We exist in an era of music in which success is easily quantified — an artist becomes a sensation on an ever-higher number of views, followers, plays, likes and so forth.
By this standard, Norwegian producer Matoma has certainly done big things in a short amount of time, aggregating hundreds of thousands of online followers, and incredibly, seeing his remixes garner millions of plays in just five months. His standout hip hop meets tropical house single “Old Thing Back”
currently has 53 million plays on Spotify.
True achievement, however, is about more than a numbers; it’s about depth, feeling and and that magical symbiotic relationship between the performer and the crowd. In this sense, Matoma, the 24-year old artist born Tom Lagergren, has accomplished something special. His signature sound is a summer-ready mix of tropical house, breezy funk and classic hip-hop, with influences including Ice Cube, Xzibit and The Notorious B.I.G. While these styles may seem disparate, Lagergren has fused his influences into an infectiously feel good and completely danceable sound, as heard on his remixes and mashups of artists as varied as Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Will Smith, Maroon Five and Axwell.
Rather than choosing a single genre label, Lagergren prefers to simply call his output the future of pop music. His skills as a producer have indeed gained high-level attention from the pop world, with the just-released single “Try Me,” a collaboration with Jason Derulo and Jennifer Lopez, receiving a warm critical response and major radio play. Vibe called the track a “perfect tune for drop-top weather” and SPIN labeled it the best song of Lopez’s career.
This success comes on the heels of Matoma’s largely sold out spring 2015 Midnight Sun tour of the United States. “People were screaming, ‘Matoma,’” Lagergren recalls of those shows, “and I was like, ‘Shit, this is my dream.’ "It’s a dream that has been years in the making, beginning when Lagergren was a music-oriented little kid learning to play classical piano. When he tired of the instrument, he began producing music on a laptop in his bedroom. After a stint in the military, he went to University in Norway, got his bachelor’s degree in music production, and assumed he’d become a music teacher. As it turned out, however. life went in another direction after Lagergren started putting his remixes on Soundcloud. He was surprised, and thrilled, to find his music celebrated by listeners around the world.
“Remixing was a really good opportunity to show people my skills,” he says.“I did that for fun, and my Soundcloud profile started growing. I got really inspired and kept going.”