With another half week of voting under your collective belts, kids, we have to ask: Have you heard of our brand-new Make A Band Famous category? Allow us to explicate: We have chosen 10 up-and-coming, awesome bands with thriving fanbases to face off in the ultimate competition. Five will be chosen — by fan vote — to play the O Music Awards on June 19 (those will be announced on May 31) and one of those five will get a HUGE opportunity: a once-in-a-lifetime shot to play VMA weekend in August, as well as the distinction of becoming MTV’s Artist to Watch, VH1’s You Oughta Know, or CMT’s Listen Up highlighted band. Today, we’d like to introduce you to one of those 10 acts, Striking Matches.
Although Sarah Zimmermann and Justin Davis hail from different cities, they met in Nashville, Tennessee – brought together in a way aptly captured by the title of their single, “When The Right One Comes Along.” Zimmermann’s bell-clear voice mingles with Davis’s rich tones – a combination that breeds honey-sweet country jams perfect for top-down summer drives. Here’s hoping this perfect match can strike up enough votes to set the world ablaze.
Check out our Q&A with the duo below and click vote here.
What is your earliest musical memory?
My dad repairs musical instruments for a living — saxophones, clarinets, flutes, trombones, you name it, and growing up he had a shop down in our basement where he would work, so I remember being super little and just getting to try all different kinds of instruments out, just for fun. I taught myself to play clarinet in 2nd grade! – SZ
For me, the ‘earliest’ would probably be banging on pots and pans at my grandma’s house… although I’m not sure how ‘musical’ it actually was. It was probably plenty effective at driving everyone crazy. – JD
Tell us a little bit about your songwriting process.
It’s honestly different every time. One day one of us will have a guitar lick, the next day the other will have an idea they can’t get off their mind, or a melody that just won’t leave. It’s always changes, which makes it really fun and different. We always try to make it honest, to push ourselves, and go places we haven’t been to before.
Which of your songs do you think is the most representative of your music? Why? Tell us about it.
This is HARD! But if I had to pick just one, I’d have to pick ‘Tell Me So.’ It was one of the first songs we wrote together. Its lyrics are completely true in many different ways, and I think it describes a feeling that everyone feels at at least one point in their life. We try and write from experience more often than not, and so the truth as honesty in this song I think displays what we try to get across in every song. We also played all of the guitars on this song (and every song on our EP!), which is the foundation of what we do, so that is hugely representative of us!
What’s the craziest thing a fan has ever done for you?
Last year, we played at a university near St. Louis, and an awesome fan named Callie brought us a giant plate of chocolate chip cookies. It was a 6-hour drive back to Nashville and pouring rain, and I think we ate every one of them. They were a total lifesaver!
What’s running through your head when you’re performing live?
I’m always wanting to make sure I’m connecting to everyone. I love to look out at the audience and find different people to lock eyes with, just for a second, to be in a musical moment with, even for just a heartbeat. – SZ
Playing shows is the biggest rush for me. It’s an addicting experience. Mostly it tends to be ‘always connect with the audience, and have fun.’ It’s always best to try to keep the thought process simple, because on stage things to tend to move fast; it’s exhilarating!
Which musicians inspire you and why?
There are SO many! I’m a HUGE John Mayer fan. To me, he’s the best of all worlds. Incredible songwriter, but you take that away and he is still an absolutely killer, standalone guitar player. One of my biggest inspirations! – SZ
Too many and too random to get to them all! For example I’ve always loved Vince Gill for his musical ability and songwriting, but then I am equally as inspired by someone like Django Reinhardt. My influences all tend to be guitar players, but the guitar-playing songwriters tend to be the favorites. A random one would be Chris Thile; he’s mainly known as a mandolin player, but I am constantly inspired by what he accomplishes. – JD
What do you hope people do when they listen to your tunes?
I always hope that people do what I do when I listen to music, which is find a scenario in their own lives that the song fits with. Whether it makes them happy, or is three-and-a-half minutes of healing, I hope they connect with it in a way that makes them feel something real. – SZ
There are lots of songs that I had listened to during certain parts of my growing up; they essentially became the ‘soundtrack’ to my life. I really hope for some, our music can become their soundtrack. – JD
Do you have signature style? If so, what is it?
We’re definitely rooted in Country, but I think what makes us different than anyone else is that we both play lead guitar. And the fact that I’m a girl just adds to that, which is a good thing! – SZ
Guy/Girl singing duos have been around for forever, but a Guy/Girl singing duo that is also based entirely around guitar playing, twinning and trading off solos, and really trying to push the envelope as guitar players — I haven’t really seen that before. I feel like that’s unique to us. – JD
Kittens or puppies? Explain.
Puppies! So cute, no claws, and they are friends for life. I’ve had a cat, too, and I loved my cat, but her love for me was sometimes questionable. – SZ
Yeah, I have to go with puppies (sorry, cat folks). I have just always had dogs and you really can’t resist a puppy, eventually you’ll have to go over and pet it. It’s inevitable. – JD
Why should we vote for you?
Our fans are the reason that we’re even here, and they are the foundation of everything we do. They’ve been such an AMAZING support system thus far in our journey, and we can’t thank them enough! We want to win it for them!