Prettier Than Matt

The duo, Jessica Skinner and Jeff Pitts, have developed a certain chemistry on stage, which has allowed them to make a name for themselves in the Carolinas. Their newly released album, Better Left Said, blends upbeat originals into a coffee house feel in the flavor profiles of Americana, pop, rock, and more.

Both Jeff (guitars and vocals), and Jessica (vocals and ukulele) were born and raised in South Carolina. They met after both moving to Columbia and have been playing together ever since. “We’ve done a lot of regional travel and some national travel, but will definitely always call Columbia our base. It’s been such a good town to us and we love it,” Jeff exclaimed.

Jeff originally played in a rock band that started in Florence, while Jessica was a Musical Therapy major in college. Neither had established a career much before they met. So the first time both of them made a stable living playing music was with their duo, Prettier Than Matt, Jeff recalled.

“We started performing together in 2010 but this became our only gig around 2012. In 2021, Jessica had her daughter Piper, so she went on a four month break, and I started to perform with my friend Charles and solo at well,” Jeff said. “I still do those things, but Prettier Than Matt is what we’d call our job.”

When it comes to songwriting, Jeff said they don’t just have one process. “Some are more written by Jessica, some more by me. And then some are also split right down the middle. If that’s the case, I’ll usually have music and she’ll put words to it. One of our songs called, “Flower in The Sidewalk,” was a poem she had written years ago. One day we decided to put music to it, and that kicked off the process for our next record, which came out the following year.”

When asked what influences their songwriting process, Jeff exclaimed, “So many things!” with a laugh. “I know that’s a safe answer, but it’s true. Musically we have very different influences, so we just make music that each of us agree that we like. My favorites are Bon Jovi, Metallica and Paramore, and she is more into Ingrid Michaelson, Sara Bareillis and Grace Potter. But it doesn’t stop there. When I listen to any music, I’m trying to find inspiration or some new approach to the next song.”

The pair have released eight physical projects, and currently have four CDs and two vinyl records in their catalog. “Our most recent was called Colors, and it came out in 2021. In 2023, we released a digital single called, “Better Me,” and this year, we are going to release a new EP.”

Many bands strive to receive a record deal in order to get their music out to their fan base. Jeff and Jessica have prefered the DIY method. “As long as it continues to work, we’ll continue to self produce,” Jeff said. “We don’t want to scream out into the world and have no one hear us, and we do see some signs of our ways of getting the word out are a bit outdated. We are working on that, and we may have a new approach to our next release. But up to this point, it worked well for sure. I found that all the successes, bigger or smaller, we had were based on effort, and always working to be a little better the next day. We wanted to write and record, without co-writers. We wanted to book our own tours. These are things we did and are proud of, but as I mentioned, we may change it up a bit later this year. Content is different these days and we want to be on the winning side of social media usage, but I also want to see growth expand beyond just clicks. We want people to come back around to us after they discover us. We also may have our first co-writer this year. You could call this maturing, haha. We do like how we’ve done it, but maybe let’s look to the future now.”

Jeff says their long term goal as musicians is to continue to find new ways to expand and modernize the approach. “Musically, we have our thing, but how we get it out is where modernizing things is exciting. A few years ago we had our first television placement, and since we’ve had five, so that’s an area we never want to stop working on. This year we will release a new EP, a Christmas album, and we are working on a compilation with the Babcock Center. There will be a lot of live shows, as always. It’s such a fun job to have.”

By Greg Tutwiler