“So The X Factor then. For musicians and music fans alike, the reality show music culture is very much a polarising subject. Musicians who consider themselves ‘credible’ will most likely scoff at the thought of this product of popular culture.
“It’s rigged!” “It’s bullshit!” “It’s damaging the music industry!” “You’d never catch me on a show like that!”
Which is why it came as a shock to many people within the Southend Music Scene (the SMS) when Southend’s very own Matt Linnen showed up on primetime TV to sing a song for the X Factor judges. Hang about son, I thought you were a real musician? WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS!?
In reality (the real life reality, not the TV product reality), this is the result of years of being a dedicated performer and songwriter. Matt‘s not shy to the music industry, having enjoyed some early success with his old band Vox Empire, even being endorsed by the one and only Liam Gallagher. Matt has been a constant force in the SMS for nearly a decade now.
Recently he embraced his natural charisma and talent and embarked on developing the Linnen brand. He played the main stage last year at Village Green Festival and was one of the big highlights of the day. Big crowds have never phased him.
He is also one of the unsung heroes of the Southend Open Mic Scene, regularly organising these events at pretty much every intimate local venue and helping unite this community, as well as helping restaurants like Mangetout with their music booking as well as being a regular for the ever popular steakhouse (Matt even played a cheeky duet with Conor from Nothing But Thieves after their album launch party).
So why was it time to go for the X Factor? The story goes that his friend talked him into it after years of possibilities. It’s no secret that The X Factor scouts for talent for the show. Matt Linnen has always been on their radar. For Matt it would seem, now was the time to see if this was really a road he could walk.
Fast forward to now; Matt is now on Week 4 of one of the biggest shows on the planet. He’s become the poster boy of the current batch of contestants and Southend is now being mentioned regularly at the weekends. Southend is getting put on the map.
With all eyes on Southend, this can only be a good thing. Us Southenders have known for a while now that there’s something brewing in our scene. The likes of Nothing But Thieves, The Horrors, Asylums, Lydia Kitto and Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly are all testament to this. With all these Southend success stories, could this competition ignite something in the scene?
If you know Matt Linnen, there really is no bullshit here. He’s grafted, championed new talent and been a genuine force in the local community. He’s created this opportunity; The X Factor could potentially change Matt’s life forever. And it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
Whether you’re an X Factor fan or not, there is no denying that this whole journey has been incredibly exciting and rewarding to watch. Southend is fully behind Matt Linnen and we will be voting every week to try and keep him on this journey. Go #TeamMatt!”
Make sure you download The X Factor App to secure 5 free votes each time the voting opens on Matt Linnen.