Singer-Songwriter Matt Von Turns Loss Into A Musical Win With “Still In My Heart”

Penning a tribute to a fallen loved one is an unavoidably personal undertaking. Whether the finished product ends up sounding like a private moment we shouldn’t be eavesdropping on, or like a gift to be shared with all humanity, is entirely up to the quality of the artist.

Toronto-based singer-songwriter Matt Von has taken the latter tack on his affecting new single, “Still in My Heart.” Ostensibly a paean to his mother, who passed away in 2023 after a more than 18-month battle with cancer, the song strikes a universal chord that transcends his own harrowing experience and rockets it straight into the stratosphere of mass catharsis. And in the algebra of popcraft, mass catharsis equals a great song.

It’s a musical send-off that’s neither maudlin nor morbid—just one of the qualities that make it feel like a ready-made hit. The weighty subject matter notwithstanding, “Still in My Heart” remains both uplifting and irresistibly catchy, due in large part to its invigorating, light-headed bounce. Von’s already youthful voice keeps leaping excitedly into falsetto as the rhythm simply skips along beneath him, turning what could be a defeated dirge into a hand-on-heart pledge of eternal gratitude. All the while, the meticulous production by Luca Caracciolo boosts and augments the song’s vocal/guitar core with keyboard accents and other embellishments that are applied tastefully in all the right places.

Most important, the lyrics convey their fond farewells in a way that’s generalized enough to resonate with anyone who’s experiencing grief over just about anything—not just death, but the sad end to a relationship of any kind:

I wanna be with you
After all that we’ve been through
I know that you’re far
But you’re in my heart
We still have forever
And for now, I’ll just settle
It’s been kinda hard
But I won’t fall apart
You’re still in my heart

“It’s always hard losing someone in your life, but I had never imagined I would be without my mom, my best friend, at the age of 25,” Von muses. The ordeal was so preoccupying that this natural talent—who had been playing music since he was 8—didn’t write any new material the entire time she was sick. But four months after she had passed, he sat down with an acoustic guitar, and the number poured out of him in the course of just about an hour.

“This song came as a blessing to me, which I believe was sent from my mom to me from heaven,” he says.

It wasn’t until he had given the tune a couple of dry runs at shows, however, that he realized he had something truly special on his hands:
“I performed the song live a couple times when it was unreleased, and the reaction that I received from audiences was surreal. I knew I had to record this song and have it released.”

Now it’s the fourth single in Von’s ever-expanding catalog of solo music, joining prior entries like his debut, “Crazy,” and the subsequent “Help with Something,” which he wrote and recorded as a tribute to his parents. Yes, family has always been a big deal to this Toronto kid. From 2018 to 2020, he performed as part of duo, Sarah Jordan and Matt Von, with one of his two sisters. They were a popular recording act and a regular presence at local events and festivals until the day Von decided to strike out on his own. As a solo artist, he’s cultivated a distinctive sound that seeds his pop/acoustic roots with hints of country and gospel.

“Still in My Heart” is the first addition to his released repertoire in three years. And as a proven crowd-pleaser, it’s bound to be a staple of his live sets as he continues his regular schedule of appearances at Ontario-area venues, where he regularly wows the crowd with a winning mixture of originals and covers.

“I want this song to be a tribute to my mom, and how much of an incredible person she was,” he says. “I would not be where I am today without her love, guidance and nurturing heart. She was my biggest fan and best friend. I continue to live my life today through her memory.”

And that isn’t just a promise he’s made to himself.

“I will never forget what my mom said to me just before she passed: ‘Don’t ever stop doing what you love.’ I won’t, Mom. I promise. I love you. You’re still in my heart.”