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Matt Alber: "My songs have never been written from the closet”

Matt Alber is a man made of music. His devotion to sound started at an early age and would eventually propel him into the music industry with his own unique style. Wanting to express his own feelings of love, the singer/songwriter gave his talent to a community that was eager to embrace it.

Matt Alber was born in Kansas, but his aspirations would lead him to explore the connection between music and sexuality from all over the world. As an openly gay artist, Alber said he believes that a songwriter’s job is to sing from the heart, and therefore honesty is the key element to music, especially his.

“I’m so glad I’m gay,” said Alber, the Grammy winner who will be performing Thursday night at Martinis Above Fourth in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood.

“I think I say that almost every day now in some situation. Singing openly and honestly is your job when you’re a songwriter, so my songs have never been written from the closet.”

As a child, Alber says that he rarely went without music.

“I’ve been escaping into my headphones since I got my first Sony Walkman in the fourth grade. I’d come from school and pop in Whitney Houston and go dancing around my apartment complex whenever I’d had a rough day.”

Alber created harmony later in his professional life as a member of the acclaimed group Chanticleer, winning two Grammy Awards. But in 2003, he left the group to pursue a voice of his own. Stepping away from the “Orchestra of Voices,” he could now concentrate on his solo career and build a relationship with his fans completely.

“Sometimes music is the only way through a feeling,” he said. “A song can unlock feelings that never come out in the routine of our days. That’s pretty powerful stuff.”

As a solo artist, Alber’s songs are reminiscent of the singer/songwriter days of yore, except with a twist. His songs are lyrical and serene, evoking a sense of classic confessional soul.

“I write songs about boys and sing ‘em on piano and guitar. Some people have told me I remind them of Rufus Wainwright. I really enjoy Rufus’ songs so that always makes me feel good.”

His latest album “Wind Sand Stars” was inspired by the work of Antoine de Exupery, the author of “The Little Prince.”

“Exupery was a French pilot who carried the mail in the early days of flying overseas. I was reading this book about the time I started recording and was struck by his stories of brotherhood and bravery. The book is titled ‘Wind, Sand And Stars’ and I found those words showing up among the lyrics so I adapted his title for the album,” Alber said.

He has come a long way from the plains of Wichita, Kansas. He has traveled the world, won two Grammys and made himself into a successful solo artist. When asked what he hopes people feel when listening to his music, his answer gives some insight into the power of his songs: “I guess I would say I hope listening to my songs leaves people feeling a bit more connected to themselves.”

The details

Matt Alber will be appearing at Martinis Above Fourth on Thursday, Sept. 18. He says the playlist will include music from his previous albums, current album and covers from Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys and AC/DC. For information about showtimes and tickets, go HERE.