Local Music: The Sounds of Union City

Photo from share.america.gov

Photo from share.america.gov

BY MATTHEW HEARON-SMITH

Working as a music supervisor in television and film, sometimes people assume I know everything there is to know about music. It's flattering, but it's nowhere near the truth. Not even close. The history and depth of this cultural art form is literally limitless - rooted in individual and shared experience, a specific time and a particular place. To make up ground on this impossible task, I've learned to be a great listener, a meticulous notetaker, and to soak in as much as I can learn from each new experience. 

My new life in Hudson County has been no different. As a guy that most people would call 'really, really white', my family's new home in Union City has opened my eyes to so many new sights and sounds. I've learned some things too - that Cubans like their coffee really really strong, or that every well-dressed man needs a good guayabera. I've also become a big admirer of the music that floats through the shared outdoor spaces in my new neighborhood - whether from the backyard cookouts of the Ecuadorian family on the corner, or from the old Cuban Jazz records streaming out the kitchen window of the Grandmother across the street. I can even appreciate the reggaeton and Puerto Rican hip hop vibrating through the cars of the kids revving their engines on my block. These sounds are so new to me, so refreshing and so exhilarating. 

To document my musical experiences here in Hudson County, I've compiled a playlist of some of my favorite tracks that I've overheard on Summer evenings, from backyard parties or in the corner bodega. The sounds are as diverse and unique as Union City itself - and are a small glimpse into the depth and history of this amazing little town. 

Matthew Hearon-Smith is a Union City based Music Supervisor currently working on Film, TV and Ads. He is a three-time Guild of Music Supervisors Awards nominee, a Hollywood Music In Media Awards nominee and winner of "Best Use of Music in a Film" at the 22nd Chlotrudis Awards. His specialties include music curation, licensing and clearances, creative placement and deliverables management.

You can follow Matt on Twitter here.