A couple Saturdays ago, 81 North Media and Productions, a local media entertainment and recording studio, presented Matthew Cornwell, a very talented musician also local to the area. He also happens to be my friend. No, really. He knows my name and everything, I’m not just making that up. I know him through his girlfriend, who does my eyelash extensions and who I travel around the world with. Only in Binghamton will you find such a strange collision of worlds…
But I digress.
The show featured Matt’s new album entitled “ICARUS,” which was inspired by the Greek mythology story of Daedulus and his prideful son, Icarus. Daedulus had created wings made out of feathers and wax so they could escape the tower they were imprisoned in. Prior to their flight, he cautioned Icarus not to fly too low to the sea because the wings will absorb the water and cause him to crash, nor must he fly too close to the sun because the sun will melt the wax and he will crash, to which Icarus replied, “I stickith to you, Father. I dost do what I desire!” Then he flew too close to the sun and crashed down…oh the arrogance of youth.
Now I will admit that I had to look up the exact story because I got it confused with the Minotaur and labyrinth story. Daedulus was the one who designed the labyrinth so I wasn’t too far off, but I had my stories mixed up. In any case, just the fact that Matt decided to reference Greek mythology is completely fascinating to me. One, I love Greek mythology, and two, not many people are familiar with it. Now since I know Matt personally, I was able to ask him what inspired him to use “ICARUS” as his album title. Fortunately for those who don’t know him personally, there was a portion of the show where Matt got “interviewed” about his album, so they got to hear it for themselves. What a brilliant idea! Who came up with that? (Not me)
So why “ICARUS”? Well, just like Icarus flew too high towards the sun in spite of, or perhaps because of, his father’s warning, Matt described the making of the album as embarking on a similar journey in his life, where he pursued his “Hollywood Hills” dream, continuing to go up, and up, and up…only to find out, the hard way, that success is not necessarily what awaited him at the top. That aiming too high up will only lead to crashing back down. Thus, he decided to get grounded, regroup, and come home to Binghamton.
A year and a half later, BOOM! “ICARUS” was born.
I have to say, all personal biases aside, the album is DOPE. Granted it is exactly my kind of music but I think even if it wasn’t, I would still appreciate how easy it is to listen to, the flow of the album, and the quality of the sound. Now because I do know him I also have the added benefit of knowing how driven he is and how much he cares about his work and the people he works with. With the advent of social media and consequently the birth of the instant gratification culture, I was impressed with how he waited until he was satisfied with the quality of his album, based on a higher standard that he put on himself, before releasing even one of the songs as a preview. When I talk to him, I hear fully formed ideas and a clearly defined vision. Now the details and steps on how to get there aren’t quite there, but… that’s why I’m here.
I’ve always been a systems thinker and a problem solver. If I can sum up what I’m the greatest at, it’s getting things done. So when I meet a highly driven person like Matt, who is from Binghamton, bound to be part of the growth of its community, and willing to pay it forward for the people he works with, I am compelled help. Specifically, I am compelled to take his vision, create a system with actionable goals, and get. It. Done. There is nothing more fun to me than to take a seemingly vague idea and turn it into reality. And if it results in paying it forward to this community I now call home, then my work has been done.
When Matt and I were brainstorming for taglines for this show, we came up with: wax wings, too close to the sun, we all have wings. But then he mentioned that one of the songs on the album has a phrase in Greek that translates to,”We all can fly,” and that just felt right. Because it’s true. We all can fly. And if I can help it, we all will. At least those I’m working with here in Binghamton.
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