Nettwerk Producer Management
6525 W Sunset Blvd, 8th Floor
Hollywood, CA 90028
At the most challenging moment in the history of the music business, the industry’s truly original and courageous voices have been conspicuous in these last few years. Uniquely, the Grammy-winning songwriter, producer and entrepreneur MATT SERLETIC has stood out in both the creative and executive fields for over a decade. Now, he is developing a new music venture to address the call from the industry and consumers alike for bold, artistic authenticity and innovation in the future.
Matt Serletic’s maverick instinct, inner compass and imposing musical chops have carried him successfully through music, at the highest level of worldwide hit-making, and at every part of the record business – from his recruitment at the age of 13 to play keyboards in a band, to his repeated trips to the top of the international pop chart as a producer and songwriter, and continuing to his 2002 appointment at age 31 as Chairman/CEO of Virgin Records, the youngest person ever to attain that executive position. Creative and business challenges confronted by Serletic over the course of his career have shown an uncanny knack of resolving themselves at the No. 1 position in the world’s singles and album charts.
Serletic then resumed his smashingly successful career as a songwriter and musician, record producer and production-company/custom label entrepreneur, which has already resulted in sales of over 100 million albums globally – and which includes the creation of such enduring classics of pop music as Carlos Santana’s “Smooth,” Rob Thomas’ “Lonely No More,” Matchbox Twenty’s “Push” and Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing.”
Serletic developed his musical and managerial expertise in his teens, as a young musician, a band member and a studio session player at college in Florida. By his early twenties, working with the same band that he started out in at age 13, Serletic co-produced two tracks, arranged strings, co-engineered and even mastered the multi-platinum album Hints, Allegations and Things Left Unsaid, by Collective Soul. Unfortunately, that first success precipitated an interpersonal, legal and financial mess that left Serletic out of the group, and nearly broke.
Amid a crisis that would have beaten many a young musician, Serletic composed himself and aggressively re-committed to music. He discovered and signed to his own Atlanta-based independent production company the band Matchbox Twenty, and by mid-1997, they became one of the blockbuster acts of modern rock, selling an eventual 12 million copies of their first album, Yourself or Someone Like You. Serletic produced the entire album, and co-wrote the enormously popular breakthrough single, “Push.”
Thereafter, Serletic became, and remained, one of music’s most in-demand producers, with a reputation for bullet-proof musical decision-making on behalf of artists new and old, and a laser-like aim for the very top of the world’s pop chart. In 1999, with Matchbox’s Rob Thomas singing lead vocals and co-writing, Serletic produced Carlos Santana’s phenomenal global hit, “Smooth,” which drove worldwide sales of more than 30 million albums, with a 12-week run at No. 1 and a record-setting 30-week residency in the U.S. top 10. Serletic won the Record of the Year Grammy as producer of “Smooth,” as well as the Album of the Year Grammy, for co-producing Santana’s album Supernatural. By one statistician’s measure, “Smooth” had the most successful singles chart run in the entire era of rock and roll (Billboard’s Hottest Hot 100 Hits by Fred Bronson, Billboard Books). Serletic topped Billboard Magazine’s year-end Hot 100
Producers list in 2000, and received his first nomination for the Producer of the Year Grammy. It was Santana’s first No.1 song in a chart career that began 30 years previously, a record-setting interval that still stands.
In a similar high-pressure situation -- with a deadline looming, a massive multi- media marketing investment at stake, and no option for mistakes -- Serletic produced Aerosmith’s song for the film Armageddon, “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing.” Working with their youngest producer ever, the group left the session with their first (and still only) No. 1 single, after a 25-year career as a rock supergroup. The song’s four-week chart-topping stay led soundtrack album sales past 4 million copies in the U.S., and marked the end of the second-longest interval between any artist’s chart debut and first No. 1 – behind Santana.
If his track record proves anything, it’s that artists can rely on Matt Serletic in pressured clutch situations to see, hear and think clearly, to look outside the box if need be, and to find the musical solution that wins. “Musical relationships are built on trust,” Serletic says. “I want to capture what that person is actually hearing inside him or herself, by finding a way to realize it in a musical form. It is sometimes difficult to figure out. But if you could really mold the song into being truly what an artist or songwriter is hearing in their own head, oftentimes it's a lot better than what anybody else’s first impression was.” This empathy, which Serletic terms “ultra-collaborative” in its ideal state, has created long relationships and equally long careers for the artists Serletic has produced.
Ten years after their first meeting, Serletic was the sole producer of Matchbox Twenty lead singer Rob Thomas’ 2005 album ...Something To Be, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart -- the first No. 1 entry for a debut album by a solo male artist from a pop or rock group in Billboard history. The album’s first single, “Lonely No More,” peaked at No. 6 on the Hot 100 pop chart, and remained in the Top Ten of the Billboard Adult Contemporary airplay chart after a run of 66 weeks, including an astonishing 17 weeks at No. 1. The album as a whole has had an extraordinary life: well over a year after the release of “Lonely No More,” the album’s third single, “Ever the Same,” was still in the Adult Contemporary Top 10 after a 47-week run, and the fourth, “Streetcorner Symphony,” had bulleted into the Top 10 of the Adult Top 40 chart in its eighth week.
Matt earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music performance at the University of Miami School of Music, with formal education in keyboard, wind and percussion instruments. His vision of the way orchestral and rhythm arrangements could fulfill good songcraft led him to produce his first demos, and still guides him. “I usually try to illustrate the lyrics to give the listener what the singer is conveying,” Serletic says. “The important thing is to begin with a great song, to make the song feel powerful, whole, and moving, even if you played it on a kazoo -- it needs to have its own sense of resonance. From there, you place the song in the appropriate world, whether it is dark, or moody, or celebrational. A lot of times, I'm usually the quietest one in the room until something I hear is perfect, or I hear something that's wrong. My job is to shepherd us towards the light.” Said one member of a newly-signed band: “When we went into the studio with Matt Serletic, we had no idea how far, and how much, he would push us. Matt gave us a new perspective when it came to realizing a song's potential.”
Serletic’s diverse production successes have also included the top 5 single “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain; the Grammy-nominated Willie Nelson album The Great Divide; and Matchbox Twenty’s second and third multi-platinum albums, Mad Season and More Than You Think You Are.
Matt Serletic originally formed the custom imprint Melisma Records with Arista Records founder and then-President Clive Davis. It was during discussions to bring the Melisma label to EMI that Serletic was offered the chairmanship of Virgin Records. As Chairman/CEO of Virgin Records, Serletic directed the label’s successes with Gorillaz, The Rolling Stones, Ben Harper, Janet Jackson, Lenny Kravitz and others. He was a pioneer in structuring a multi-tiered recording deal with Korn that encompassed music publishing, merchandising and tour revenues – an approach which is now increasingly common in the music industry. In 2005, Serletic undertook a major re-launch of Virgin’s black music division, appointing as President of Virgin Urban Music the hip-hop/R&B entrepreneur Jermaine Dupri. Within a year, the label scored two Urban No. 1 singles and a gold album by Dem Franchize Boyz, while returning Bubba Sparxxx to the Billboard Top Ten singles and albums. He also directed the year-long North American marketing set-up of the platinum KT Tunstall album Eye to the Telescope, as well as the long-term development of 30 Seconds To Mars, who broke through to the platinum sales level on their second Virgin release, A Beautiful Lie, an album A&R-ed and even produced by Virgin in-house staff.
His productions have been heard in film soundtracks including Stuck in the Suburbs, Serendipity, Message in a Bottle, Meet the Robinson’s, The Faculty and Bounce, and Serletic was the soundtrack producer for How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days. His productions also appear on the special-event albums Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon and Legacy: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.