Local San Diego musician Matthew Phillips to play KAABOO


An up-and-coming San Diego singer-songwriter is getting the chance to play alongside some of the biggest musical acts when he performs at KAABOO Del Mar later this month.

Matthew Phillips, alongside drummer Adam Graham, will bring his mix of alternative rock and pop to the festival’s TRESTLES by Voss Stage on Sept. 17 from 11:40 a.m. to 12:25 p.m.

The set will include four original songs and two covers by the Goo Goo Dolls and Lifehouse, Phillips said.

The 25-year-old lifelong San Diego resident was one of three winners of the Discovery Tour, which traveled to venues around Southern California before selecting musicians and comedians to join KAABOO’s eclectic lineup.

This time around, 70 musical acts such as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Pink, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse and Weezer will grace the event’s stages from Sept. 15 to 17. The festival will also include works from visual artists, food from craft vendors and more experiences.

Phillips shared his excitement for KAABOO and his career thus far in an interview.

For more information about Matthew Phillips, visit and follow him on Instagram @mattsmusicofficial.

How long have you been a musician and how did you start playing?

I’ve been playing music for seven years. I started in church as a guitar player, and I moved into being a worship leader. Then, I started to play with other musicians as a session guitar player. I found my way into being a solo artist out of default for just wanting to make my own music.

How would you describe your sound?

It’s a mixture of a lot of things. I would consider my music rock/alternative with pop elements to make it a little bit edgy but still family-friendly. Two of my biggest inspirations are the Goo Goo Dolls and Lifehouse. I cover their songs in my sets because I love what they’re doing and I try to emulate people who are successful in the industry.

You’ve mentioned on your website that your sound in your live shows is akin to listening to your album. How do you accomplish that?

I was a sound engineer, so I’ve developed a rig that essentially enables me to have a 15-piece band with only two people. I’m doing something that not a lot of people are doing. I have a lot of instruments in the background of my music — like strings and bass — that I’ve played that really make this huge sound that normally I would have to have many more people on stage for.

How did you get the chance to play KAABOO?

I saw a Facebook ad for GigTown that said KAABOO was looking for local acts. I’ve worked with GigTown many times before, so I knew it was legit. I signed up, put my music in there and KAABOO invited me to come play a show at the Music Box, which is my favorite venue. I was overjoyed to play there for this competition.

What does it feel like to you to be playing alongside artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tom Petty?

Those two names you just mentioned played the Superbowl. I’m getting goosebumps right now just saying that. It’s overwhelming, but it’s what I want to do. I want to be playing festivals like this all over the world. This is my passion and dream.

How does playing KAABOO compare to the rest of your musical career?

This is one of the biggest festivals I’m going to play for some time. This is definitely the biggest one I’ve played thus far.

What are some of your favorite memories so far as a musician?

There was a really awesome moment when I sold out the House of Blues [in San Diego]. I had just finished my last song, the stagehand looked at me and I asked, “San Diego, should we do one more?” There was this roar that happened that was a moment I’ll never forget. It was so cool to have that much support and love.

What are your goals as a musician?

I want to tour around the world and not just be a national act.