Matoma Breaks Down 15-Track Album 'One In A Million': Exclusive

Jimmy Fontaine


Matoma follows 2016's debut LP Hakuna Matoma with a fresh collection of varied dance-pop compositions. It's heavy with feels from start to finish, and a warm tropical breeze runs through it, strong and sweet. It's heavy with vocal features from Enrique Iglesias, Noah Cyrus and more. It's poised for pop-crossover success with some stirringly emotional moments and dance floor feelings. The drums hit hard for cinematic effects, just as melodies build and ebb, keeping the listener on their toes.

Its 15 tracks try to take you on a layered journey, and Billboard Dance caught up with Matoma to get the full story on each tune.

"One In A Million"
The title song of the album is very special to me. The U.K. writer RØMANS and I wanted to create a song of hope and good energy in the world. We discussed the scope around everything negative that happens in the world today and wanted the song's message to be something positive. From my travels, meeting all these types of amazing people, I feel that everyone has their own "one in a million" story to tell. We are all special in our own way. As long as we continue to spread good energy, joy, love and positivity, I feel that we are "one in a million."

"I Don't Dance (Without You)" Feat. Enrique Iglesias, Konshens
This is probably the song that means the most to me on the album. I remember back in the very first days of making music, where I got the opportunity to do an official remix of "Bailando" by Enrique. This was huge for me, since he has meant so much for me throughout my youth. When I signed with my team, I said from the beginning, "A collaboration with Enrique is on my bucket list." A few years later, I sat in the studio with him in Miami. It was very unnerving, yet so big for me -- and the song is, too.

"Sunday Morning" Feat. Josie Dunne
I got inspired to put something on the album that felt like a super Nordic monster EDM song. The song is written along with the amazing Alma from Finland, and I liked Josie Dunne's voice so well, I asked if she would be part of the song. I hope you like it.

"Lights Go Down" Feat. James Newman
This is perhaps my second favorite on the album. The vocals from James are just absolutely breathtaking. I remember when I heard the vocal for the first time, I genuinely had tears in my eyes. It just got to me. James is an amazing songwriter and artist. In addition, he reminds me a lot of my big brother Dan, which is a plus, for he is my biggest role model.

"False Alarm" Feat. Becky Hill
Although this song has been out for a while now, I feel that the story behind the song and how much it has meant to me deserves a place on this album. One of the greatest memories of my life was in December last year, when I had the honor of performing at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert. I invited Becky to come perform with me, and the very second her voice is heard, the crowd is in awe. Becky is a true artist, a wonderful person, and I'm so thankful this beautiful song has reached so many people.

"Don't Say What You Want To" Feat. Yashua
I was in the studio with the amazing songwriter Poo Bear a little over a year ago. He brought such an incredible energy and vibe into the studio, and within a night we had this song. I spent a while finding the perfect artist to collaborate with, and I was introduced to this new Dominican-American artist named Yashua, whose voice and vibe blew me away. I wanted to have a mix of Latin rhythm progressions and moombahton, and he wrote some Spanish verses that just clicked and felt perfect.

"Losing It Over You" Feat. Ayme A
I remember when I wrote this song together with some amazing writers, Amy Allen and Sean Kennedy in L.A. We wanted to make a pop ballad that had a relatable story. I started playing the piano, and it all unfolded around those chords. The song came together so naturally.

"Lonely" Feat. MAX
I was lucky enough to spend a lot of good time with MAX on my One In A Million Tour at the beginning of the year, and we cooked up a collaboration together. It's all about the pressures of this life and fake friends. He performed it live for the first time at the Fonda, jumping around on stage with his insane energy, it just blew me away. MAX is 100 percent one in a million.

"Telepatía" Feat. Luis Figueroa
I first heard Luis Figueroa on this track called "Por Perro" that he featured on. I loved his voice and flow, so I tried to get in touch with his team to collaborate. Within a couple weeks, I was in Miami with him and some other great writers. We had chemistry from the first second and connected with each other's energy. I just started to play some chord progressions, and we ended up with the one on the track. I remember Luis was so extremely excited about just the progression. He immediately began to hum and experiment with melodies. The song was made in one day from start to finish, which is the fastest I've ever done [so].

"Slow" Feat. Noah Cyrus
Being able to work with Noah Cyrus was amazing. Her vocal range is extremely impressive, and she has a very nice timbre and dynamic to her voice. I wanted to create a future-bass inspired song with lots of bass and big drums in the chorus. I wanted a banger. I played it all on the One In A Million Tour at the beginning of the year, and it did the job. One of my favorite songs to play live.

"All Night" Feat. The Vamps
Back when I had my Party At Your Place bus tour back in November 2016, I made this song. I sat on the bus, and in my inbox had I received an a capella from Brad in The Vamps, and I clearly got the feeling that all this could be something magical. I was in tour mode and inspired by the dance floor, and the vibe just came together quite naturally. The Vamps boys are some of the nicest people I have met; so hard working and such a great energy. Working with them was a true pleasure, and I'm thrilled at the success we have both had from this amazing song.

"Pieces" Feat. Noah Kahan
I first heard Noah's stuff a couple years ago and always wanted to do a song with him. His voice is so incredibly vulnerable and fragile, but his timbre structure and dynamic range is on par with Ed Sheeran. We started through my remix of his song "Hurt Somebody." We stayed in touch, and he sent me a stripped guitar demo of this song called "Pieces." I fell in love with it and had to produce and put it on my album.

"Lost At Sea"
I got inspired [for this song] after I had been in Nicaragua. I worked with the amazing Ingrid from Nashville and my friend Axident, the Norwegian producer. We had an amazing day in the studio and experimented with sounds, rhythms and progressions. The song was written in one day, and I completed it in Trondheim. It's just such a pretty song.

"Heartbeats" Feat. Nina Nesbitt
It is reminiscent of "All Night" in the chorus, but it has a completely different pace. Nina is an incredibly talented songwriter and artist. We worked on this song over the internet when it was not possible for us to be in the same room. I produced the song in a studio deep in the jungles of Nicaragua.

"I'm Not Coming Home" Feat. JRM
Perhaps the most urban song on the album, considering the song's composition and structure. The idea for the song is about not wanting the party to end, so I wanted to make something for the dance floor but with a twist or an edge. The screaming vocals in the drops just nails it.

One in a Million is available now on Parlophone Records. Check it out below, and see Matoma's upcoming tour dates after the jump.

Matoma Tour Dates
Sep 6 -- Ibiza, Spain @ Ushuaïa
Sep 8 -- Ottawa, Canada @ Riverside Festival
Sep 8 -- Montreal, Canada @ New City Gas
Sep 9 -- Las Vegas, NV @ Hakkasan, MGM Grand
Sep 13 -- Buffalo, NY @ Venu Buffalo
Sep 14 -- Urbana, IL @ Prime Fest Illinois
Sep 15 -- Atlantic City, NJ @ Daer, Hard Rock Hotel
Oct 2 -- Las Vegas, NV @ Omnia
Nov 17 -- Las Vegas, NV @ Omnia
Nov 24 -- Las Vegas, NV @ Hakkasan, MGM Grand
Nov 30 -- Las Vegas, NV @ Hakkasan, MGM Grand
Jun 21, 22 2019 -- Fredrikstad, Norway @ Idyll Festival