Leigh Matty – Romeo’s Daughter


Interview by Miriam C.

In the late 80s as Tony (our reviewer) said in the reviews ” it was impossible to pick up an issue of Kerrang! Magazine without seeing something about the band gorgeous front woman Leigh Matty” – they were destined to be huge stars in the AOR/Melodic Rock panorama but something in the 90s changed, the grunge come and in a blaze crushed  and destroyed everything was good of the 80s and as a lot of AOR acts (including Romeo’s Daughter) were facing difficulties in promote their music and the only solution was put an end to a band. Only the brave survived to that infamous period. At this moment, the international AOR scene seems safe and sound, for sure we have some comebacks (see UK’s Fiona Flanagan and Dante Fox) but also some new rising stars (see Norway’s Issa or Sweden’s Nubian Rose); but talking about comebacks, after 19 years of stop and a successful comeback in 2009 at the Firefest festival, London based Romeo’s Daughter are back with a new self-released album called “Rapture” and seems that RSD are ready to rule the world. So, after this short intro, I think, it’s time to give some space and let Leigh Matty speaks herself.
Hi Leigh, first of all Happy Christmas and Happy New Year, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine and thanks for the interview. How are you? Would you mind share some details about the origins of Romeo’s Daughter? How the whole story started and when?

Dear Miriam – a very happy New Year to you too! Sorry about the delay in me getting this back to you! Well, the Romeo’s Daughter story really started in 1984/85 when I answered an advert in a well known music magazine – they were looking for a singer to front their band and I called the number and got through to Craig ( the guitarist and song writer). We got on very well on the phone and I ended up being the 1st singer they saw out of around 70 – I got the job! We worked on songs and getting the right band members for a couple of years and after a lot of blood, sweat and tears, we released our 1st album in 1988. We were named after a line in “Cry Myself to Sleep” as no one could agree on a name – I don’t think we could have been called anything else though – it was perfect for us!

Also seems that in some ways Mutt Lange helped the band to gain success, that’s true?

It is very true that working with Mutt helped us in the early days – he was such a hugely talented producer and was so famous that people were very interested to hear what he had been working on with us. He also helped us establish our unique sound which we have taken with us on our musical journey.

According the UK press, in the late 80’s you were one of the AOR rock promises. Why after only 2 top album Romeo’s Daughter decided to break up? What didn’t work?

Unfortunately it was a case of bad timing! Because it took so long between albums, it was then at the end of the 80’s and beginning of the 90’s when rock music fell out of favour with radio stations – it was the beginning of the grunge phase in music and it just became impossible to see any future in us staying together – it was very sad.

Coming back in the recent times, what are the reasons that have triggered this reunion? Why now?

The reunion came about because we were asked to reform to play at Firefest in 2009. It was the 1st time we had played together for 18 years so was very nerve-wracking but we got the most wonderful response from the audience and they seemed very happy to see us again! We had such a wonderful time playing and spending time together that we decided to see if there was another album in us, and there was! “Rapture” was born and released in March 2012.

During 19 years of inactivity, what the band members were doing?

Most of the band members have remained full time musicians, working in different bands and writing music – I really was the only one who gave up being a musician completely. I own a very successful Voice-Over Agency in London and I am an Agent.

After so many time how was it difficult to start again to write/compose a brand new album?

It was surprisingly easy as Craig is such a wonderful song writer and we had some tracks from before we broke up (we ended up using 3 older tracks on the album). It took about 1 year to write and record as we are all busy doing our other jobs but I think it will be much quicker the next time around – we have learnt a lot of lessons.

This brought us to “Rapture”: what infos you can share about its genesis?

We wanted to make an album that still sounded like us, but that also showed that we had grown and adapted as musicians – obviously over the years, we have all listened to a lot of music and have been influenced by certain artists. We didn’t want to sound stuck in the 80s but also we didn’t want to reject the sound and feel of Romeo’s Daughter – I think we have achieved that.

“Rapture” as a title is pretty intense, what you wanted to express?

We used “Rapture” as a title as it was such a joyous experience working on it – for me especially being asked to sing again was a revelation as I didn’t know if that would ever happen again! I was so stupid to have thought that as it is so much of who I am.

Talking about “Rapture”‘s lyrics, what you can tell us about it?

I think the lyrics deal with a lot of issues that adults have on a daily basis, but they are mainly songs about relationships, good and bad! We wanted them to appeal to both men and woman and hope that our fans can relate to them.

I really really love “Bittersweet” (it has something of folk-ish), why choose it as a single?

I also love “Bittersweet” – the reason why we chose it as our 1st single is that it a more cross-over song than some of the rockier tracks on the album and we are hoping to appeal to a slightly wider audience than last time – I’m glad you like it!

Leigh, in the 80s MTV was the leader in broadcasting and promoting AOR bands/singer like you now after 20 years or so we find that Internet, with its connections of webzine and sites dedicated to music, is taking the lead. What do you miss of the 80s from this point of view? And also how much do feel comfortable this all this new technology? Have you already notice any pros and cons for your activity?

EVERYTHING has changed since we last did this – our 1st 2 album’s came out on vinyl for a start, and there was no Internet as far as i can remember. Also, stations like MTV were hugely important to get played on otherwise there was very little chance of being heard. Nowadays, social websites like Facebook and SoundCloud are just as important because if you can’t get played on National Radio stations (which we can’t), these are the only way to get your product out – we have all embraced it and are looking to utilize it more in the future.

I’ve seen that you have played quite a lot of gigs in UK, are you enjoying it? And there are any plans for an EU tour?

We have done more gigs in the past year than in the past 18 years! We are in the process of sorting out our gigs for this year – we already have 2 festivals booked in but none in Europe yet – hopefully some will come in as we would love to play everywhere!

What are the next projects for Romeo’s Daughter?

 A new album for early next year and as many giggs as we can this year would be great.

Well, Leigh, we’re at the end. I really thank you for your time. Please greet your fans and our readers as you like. Really thanks.

Thanks so much for asking me Miriam and thanks too to all the RD fans out there! We couldn’t do this without you!


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