The Tab Meets UCL Pop Sensation Martina Matwiejczuk

The Tab meets one of UCL’s most exciting young musicians.

The Tab is committed to promoting the most creative and exciting musical talents at UCL. This week, we had the chance to interview Polish fourth year French and Italian student, Martina Matwiejczuk, who makes soulful, beats-driven synth-pop.

Tab: When did you first decide you wanted to make music?

Martina: I’d always been quite a ‘geek’, someone who loved learning. With that attitude, I decided I’d really like to learn about and make music. I remember when I was twelve I came across an advertisement for a gospel workshop. That was a real breakthrough: I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of the music and the charisma of the teachers. I think that was the first time I really started thinking seriously about music.

I first started making my own music when I began composing some melodies over a few beats and later started to use piano chords as a base.

Tab: What sort of music were you listening to growing up? Do you come from a musical family?

No, there was a real contrast in that my parents were never into music. I think I started with jazz and blues. I loved Billie Holiday- her songs still come pop into my head today. I think it was the groove of the music that I loved so much.

I was also into R&B and hip-hop quite a lot too. I loved Destiny’s Child and Tupac.

Tab: And in the past twelve months, what would you say is the music you’ve listened to most?

I have three actually: I really liked Florence and the Machine’s Ceremonials. I also fell in love with the music of a Polish composer, Leszek Możdżer, who played in London last year, and his album was absolutely beautiful. It is called ‘Komeda’, after a great Polish composer called Krzysztof Komeda, whose music you may know from some of the Roman Polanski films. Thirdly, I really like Alt-J, I listened to them a lot. I think I listen to mainstream music mostly, but with some jazz input too.

Tab: How would you personally describe your ‘sound’? Do you think it particularly resembles an established artist working today?

Not really, I think it is a negotiation between an intellectual and urban sound, if you know what I mean? Now I am searching for my own sound, undetermined by a particular genre. I like the immediacy and the groove of African American music, But then I am really into the lyrical side of music, poetry too, so I think my music is something of a mix of the two. On one hand I really love the ideas and the thoughts behind music, and then on the other hand, I just really love the groove.

Tab: Do you place a great emphasis on lyrics then?

I would say that I am influenced by the fact I study languages- I analyse a lot. I have this inherent ambition not just to express my feelings, but to put it in an interesting form. At the moment all my songs are in English, but when I graduate and return to Poland I think I will do some in Polish- I already have a few Polish songs.

Tab: Any French or Italian songs?

Not at the minute. Actually, I had a song used for a jeans manufacturer’s advertising campaign last year, and I had studied Baudelaire’s Les fleurs du mal. I loved the ‘Pantoum’ structure he used, where the second line of the first stanza is used as the first line of the second stanza. I was really interested in how this showed a circularity and connection, and decided to use it in that song, called ‘Who’s Your God?’

Tab: Would you say that your life in London and in particular at UCL has fed into your music?

Yeah, I think it has in two ways: The first is obvious- if you listen to the songs, there are direct accounts of things that have happened in London. For instance the song ‘At Night’ is about a night in my adventurous first year at UCL. The second way that it influenced my music was that when I left Poland, I was sad that I’d left the music and fan-base I’d built up in Poland behind. That made me even more determined and pushed me to compose and record my first extended player and succeed in Britain too.

Tab: Do you think your music is more suited to a live setting or the studio?

That’s a tough question because, obviously, in the studio you are trying (and have the chance) to really perfect every aspect of the songs. I am trying to make it so the listener sinks into the world of my music, so I’m trying to make it as ‘attractive’ as possible there. But then when I play live it is so much fun, and I now have a backing band made up of five people. There is nothing better than playing live, checking out people’s reaction to certain tracks, going crazy with new arrangements. It’s also very surprising how differently you as a songwriter perceive your tracks… Often a track you had doubts about sounds best live.

Tab: Finally, what would you say the future holds for your music career?

I would answer with Frank Sinatra’s famous words: ‘The best is still yet to come.’ I would hope the future brings inspiration for me. In a more strictly practical sense, I would love to find the perfect producer for my music. I still feel that I am waiting to find the proper person to produce my songs. And then obviously as many concerts as possible- hopefully international ones as well- Why not?

With influences that stretch from classical music to R&B and jazz, Martina certainly makes for a more interesting prospect than the latest crop of posh boys with guitars. She’s got the talent and ambition, and if she can find that producer to pair with her ever-expanding live band, the future should most certainly be bright for UCL’s most interesting pop outfit.

You can stream and buy Martina’s EP at her bandcamp page:

You can also follow her on Facebook at: