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Matt Simons

Even though he grew up in Palo Alto, California, the technological center of the universe, singer songwriter Matt Simons isn’t necessarily a tech expert. Still, it’s somewhat ironic that a slew of Internet ads he posted on Facebook when he was promoting his first album, Pieces, is what led to his initial breakthrough.

“I’d just made a record, and as an independent artist, I had no idea how to market it,” he said. “So, I turned to the Internet and it ended up working really well overseas.” Soon, the musician had a small, dedicated fan base, in of all places, The Netherlands, where he traveled and played a few small shows. In the audience at one of those shows was a writer for one of the biggest shows on Dutch television, Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden. She heard him sing an impassioned version of his song, “With You.”

It was then that he learned what the words, “overnight sensation,” truly meant. Though he’s been studying classical and jazz since his childhood—taking the requisite piano lessons before switching to the saxophone (“the saxophone is just cooler,” he cracked), and he’d been gigging in his now hometown of New York to small crowds, he found himself something of a minor celebrity in the Netherlands. He appeared as a guest judge on the Dutch version of the X-Factor. His song was a top seller on iTunes, finishing 29th on the top selling songs of 2013 in the Netherlands. “It out-sold The Lumineers’ ‘Ho Hey’; it beat Katy Perry’s ‘Roar,’” he said.

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