Fall 2011 / Winter 2012

Swing Man

Matt Goss Channels Vintage Vegas
by Marsala Rypka

Matt Goss

Photo Courtesy of JSquared Photography/Joe and Jared Schlachet

Matt Goss is bringing that old-time glamorous “style and swagger” back to Caesars Palace, where he performs Friday and Saturday evenings in The Gossy Room at Cleopatra’s Barge. A contemporary reinvention of the vintage Rat Pack swing, he entertains guests with a full-blown production featuring a mix of his career hits, songs off his new album and popular standards like Sinatra’s “Luck Be a Lady” and “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder.

Goss, former lead singer in the British band Bros that sold more than 17 million albums, was back in the recording studio. Here’s what fans can expect:

Tell us about the live album. I just recorded a live album at Capitol Records where Sinatra recorded. There was a private audience of ninety people. We played a few songs, chatted with the audience, then played a few more songs.

You’re also working with music producer Ron Fair on an original album? Ron is legendary. He’s the first producer who wants to enhance my music, not change it. Ron has such a massive musical hard drive in his head. He’ll come up with references from 1942 or the mid-sixties, or an Italian artist I’ve never heard of. He’s a profound influence on this record.

What details can you share? I’ve written all the songs for it. The working title is Midnight Phone Calls, which stems from me calling my managers, [Pussycat Dolls founder] Robin Antin and [Britney Spears confidant] Larry Rudolph, asking if they like a certain song. My creative energy comes alive from midnight to eight a.m. My new single, “Fighting for Love,” is a beautiful song with a great string arrangement.

How do you feel about comparisons to Sinatra? It’s incredibly flattering being compared to him, but also a bit daunting. I’m greatly influenced by that era in terms of fashion and the kind of camaraderie and swagger he had with his friends. I get a kick out of bringing that back to Las Vegas. When you are compared to one of your heroes, it’s almost too big to handle.

You mention fashion. Who are some of your favorite designers? Vivienne Westwood because she’s quirky and true to what she does. Tom Ford and John Varvatos.

You have a tattoo that reads “Civility Costs Nothing.” What does it mean? It’s been my mantra for years. Civility is an endless list of little moments of common courtesy that can change people’s day.

Growing up, who inspired you musically? Sinatra and Nat King Cole, and of course if you’re a Brit, you grow up listening to the Beatles. I was a real Ska boy. Ska music is heavily influenced by reggae, but a little more edgy with a bit of punk and soul. I was also profoundly influenced by Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye.

Who are some of your favorite female singers? Sade, Billie Holiday, Anita Baker, Nina Simone—and Brenda Russell’s “Piano in the Dark” is brilliant.

Who would you like to do a duet with? Céline Dion. She is a massive talent and the warmest person. I’m also a huge Gladys Knight fan. She has one of the greatest soul voices in history.

What can people expect to see in your Caesars Palace show? If you love great music, swagger and flirtation, sexy dancers in fishnets called The Dirty Virgins, and a good time, come to my show on Friday and Saturday nights. We perform our hearts out for two hours. I do a Ska swing version of “Hotel California.” I’m told that Don Henley’s daughter said it’s her second-favorite version. Whether that’s true or not, I’m going to believe it. After the show the room becomes a club until three a.m.

You are a spiritual person. How does this help you creatively? I’m not massively religious, but I have a lot of faith. It will never leave me. I have faith in goodness, in kindness, in compassion, in burying the ego. I have a saying, “My space is your space and your space is mine.” I can effectively make someone’s day better and you can make mine better.  We have to be more conscious, especially with social media because our space spreads even further. All I can do is be myself. Everything I do is in a public forum and it’s been that way for many years. The best way is to kick off your flip-flops, put your feet on a beach somewhere, and be conscious of where you’re standing.

For our female readers—are you currently single or taken? I’m out of a long relationship, something that was a fairly painful experience, and I’m still trying to find my way. I love women and I’m enjoying being single, but I’m still looking for that someone who takes my breath away. I don’t really care what kind of work she does as long as she is passionate about it. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s glamorous or not. There are some benefits of being with someone who understands the entertainment industry, but at the same time there is something very interesting about someone who isn’t involved in that world. I can’t compromise my heart. I want to find someone I can really be candid with.

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