After six seasons, ABC’s legal thriller How to Get Away With Murder came to an end on May 14th. The series finale featured the most popular TV song last week with dynamic vocals from Chesapeake Bay native Matt Maeson.
For a series with plenty of death, it’s fitting that the top song can be heard during a funeral. Whose funeral? No spoilers here. ‘Dancing After Death (Stripped)’ accompanies the final goodbyes to Annalise Keating (played by Viola Davis) and the entire HTGAWM cast as loose ends are tied up to bring the series to a close.
The song plays through the end montage with emotive storytelling from Matt Maeson. The instruments drop out with one last view of the words “How To Get Away With Murder” written on the chalkboard, before Maeson’s voice punctuates the final moments before the end credits.
“During the pilot, How To Get Away With Murder creator Pete Nowalk focused on creating a unique musical template for score and source. ‘Dark and Stormy’ by Hot Chip and ‘I Come With Knives’ by IAMX introduced his musical vision,” music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas shared with Tunefind. “It’s only fitting ‘Dancing After Death,’ Matt Maeson’s beautiful and memorable track, scored the last scene in the series.”
‘Dancing After Death (Stripped)’ was released in October 2019 on the stripped version of Maeson’s debut album, Bank on the Funeral. Maeson is signed to Neon Gold Records and Atlantic Records.
With parents who are Christian musicians, the 27 year old singer/songwriter has always had music music in his life. Maeson was about 4 years old when he started playing drums, after his uncle passed away and left him a drum set. He first picked up a guitar around 15 years old, and began writing and performing at age 17.
Maeson was not allowed to listen to secular music, but when he eventually did, he recalls that ‘Numb’ by Linkin Park was one of the first songs he heard. While his parents might not approve, Maeson notes his rock influences as Johnny Cash, Kurt Cobain and Jeff Buckley. When asked about his performance inspiration by Anchr Magazine he replied, “That’s tough cause there’s different aspects. Vocals, Britney Howard from Alabama Shakes is insanely talented. Jeff Buckley is one of my all time favorite artists. Then Manchester Orchestra is a huge one for me. I love Johnny Cash. I love the way he performs and I played in a lot of prisons growing up.”
In 2016, Maeson released his debut single ‘Cringe’ and two years later he was performing at festivals like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. He released two EPs, Who Killed Matt Maeson (2017) and The Hearse (2018) before releasing his debut album, Bank on the Funeral, in April 2019.
In an interview with Billboard, Maeson explained the purpose of the stripped album that followed: “We wanted to do stripped versions because I write all the songs that I write by myself, or at least 90% of them. We wanted to do a version that was closer and a little more intimate, because up until that point, that’s all I’d done live was play acoustic, and we wanted to capture that feeling.”
“When you have a bunch of stuff going on, it takes away from the simplicity of just a vocal and a piano,” Maeson added. “I feel like you listen to the lyrics more, you listen to the tone of my voice more, the keys move you in a way sonically too. Some people gravitate to that more than the big, produced stuff.”
In 2019, Matt Maeson became No. 4 on Billboard’s year-end Top New Rock Artists chart.
Maeson has seen other song placements on the latest season of Siren, as well as the television series The Royals and Animal Kingdom. Matt Maeson shared a quirky post on his Instagram about his HTGAWM placement.
〉Listen now: Death After Dancing (Stripped) by Matt Maeson
〉More music by Matt Maeson
〉Full list of songs in the How To Get Away With Murder soundtrack