeus (whose material he also wrote), and struck out on his own path, navigating between classical contemporary, new music, soundtrack work and adult pop. NYC-based Scott, revealed to the wider world by his participation in John Cameron Mitchell’s acclaimed film Shortbus, released a series of solo albums and EPs while collaborating with other major artists such as Sia or Yoko Kanno, establishing his very personal brand of emotional, vulnerable truth.
It seemed as this was a meeting waiting to happen. An instrumentalist rather than a singer, Rodrigo’s music has always been taken much further by the voices he invites to sing, whether they’re Portishead’s Beth Gibbons, The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon or Tindersticks’ Stuart Staples. Scott fit perfectly within that lineage, and Rodrigo invited him to sing in his 2011 album The Magic Mountain. A second collaboration followed for the 2012 compilation Songs, and both meetings proved key to create a relationship of friendship and complicity that grew, you could say, by correspondance.
While Rodrigo experimented with electronics and soundscapes, wrote soundtracks and even recorded an orchestral album for Deutsche Grammophon, Scott released two more albums of original material. All the time, they were both quietly exchanging ideas, emotions, songs, throughout their journeys. Now, the result of those years of exchanges can finally be heard in a whole album recorded together, Life Is Long, to be released in September by Universal in Portugal. The story of an improbable meeting that was inevitably meant to be, between a composer with the gift of melody and a singer-songwriter that knows how to build on that gift, Life Is Long’s dozen new songs explain why they were meant to meet. Together, they attain that special magic that happens when two artists push each other to move forward, to move further, to take off in new directions. A quiet but breathtaking beauty only Rodrigo Leão and Scott Matthew could make together.