Check out my interview with Matt Beilis as he talks about his journey so far, his college experience and what it is like trying to succeed as a music artist in new york.
Hi Matt, How are you doing? Its great to finally have you on YHP.
Thanks for having me.
Before we jump into the interview, could you quickly the YHP readers some background information about yourself?
I'm a singer songwriter and piano player. I play mostly pop / rock with a hint of R&B. You may have seen my YouTube videos!
So how did you get into music? what your story?
Well, I started playing piano when I was about 3 and a half. My parents had an old upright piano at home, and when I sat down at it, they said I touched it really lightly and carefully, so they thought I might have some innate talent. They took a chance and threw me right into piano lessons.
I ended up taking lessons for about 15 years. It wasn't until later in high school, though, that I thought I'd try my hand at singing and writing songs (mostly because I thought it would get girls). I ended up falling in love with the process and the result so I haven't stopped since.
So you graduated from columbia studying Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, how was the whole college experience? did you use it as an outlet for your music whilst studying?
The college experience was a lot of fun for me, but somewhat confusing goal-wise. Originally when I was applying to go to colleges, I thought to myself that I'd never want to major in music because then I'd have no outlet when I'm stressed with school work.
Not to mention, it would be incredibly hard to making a living from that . It ended up that while I was there, music was all I wanted to do. My major ended up evolving into a backup plan, rather than THE plan. I knew that I was meant to follow this dream.
So are you focusing on your music full-time at the moment?
I am focusing on my music more than full-time now. I'm really passionate about succeeding in music, and it's the kind of "job" that never really feels like work anyway. My job is called "playing."
So what are currently up to at the moment?
I'm focusing on writing and producing new music for my next album and also for other artists. I'm also writing a song with producer / DJ Justin Michael to be released on Ultra Records (DeadMau5, Tiesto) early next year.
How competitive is it trying to make a singer-songwriter in new york?
New York is probably the most competitive place to go into entertainment. Everyone here is an actor or musician. But, it's also the best place to try to get seen as a musician. It's kind of a catch-22. It definitely makes you step up your game.
Bruno Mars tweeted your cover of Just The Way You Are, how did you feel? Its almost half a million hits so far? I noticed you getting some love from ashton kutcher and a member of the marron 5?
I'm a huge fan of Bruno Mars. He's a brilliant songwriter and singer. I was absolutely floored when he reached out to complement my cover of HIS song. It has well over a half-million views now. It was also incredible for me to find out that Maroon 5, who I've been a huge fan of since the beginning, was a fan of mine.
Then, when I heard that Ashton Tweeted my videos and it threw me over the top. To me, it's like the ultimate validation that I'm doing what I should be, and it makes me that much more passionate about pushing further.
I found out recently that Christina Perri, who I covered on YouTube, also had my cover on her homepage. It's unreal to me that these people who I read about, listen to, and see on TV are reaching out to me to let me know how they feel about my work.
How has the journey been so far, the support?
It's been incredible so far. My fans are absolutely amazing and so supportive. I would NOT be where I am today without such passionate people behind me.
Where do you record all your videos on youtube? what location is that? what piano do you use?
I actually get this question from a lot of people. Well, I've never formally told anyone, but people are bound to find out sooner or later. It's actually a piano showroom in midtown. The owners of that showroom are incredibly supportive of me and my music.
As it turns out, they have some of the best pianos in the world, so it's really an amazing opportunity they've given me. I think my favorite piano to record on is a Mason & Hamlin piano. They have the biggest sound and complement my vocals.
You got that soothing voice of soul meeting hip-hop grooves with the soft rock twist to it? what do you think? did i get it right?
I'll take it! My voice is kind of like Bruce Springsteen meets Gavin DeGraw.
What style of music would you say you produce?
My music is definitely pop rock but it does have some hints of R&B to it. I like the way that hip hop and R&B immediately make you move to the music, so I try to incorporate that feel into mine.
Anyways let talks about your new album CAN'T HELP BUT WONDER, what was the inspiration behind it? what has the feedback been like?
The title comes from the decision I made to take that leap of faith and make music my career. It is, by far, the hardest thing I've had to decide given the amount of work I put into my education and given the fact that I have bills to pay.
But to me, there's no greater reward than seeing that leap pay off and I can't help but wonder where I'd be if I hadn't decided to take that chance. On the other hand, it also describes how I felt when I was working in a dead end financial job. I could not help but wonder what my life would be like if I were singing and performing in front of thousands of fans.
The feedback on the album has been great! It's inspiring to me to hear that people listen to something I've put so much work into and tell me that one of the songs is exactly how they were feeling or that a track made them feel better about something. In general, it's incredibly rewarding to make art for a living because it's one thing that can immediately convey a specific emotion and have someone feel the same way you do.
What can those that havent gottent he album expect to get from it?
I think it's easy for listeners to take away meaning from the songs, even if it's not the original meaning behind the songs. A lot of my music is written about something other than love, but will come out as a song about a romantic relationship.
I find that the easiest way for someone to relate to an emotion I want to describe is to put it in a person-to-person relationship context. For instance, in the song "Been Way Too Long" on my album, the lyrics describe a relationship gone bad. It can be taken as a romantic relationship, but I actually wrote it about the job I was in when I decided I wanted to do music for a living. It kept me from my dream so I resented being in that relationship.
What should we be expecting from you in the future?
Well, you should definitely be on the lookout for my single on Ultra Records in early 2011 and also a ton of live performances around the country and hopefully soon the world. Keep checking out my YouTube channel, www.YouTube.com/MattBeilis for new videos and www.MattBeilis.com for new tour dates.
Do you have any tips for others looking to make it as an independent artist?
Never let someone else tell you when it's time to look for a more reliable, more standard job. If you think you have what it takes to make it, you're the only person who should make that decision.
Thanks for your time matt, wish you the best of luck.
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