You’ve most likely heard his hit songs, whether on the radio, your television set or being sung by a friend, but what you may not know (and now you will) is the man behind those tunes, who wrote and produced some of your favorites!
Matthew Tishler is one of the most in-demand songwriters and producers around the world. The Canadian-born music genius was the mastermind behind the hit new theme song to the highly-anticipated spinoff of the 90’s sitcom Boy Meets World, Girl Meets World, entitled, Take On The World, which is performed by Disney stars Rowan Blanchard and Sabrina Carpenter.
But while Matthew is one of the Disney Channel/Walt Disney Records go-to guy, he is also the songwriter behind tunes heard on shows/movies such as Austin & Ally, Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure with Ashley Tisdale, Lemonade Mouth, Ant Farm, Shake It Up and the upcoming movie, Teen Beach Movie 2.
The Levity Ball sat down exclusively with Matthew and his piano to learn more about everything he does and what exactly goes into making a “hit” song…
When did you first decide you wanted to be in the music industry as a Music Producer/Songwriter?
Well, I first thought I wanted to be an artist. But quickly realized that an artist somehow needs to find original music to record, so I fell into writing songs and producing by accident. Almost immediately, it was like – hey, wait, this is kinda cool! By 16, I was obsessed with writing/producing and knew I had to do it for the rest of my life.
What was the first song you ever wrote/produced?
My first song ever was actually a song I wrote with my grandmother! We were listening to an awful song on the radio and thought – “wow, this sucks, even we could do better”. That’s what gave me the confidence to first give writing a shot.
Who have been some of your role models growing up?
Elton John and Michael Jackson were big artistic inspirations early on. Once I started getting into writing and production, I was blown away by the great pop hitmakers of our time, like Max Martin and Diane Warren. I’m always amazed at how writers like this are able to capture such huge universal emotions in the simplest, catchiest way. And do it over and over again. It’s super inspiring to think that one song can touch millions of people.
Who has been your favorite star to collaborate on a song with?
Wow, how can I pick? Everyone is so amazing! If I had to choose, I’d say Ashley Tisdale, since the music we did for Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure was my first project with Disney Channel – and my first major opportunity in music. And since High School Musical was such a big deal, I remember being so excited to work with her and with Disney. So those sessions will always be special to me.
What is your secret behind making a “hit” song?
I wish I knew how make a hit! haha. I think there’s magic in truly understanding the artist and the audience, and making something that really speaks to whoever’s listening. Also, musically, I really try to do everything I can to make things as memorable and catchy as possible.
Is it difficult to write for younger kids in the Disney shows / movies you have worked on?
I think it’s always a challenge to create something that kids can grab onto. But it’s also a really fun process – you get to goof around and get into the headspace of all kinds of characters.
You just wrote the theme song for the new television show, Girl Meets World, which is a follow-up on the classic program, Boy Meets World. Did you feel a lot of pressure while creating the main song to live up to the expectations of the original show?
YES! Growing up as a fan of Boy Meets World myself, I knew I had a responsibility to create something that would respect the integrity of the original show and please the diehard 90’s fans. We also had to please all the original creators, producers and cast members, and of course, create something special that would be meaningful to a brand new generation. Gotta respect the history, while still remembering that this is a new show for a new audience. It’s so hard to please everyone, and I’m definitely aware of everybody’s expectations. Hope we hit the mark!
If you could write for one artist today, who would it be and why?
Don’t make me pick just one! I tend to like big melodic pop songs, so I’d love to work with Katy Perry or Pink. They’re the pinnacle of pop perfection to me. If you guys are reading this – give me a call!
What are your thoughts on the Internet and people illegally downloading music for free?
It’s always been strange to me that people are willing to pay $5 for a latte that’s gone in 15 minutes, but will avoid paying $0.99 for a download that they’ll have for the rest of their lives. There’s a whole generation that’s growing up having never paid for music, so they think it should be free. I think there needs to be more education and appreciation for what goes into making music and the value of owning music, and hopefully people will start wanting to buy music and support their favorite artists.
What is your advice to others looking to get into the music business?
Best advice I can think of is to be prepared to work really hard and to face a ton of “No’s”. I’ve never seen anyone “make it” by being lazy and waiting for an opportunity to come around. You’ve gotta be passionate, tenacious, and incredible at what you do – nobody wants it more for you than you.
Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
Take(-ing) On The World”, of course! I hope to still be working lots with Disney Channel, get more involved in Disney feature films, and simultaneously top the Billboard Hot 100 chart every week 🙂
What do you want to be remembered for overall?
If I could be so fortunate, I’d love to be remembered for writing real songs that truly connect with people and have staying power. It would bean honor to have people experience life through my songs.