We had the good fortune of connecting with Eddie Matthews and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eddie, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The concept of success is a very tricky one mentally for me. I personally shy away from calling myself successful because it seems very much like a destination…what happens when you reach it? I frame success as a business owner as the process of consistently setting and executing on your personal and organizational goals.
With my company Vanguard Entertainment Group, my main goal was to create an organization that brokered a dualistic experience for everyone involved. I wanted musicians to be able to express themselves without compromise. I also wanted the vibe created in the venue to be undeniably moving. When both of these come together I believe we get back to the true magic of live music.
I believe the buzz around Vanguard stems from my team’s ability to create this relationship four days a week at several venues around the Houston area.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I moved to Houston 9 years ago, if you were to tell me that I’d be a business owner and a professional musician, that’d probably be a very short conversation ha ha.
To put it in context, 9 years ago I was a corporate accountant right out of college still trying to find my voice on saxophone. I quickly learned that conducting smooth month-end closings didn’t quite do it for me. It was this realization that pushed me to try and find my voice musically.
The encounter that sent me on my current trajectory was meeting an amazing guitar player named Troy Craegh. It was my relationship with him that allowed me to develop as a saxophonist and band leader. We set up Vanguard Entertainment Group together and worked on a number of projects.
During this time, I learned how to assemble a solid team of musicians and venues to work with. As a social person, that likes creating community, this is a must for me. It’s been my team and network that has put me in the position I’m in now.
The biggest take away that any creative or business owner should know is that you have to have reliable and supportive people in your corner. You also have to actively try and align your actions to uplift the people who have invested in you.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Ignoring the obvious shameless plug, the best places in town are the ones I play and manage the entertainment program for on a weekly basis.
Friday and Saturday nights I’d suggest The Ready Room. The Ready Room is an intimate cocktail bar in the heights. What a lot of people don’t know is that it was originally an old blues bar that a lot of famous acts played at back in the day. It’s owned and run by an amazing team including Cody Northcutt, Peter Clifton, and Ken Bridge. What makes this place special is that the management team has seamlessly been able to set up an innovative cocktail program that’s both progressive and nostalgic at the same time.
Saturday and Sunday for brunch I’d suggest checking Lucille’s in the Museum District. Lucille’s has rightfully received a lot of acclaim for Chef Chris William’s and Chef Khang Hoang’s innovative take on Southern food classics. Like Ready Room, the management team at Lucille’s understands the importance of combining amazing hospitality, great cuisine, and live music. Lucille’s has one of the best outdoor patios in the city. Even during the summer, the patio stays cool. Anyone in Houston knows this is an almost impossible thing to accomplish.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I really want to thank my parents Darrick and Karen Matthews for instilling in me at an early age that you can never truly fail unless you give up. I’d go as far as to say their philosophy was “Expect to fail and plan how you’ll get back up”. It’s been this outlook on life that’s allowed me to overcome a lot during my journey.
Other: (Spotify): https://open.spotify.com/artist/0TFRUunI5IeaG6XRK9OPps
Tosin Alagun Juan Jimenez