by Kenny Kerner

Menziken is a small rural town situated in a valley on the outskirts of Lucerne, Switzerland. With a population of under 5,000, there was no music scene at all, which made it difficult for Matt Hirt to ever consider a career in the music business.

Matt learned how to play piano in grade school and kept at it until high school when he switched to the trumpet. "I'm not a really good player," Hirt confessed, "but I just was interested in certain chords that for some reason interested me. My intention was never to become a virtuoso musician. Looking back, it seems I just wanted to learn enough to be able to have a career without being a great musician."

Virtuoso or not, Matt was good enough to play in Youth Symphony Orchestras and continued with the trumpet throughout his college years. He graduated with a degree in Classic Languages (he studied Greek, Italian, French and German) because there were no music programs offered to him and was torn between a career as a language translator and a musician.

Name: Matt Hirt
Residence: Sherman Oaks, CA
Age: 35
Occupation: Composer/Songwriter/Engineer
Joined Taxi: 1996
Songs Forwarded: 120
Deals: 7 (70 songs)
"When I graduated I knew I didn't want to study literature because that was too boring for me. It was between a translator and a musician. I think what happened was that when I got out of college I started playing with more bands and I bought a four-track. What really made me change my course was a change of scenery. I saw this ad for the Dick Grove School of Music (no longer in existence) and it looked interesting to me. I thought it would be great to go to Los Angeles and study some more recording engineering so I would be able to know what I was doing with my equipment."

Hirt couldn't have chosen a more opportune time to study recording. As fate would have it, home recording was all the rage and our Los Angeles transplant found himself on the cusp of a new technology. "I came to L.A. at the time when home recording equipment was priced so everybody could afford it. I went to school and started working with a lot of good people. I would serve as an engineer for people who had studios in their houses. But by the mid-Nineties, I decided I wanted to get back to writing my own material."

Having finally made the decision to pursue a full-time career as a songwriter, Matt turned his attention to finding outlets for his music. "I finally decided to write music with the intention of having something happen with my songs, so after I had a few good original songs, I went to the Songwriter's Expo that used to happen every year. I learned very quickly that I needed lots of work on my lyrics, so my tunes pretty much got torn apart. However, one of my tunes got picked up by a film and television publisher. I realized that when you write songs for film and television, the lyrics aren't as important as the music and the production. So that steered me into an different avenue that I didn't know even existed. I thought the only way to make money with original music was to get your songs covered by other recording artists."

While at the Expo, Matt chanced to meet with Doug Minnick (TAXI VP) and Michael Laskow (TAXI Founder/CEO) who manned a booth there. At the time, TAXI was only a few years young but their concept seemed intriguing to Matt, so he joined. "I thought they seemed like very honest guys with a great idea. I joined and started submitting songs but what opened my eyes was when I started getting all of these listings from them. It made me think that maybe I should start writing in many different genres for the many different listings. The TAXI listings gave me both the idea and the opportunity to write in different styles. Almost immediately I started getting good responses from the screeners."

Taking to heart what the screeners had to say and continuing to push his creative envelope, to date, Matt Hirt has made seven deals through TAXI that involve some 70 of his original songs. His earnings to date are close to $12,000. With songs in Spin City, (ABC), Judging Amy (CBS) and Passions (NBC), Matt also learned a lot about how this business works:

"TAXI helps me with everything. They give me new ideas about what to write and then give me feedback on the writing. They also help me connect with publishers and music libraries. They help me make money. But it's more than that. For someone like myself who is not good at self-promotion, and not good at schmoozing, TAXI is the difference between having success and not having success. Without TAXI I'd have to be out there constantly trying to hustle-up connections. And I'm not very good at that."

That's okay, Matt, because you're not alone. Most of our members are far better writers than they are schmoozers. You keep on writing and we'll promise to keep trying to open those door for you. And congratulations on your successes. Glad we were a part of it!


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