Local Music

Published on September 30th, 2020 | by Intern Intern

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Two University of Mississippi Students Prepare for a Happy Landing

University of Mississippi Student Musicians Reach 10k Monthly Listeners on Spotify Following the Release of their Debut Album

“I’ve been writing and playing music for several years now, alongside my brother and his wife. We have been a trio for quite some time,” says Matthew Hendley, lead singer of Happy Landing.

Matthew had an internship in the Fall of 2019 with the University of Mississippi School of Journalism. He said that his love for writing and playing music did not get serious until he was in New York City. “I just kind of got inspired and wrote all of these songs on the EP in New York, it’s just a really inspiring place and that’s where I wrote “She’s Got Brooklyn” and then it just kind of flowed out from that,” said Hendley. 

After starting an EP in New York, Hendley talked to his brother, Jacob Hendley, and told him they should go to a studio and make a record. He then talked to his sister-in-law, Madison Hendley, and his roommate, Jacob Christianson, who is also a student at the University of Mississippi.    

Matthew Hendley in the Oxford Recording studio with sound engineer, Brady Hoggard.

Ironically after this, Matthew got an ad on Instagram for Oxford Recording Studio and talked to the sound engineer, Brady Hoggard to reserve some time in the studio during this past spring.  This opportunity led to the formation of a band named Happy Landing.

“Matthew and I became friends through Young Life and were in the same bible study.  Matthew saw the things that I was doing with my first band that I was in named Vulpes / Vulpes and he came to one of our shows and saw me play live.” Since Matthew and Jacob were friends beforehand and knew of each others musical ability, Matthew asked Jacob if he would want to be the drummer for Happy Landing.

As children, Jacob and Matthew both came from musical influences and backgrounds. When asked, Jacob said that his dad got him into drumming. “I did not get really super deep into the formal training side of things, I just kind of taught myself from then on and it was intermittent,” Christianson said.  He continued saying how his brother is the more musical one since he has been playing guitar for the past 15 years.

Jacob also mentioned how even though his dad was more of the influencer in musical talent, his grandfather on his mom’s side was actually in a band called “The Royal Teens”. One popular song from that band that might be recognized is “Short Shorts”. Matthew’s influence in musical ability comes from his parents who encouraged him and his siblings to take piano lessons growing up.  His brother, Jacob Hendley, also taught Matthew guitar. 

Hendley said that he got the idea of the name Happy Landing from his grandparents. His grandfather was in the military and would always tell them about how people would jump out of the plane and say “I hope you have a happy landing”. Every Fourth of July, Matthew’s family would have a family reunion on his grandparents’ land. The name of the land was “Happy Landing.” It was a place where all of the family could come and gather- a happy landing. Going off of this idea of the name Matthew also added, “When people ‘land’ on the music I want people to be happy, dance, feel good, the music to be upbeat.”

They released their first album, Just Kids At Heart, on August 28, 2020. A little over a month later, their Spotify account had almost eleven thousand monthly listeners. On their lead single, “She’s Got Brooklyn,” the band reached almost twenty-five thousand streams on Spotify alone. Currently, they are working on new music to be released in the next year.  

After further conversation with Matthew and Jacob,  they both believe that their journey with Happy Landing has opened up a new route in their lives.  Both being successful, involved students beforehand, they are now thinking about moving to either Nashville or New York after graduation in May to pursue their band and their love for making music.

You can read Q&As with Matthew Hendley Jacob Christianson here.

Local Musician Q&A: Matthew Hendley and Jacob Christensen of Happy Landing

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