Amber Sweeney

Amber Sweeney is an accomplished soul-rock singer and songwriter from the Pacific Northwest

Song Crush Sunday - "No Matter Where" by Isaiah Dominguez

About a week ago, Isaiah had sent an email to Portland Radio Project’s program director, Inessa Anderson, about a new single he was releasing. He CC’d me on the email, since he’d been one of my in-studio guests recently. He was giving us exclusive rights to “leak” the song before it’s release, which meant that I was privileged to take some real time getting to know this song before most everyone else in the world did. I was also privileged to have Isaiah on my weekly radio spot on PRP to talk with him about the song, and where his music is leading him next.

The anthemic drums that open “No Matter Where” are what initially grabbed me. Those heavy tom hits that rock and rollers call tribal got my head bobbing, and set a tone for where this song was heading. Eight bars into the song and the wall of guitars hit with lifting vocals chanting “whoa.” Even in these first few moments of the song, I was feeling hope-filled. I wasn’t quite ready for the first line to grab me the way it did, but it’s the hook that keeps pulling me back to the start of a song that I just can’t get out of my head. “I want to believe in a life that doesn’t believe in me.” That melody and that paradox hit a special place in my heart. I know what he’s talking about all too well. Isaiah goes on to say “I want to bend and not break under the weight of disbelief. I’d like to think that I can take it on before I give way to anything.” These lyrics are chalk full of relatable truths, and hope! In all honesty, they remind of what I felt fifteen years ago as I graduated high school and was ready to take on the world.

As the music continues, there is something so familiar in the sweet rasp of Isaiah’s voice, his melodic choices, and in the music itself. As I later found out, Isaiah was inspired to write a song after watching a documentary on the band Switchfoot, who I’ve been a fan of since their first album, Legends of Chin. The familiarity made sense at this point, but the song is distinctly its own creation, especially in moments where the drums click their rhythm on what sounds like the metal frame of the snare drum. That has always been one of my favorite sounds. And of course, let’s not forget the tasty little guitar solos by none other than Gavin Phillips of a the band This Providence.

Casey Bates, who produced the song, doesn’t cut corners in production, and the song doesn’t dottle in getting to the chorus, which is ultimately what I have been singing every day, non-stop for over a week now: “No matter where, no matter where. I want to say my eyes see things they can’t believe.” Those lines are just good for the soul. There is something so innocent and filled with wonder in these lyrics, and it makes me stop and imagine all the things in this world that my eyes have never seen, and I want to see them.

Everything about this song is purely lifting. Anthemic vocals, big electric guitars, and inspiring lyrics. Thank you Isaiah Dominguez, not only for your performance of this song, but simply for writing it. I too am now singing, “No Matter Where.”

You can download and share the song on iTunes and more, and as always, Listen With Your Heart.

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