Born and raised in Chicago, Matt Ryanz was extremely active in local church choirs, high school musicals, as well as classical piano and music composition classes. Matt learned quickly though that pop was his true destiny when he would listen to the sounds of Madonna, Britney Spears and Michael Jackson. The unsigned songwriter and performer is un-like most artists of the New York music scene today: unapologetically artistic yet unabashedly pop. With songs containing honest lyrics and emotional dance-pop melodies, Matt is on his way to achieving so much more than what he began with.
Taking inspiration from his classical roots and the gay nightlife found in the neighborhood where he now lives, Hell’s Kitchen, Matt creates a sound that is unique and infectious. With tracks like “It’s Never Enough,” “I’ll Keep Waiting” and “Angel“, Matt expresses an angst and ambition uncommon in today’s contemporary music scene.
Accidental Bear: Where did you grow up Matt and has it influenced your song writing?
Matt Ryanz: Well im originally from Chicago and growing up in the city was an amazing experience – it definitely had an impact on my music. I come from a middle class family and from an early age I was taught the importance of hard work and determination. You know if you have a dream or goal that you can achieve it as long as you put your mind to it…that whole thing? It’s a theme I try to incorporate in my music not just because its something I’ve tried to live by, but because I feel it’s also true in love and relationships. Just because someone tells you no, that doesn’t mean you can’t get him. Sometimes the only way things happen is if you make them happen.
A B: Does music run in your family?
Matt: Strangely enough, music does not run in my family. Well, that’s not entirely true my brother is a very talented guitarist and drummer and my aunt learned to play the piano for a bit. I guess that’s why my parents never really knew what to do with me, they just always encouraged me and let me do my thing!
A B: Pop Music, do you think it has a bad reputation? If you were in a fight for POP music give me your best argument.
Matt: Does Pop Music have a bad reputation? Well I guess it depends on who you’re talking too. I think for some people, Pop Music can be seen as more entertainment than as actual music. It’s kind of all on the surface. For me though, Pop Music has been the only real music that’s been able to capture how I truly feel about important things in life. I think that’s because I grew up listening to artists like Madonna and Michael Jackson who were fearless in addressing different issues of the day in their songs. Pop Music has also always been closely linked to dance and for me, dancing is like everything. Who doesn’t like to dance? So the fact that Pop Music can address important topics and still allow us to let go and enjoy ourselves, shows its true diversity and power.
A B: What was your first experience in front of a live crowd like? Did you pee yourself?
Matt: My first experience in front of a live crowd was exhilarating and nerve-wracking at the same time…it felt like I was going to pee myself!!! There is nothing like performing live and though sometimes I get extremely nervous, its the best part of being a musician. A big shout out to Will Clark and Pieces Bar in NYC which allowed me to perform my music live for the very first time – love you guys!
A B: Who were some of the first musicians you saw as a role models while growing up?
Matt: Besides listening to my Dad’s Whitney Houston CD over and over again, as a kid I kinda came late to the whole Pop Music thing. My family raised me Catholic, so a lot of my experience in music was done either in the church or through choir and musicals at school. It wasn’t until late middle school that I discovered my love for Pop Music and that of course was through Madonna. As soon as I saw her music video for “Cherish” it was done – I was obsessed with her. She embodies everything I want to be as an artist: fun and energetic, thoughtful and provocative, yet always bringing something new to the table. Thats what I hope to achieve someday.
A B: You are open about your love for Britney Spears. If you were to take her on a special date, describe how a perfect night would be.
Matt: Yes it’s true I love Britney Spears and I’m proud of it! If I were to take Britney on a special date??? Ok I think what I would do is first get our asses on a plane and fly to my hometown of Chicago. There is an AMAZING mexican restaurant by my high school called Nuevo Leon – I mean this place is amazing. After that we’d head back to my house and just sit at home and watch movies. LOL. For me that’s all I’d need…I mean it Britney Spears! Oh, and if for some reason she’s not in the mood for mexican, we’ll just grab some classic Chicago pizza to go 🙂
A B: What’s next on your musical plate?
Matt: I’m so excited you asked that because the next big thing for me and my music is my first ever music video! I’m still writing new songs and performing, but working on a video is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time so I’m thrilled to begin shooting in the next few weeks. It’s for my song “It’s Never Enough” and it will be shot in NYC. Be sure to keep an eye out for it in the next month or two…you know there’s going to be a cute guy involved!
A B: What do you think is lacking in the NYC music scene?
Matt: That’s a really hard question cause the NYC music is craaazy – so many talented people are out there making music. I think for me, I feel like there aren’t many people doing Pop Music who are openly gay and talking about love the way I see it. That’s really the whole reason I got into songwriting. I wanted to offer a perspective on love that I felt wasn’t being shown. Everyone can relate to love, regardless of your sexuality.
A B: Sex club or romantic dinner?
Matt: Wow talk about complete opposites. I’m going to have to go with romantic dinner just because I’m a complete and total hopeless romantic at heart. But don’t even think about handling the bill – thats all me!
A B: Was there a professional moment of your career so far that you are most proud of?
Matt: Well being at this particular place in my musical career, I’d have to say that the most important moment was uploading my songs to YouTube for the first time. I know that may sound insignificant but it takes so much strength and courage to actually decide to follow your dream. I have been wanting to do this for so long and for so many months my songs just sat on my harddrive…collecting virtual dust. Taking that first leap and believing that I’ll be able to make it, that was by far the most important step for me at this point in my career. It’s now or never baby.
A B: Sushi or a burger?
Matt: Oh man…ugh, I’m going to have to go with Sushi because I like never get Sushi and it is just so amazing. Sashimi in particular I can’t get enough of that!! But I’m sad about passing on that burger, I love burgers too!!
A B: First word that comes to mind when I say skin flute?
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Thanks for playing Matt!