I was raised in a musical home. We had a tiny little house growing up, but a third of our home was a space we called the “music room”. I think I had no choice but to get into music. I was immersed in rhythm and melody from day one. But my artistry started when I was 15 years old and I tried freestyling for the first time. The thrill of stringing rhymes and melodies together on the fly was a life-changing feeling. There was no going back. Ever since, music has been my therapy.
My music is truly genre-less. I don’t fit into any single “box”. I have a fusion of Pop, Hip-Hop, R&B, Soul, and a number of other genres. But aside from the “sound” of my music, I would say that the tone of my music is best described as “healing music”. I make music from my soul to connect with yours. That’s the sort of music I love most, so that’s the music I feel called to create.
Too many artists to name but let’s choose 5: with Lauryn Hill, India Arie, John Mayer, Jim Croce, and Immortal Technique. Outside of music, my inspirations are my loved ones, my family, and my closest friends. But in truth, anyone who has the courage to choose to follow their heart inspires me. Dreamers inspire me. People who defy fear inspire me.
Earlier this month, we hit 5 million total streams on Spotify, that was wild for me. I just started releasing music about a year ago. So we have come a long way in a relatively short period of time. I also just released a song “what lovers do” and the song is a true R&B hit, that was a major goal of mine. Stepping even further out of the “box” and creating a whole new sound was a big win for me.
My creative process almost always starts with freestyling. I like to let my creative impulse lead the way. I’ll sit down, maybe with a beat, maybe in silence, and record myself as I spit out melodies, hooks, verses, whatever comes out. Then once I’m done, I’ll listen to the recording and pick my favorite nuggets of gold. From there, I’ll sit with my lyrics, sometimes for months. I’ll massage them until they tell the story that feels right. It feels like writing a novel. I want the narrative to be served. It hasn’t changed much during the Pandemic, but I’d like to think I’ve gotten a bit better at it with practice.
Fear. The fear of time, the fear of judgment, the fear of success. Whenever fear creeps into the picture, only bad things follow. In my more anxious moments, I tend to let my fears take the wheel. Finding a way to remove fear from the creative process, or at least ignore fear, is an ongoing challenge for me. Once I overcome that obstacle, I think my greatest, most beauitful work will come out.
The highlight of my career was having the courage to choose it. Having the strength to listen to my heart and defy my fears. That was the greatest decision I’ve ever made, second only to marrying my wife. Whatever numbers, awards, or recognition comes of my career is up to God, but the fact that I am a full-time artist is something I’m immensely proud of. I love what I do every day. For that reason alone, I am a success.
I just performed at MusikFest with my brother Zach Matari. It felt amazing to share the stage with someone who I genuinely care about as an artist and a friend. That’s gotta top the list for me. But to be honest with you, it was my first ever live performance, so it wins by default lol. But in 2022, we are hitting festivals and touring non-stop. It’s time to go meet my fans in person.
In April, I dropped “slip”, a love song about my wife. It’s playful and passionate at the same time. It’s the story of our love. In July, I dropped “drunk on myself” a self-love song. This song speaks on the importance of loving yourself first, I wrote it to remind my listeners that love must emanate from inside your heart before it can be shared. My latest release “what lovers do” dropped earlier in October. It’s a song about burning romance, about shooting your shot. I know what it feels like to love someone deeply and to pray that the feelings are mutual, so I made a sexy R&B song about that exact emotion.
I’d say that “what lovers do” is my favorite for two reasons. One, because it is the latest release. I try to stay as present-minded as I can be. Whatever song I am currently focused on is going to get my favor. Two, it’s also simply my best work. It’s so much more dynamic than my previous songs. It’s got groove, texture, passion, melody, and punch. It’s sexy and I feel it has the most power of any song I’ve made. I feel I evolve as an artist with every song, and “what lovers do” is proof of that evolution.
Yes. But I do have to keep that information DL for the moment. Once we’re ready to announce those collabs, I know my fans will be thrilled. I’ve been blessed to connect with several incredible artists who I admire. Social media has really opened those doors for me, so shoutout to my “followers” who continuously tag artists in my posts. I can promise this: 2022 is going to be a year of collaboration for me.
At the moment, I am my own manager, label, marketing team, A&R, and artist. So, each day I’ve got to wear each one of those hats. I try to focus primarily on myself as an artist. I take measures to ensure my days are mostly creative. I dedicate most of my time to writing, freestyling and recording myself. But I also have to be posting on all platforms, promoting my music, and handling the business side of artistry on a daily basis. It’s a lot but I love it. Aside from my work, I cherish my time in nature and with my wife and family. I wish I had more time to get out with the homies and hoop, but we’ll get there.
Nature. I love the trees, the birds, the bees, the clouds, the water, the baby blue skies and the sounds. I think our planet is our greatest blessing and I’m forever in awe of its splendor. Once I’m a truly global artist, I will buy a farm and spend my days surrounded by the colors, sounds, sights, and scents of Earth.
I am absolutely humbled to be featured on the Regional Artist Spotlight. I feel honored to showcase and I hope I can bring peace, joy and love to everybody who finds my art through this Spotlight. As an independent artist, gaining exposure to a global audience is a dream come true. I don’t take this opportunity lightly. It’s a blessing! I am forever grateful to y’all for deeming me worthy of your time, your attention, and your focus. So much love to you always.