Hot new duo Striking Matches, comprised of Sarah Zimmermann and Justin Davis, is quickly becoming one of Country music’s hottest and most buzzed about new acts. They’ve played the Opry 12 times so far and have previously shared the stage with stars such as The Band Perry, Ashley Monroe, and Scotty McCreery. In addition, Striking Matches was hand-picked by Hunter Hayes to open his recent album release show in New York City.
Want to know more? We recently had a chance to sit down with the singer-songwriters in Nashville. Check out our chat below…
CMIL: There’s an interesting story as to how you became a duo. Let’s hear it.
SM: We were freshman at Belmont together in the guitar program there. All the guitar majors have to get together in our classes and during the first few weeks of school, they were making all the freshman play for the upper class, like a hazing kind of thing. They made us get together two-by-two and you had to get with somebody you didn’t know and make something up. You could just play anything. So they were pairing people off and I think Sarah was the only girl in the class at the time and nobody really wanted to get the girl and so they called me and they called her and I was like, “Oh, man. Do you know any blues or something?” She’s been playing blues her whole life and so she whipped out her slide and we got an applause out of the seniors. Then it was kind of like, “Whoa, we should do that again. That was fun,” so we did. That was four years ago.
CMIL: How did you come up with the name “Striking Matches?”
SM: That was a lot of just trial and error. Our first name was Common Thread. And it was just far too common. It was like you’d Google it and it would be like an upholstery company or another band. People thought we were others bands. It was just a mess. It was time to change it. We were going to run into trademark issues and all that and we were like, “Whatever, let’s change it.”
CMIL: You’ve had the opportunity to play the Grand Ole Opry several times. What does it mean to you to be able to stand in the circle?
SZ:I always get butterflies. I think I’ve cried most times. I’m the girl that cries at the Opry.
JD: It’s unique. There’s nothing really like it. It seems like it’s the first time every time. The Opry has one of the most welcome backstages. People just leave their doors open in the greenroom and you can come by and say, “Hey.” It’s like a community. It’s really great.
(Fun Fact: When Striking Matches plays the Opry, Sarah wears special silver shoes. She calls them her “opry shoes.” She also has a special tank top that she wears when they play. “I wore it inside out on accident the first time we played, so now every time I play the Opry I wear it inside out because I think it’s good luck,” she tells us. “You can’t tell because it’s black, but it’s my little thing.”)
CMIL: You had two songs (“Hangin’ On A Lie” and “When the Right One Comes Along”) on the first season of “Nashville.” How that that affected your career?
SM: It’s been really cool. It’s sort of snowballed since then. It actually may have been one of the biggest contributing factors to us getting the chance to play at the Opry. It’s just been amazing and the fan base has grown so much. We put the song on our EP before we knew it was going to be on the show so people went to go find the song after seeing it on “Nashville” and found our version. We’ve gotten a lot of fans from all over, people in the UK and all over the country.
CMIL: You do a great job of staying in touch with fans online. Is that important to you to keep up?
SM: We get to have a really good relationship with our fans. We like to be as involved in that as we can and so kind of knowing them by name you start to – there’s ones that really reply to everything– so you start to learn who they are. It’s fun. It’s nice to have that one on one relationship with them as much as we can.
Fans can keep up with Striking Matches on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to visit their official website to learn more. Click HERE to purchase the duo’s self-titled EP on iTunes.