There are some things in life that just go together, and live music and a winery are one of them. On May 26, singer-songwriter Matthew Mulnix played at The Sip here in Chillicothe. I had never been to The Sip before, but the venue evoked a warm, sophisticated atmosphere. Their menu of various pizzas and wines felt rather classy for this small rural Bible-belt town, and being a venue that provides musicians with opportunities to share their music only sweetened the deal.
At intermission during Mulnix’s set, I sat down with him for an interview.
Mulnix released his first album in 2013, coincidentally about ten years exactly to this gig. Since then, he has released a couple more albums and is working on the third volume of his collection of EPs called Sugar Coated Sadness.
Mulnix’s set also included covers of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” dedicated to his grandparents’ wedding anniversary, as well as covers of classic country songs and some alternative rock. Mulnix also played a lot of his original songs, spanning his entire discography from his first album The Truth Exposed to an unreleased song from the upcoming Sugar Coated Sadness, Vol. 3.
When he is not performing gigs, Mulnix teaches music lessons at Americana Music Academy, Guitarma, and is a Founder & Instructor at Free State Music Academy. Mulnix has played music for twenty years, but he has only been writing and releasing music for about ten.
“Right around this time in 2013, I released my first album The Truth Exposed,” Mulnix says. “It took me leaving high school and my hometown Bethany to be able to have experiences outside of that to write songs. I call my genre emo for soccer moms – so it’s very light acoustic with lyrical depth.”
Mulnix first got into music through band class in school. “I got into music by playing the saxophone. I couldn’t see the sheet music unless it was enlarged with my visual impairment, so I played by ear from nine years old to now at thirty. That then supercharged my ear and led me to a career in music.”
Mulnix’s influences include support from his family, alongside a melting pot of different music genres. His grandfather, who played honkytonks, encouraged him and taught him how to set up a stage and a PA system. Musically, he says that his music is for fans of Death Cab for Cutie, Jason Mraz, and Paramore.
Looking back on his first album The Truth Exposed, Mulnix reflects on how he has grown as an artist.
“I was your age  when I recorded that album. So whatever feelings that you’re having now about your career in journalism, like you could feel that you’ve made some headway – but then you want to keep moving to the next step and the next step. I’m always chasing towards the next time.
“At the time, I didn’t know what the path was going to be, but now I’m here at a happy spot. I still want the momentum to keep on going with my writing. I’m more scientific about it now because I have worked for Songfinch online, writing custom songs. I can finish a project like that start to finish with production in two hours now.
“I’m studying the science of writing songs more like in the style of the OneRepublic singer or Ed Sheeran; they can write songs really quickly but still have their own life and emotion involved.
“I feel more efficient at songwriting now and maybe more transparent. I still use imagery and metaphors to shroud what I’m talking about, but in between songs I’ll talk more about what the song was about, whereas in the past, nobody really knew who or what the songs were about.”
Mulnix is in the process of recording his next album Sugar Coated Sadness, Vol. 3, which will be more alternative emo-country. Ultimately, Mulnix writes music with the hope that it can help people: “When you first listen, you can listen to the songs just as a casual pop listener, like this is a nice feeling. But if you’re able to dig in deeper, then you can find the deeper meanings in the songs. I want to be able to give people a nice feeling with music.
“Also, I want people to know that they can do anything. I have two things working against me as a musician: I’m in the Midwest in the small area where no one really does music as a job, and then I’m visually impaired. But you can do anything, and you don’t need to let your limitations stop you.”
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