J. Matthews’ debut indie pop EP, Courage, chronicles a series of experiences that grew Matthews into a confident and grounded version of himself. Courage is comprised of four indie pop songs, “Courage for Fools,” “Wanderlust,” “For You,” and “Nothing to Fear,” which detail the fears and insecurities Matthews had as he went through college. J. Matthews wrote the EP to encourage people to persevere even when it feels challenging or hopeless.
“If you have the Courage to start a journey and stay the course, you’ll find that you have ‘Nothing to Fear’ by the end of it. Begin a fool, stay strong, and you’ll be unafraid after the lessons are learned.”
Courage opens with a song about the fear of making the first move. J. Matthews knew this fear all too well during his freshman year of college when he let the fear of rejection get in the way of being with the girl he liked. He admitted his feelings to her after several drinks of ‘liquid courage,’ but he felt like a fool for never expressing these feelings sober.
He follows the opening track with his songs “Wanderlust,” a song about the fear of missing out, and “For You,” a song dedicated to the girl he fell in love with when he was least expecting it. By the end of the EP, J. Matthews gains perspective on how minuscule his past fears now seem in “Nothing to Fear.” The closing track is about realizing that in the grand scheme of things, what once mattered to you years ago no longer matters. He was inspired to write “Nothing to Fear” after coming home from college and seeing the growth he made while he was away. It was a reflective time for him, and he was able to look back on the time that had passed and be proud of the lessons he had learned and the progress he had made.
As a singer-songwriter first and foremost, J. Matthews felt it crucial to have cohesivity in the lyrics and overarching story of Courage. Additionally, Matthews uses the instrumentation of his tracks to elevate the lyrics and ignite emotion in his listeners. Matthews incorporates elements of dance-pop, pop-rock, and alternative, in the indie pop EP which contains moody guitars, ethereal pads, dynamic drums, and emotive vocals.