It’s a classic tale of leaving the rat race in the dust. Faced with the glittering prospect of a career in finance, Matt Beilis made the choice to become a musician. Armed with his piano and starting from scratch, he began to promote himself and collaborate with other artists, developing an individual style along the way. Matt’s sound is cascading and infectious; the beat is unmistakably contemporary, but it’s his voice, warm and natural, that plays on your senses. Matt has written himself a success story, and it’s evident that he’s loving every word of it.
ANITA (HIGHLARK):You’ve managed to make a name for yourself in the music industry within a matter of years- what is the best way a musician can promote themselves today without relying completely on social media?
MATT BEILIS:Do work. Write, co-write, record, tour, and constantly try new things…new sounds, new instruments, new co-writers, new venues, new cities. See which options work out the best for you and then grow those.
ANITA: As you began devoting yourself to life as a musician, how did you deal with self- doubt? Did you develop any specific mantra or mindset?
MATT:Everyone deals with self-doubt at some point regardless of what you do for a living. But I don’t think it’s healthy to constantly worry about whether or not you’ll be the next big thing. Everyone wants to be successful and that’s a great thing! My mantra is that you’ll be most successful if you find what you love to do most, and do everything in your power to make that your life’s work.
ANITA: Do you think your university experience and original career plan was a necessary factor that led to your emergence as a professional musician, or could you have done without it? If you could go back, would you change anything?
MATT: I definitely wouldn’t take back the experience I had in college, and I do think it helped and continues to when it comes to business in general. It didn’t do much to help me on the actual music side nearly as much as piano lessons as a kid, having parents who highly valued music growing up, and generally busting my ass learning the craft in real time. I do think however, that having jobs in the “real world” opened my eyes to what I would be doing if I didn’t pursue what I loved, and there’s no question that lit a fire under my ass.
ANITA: What is your songwriting process like, lyrically and instrumentally? Are there specific subjects or themes you find yourself gravitating towards when writing a song?
MATT:In terms of the process, there really is no process. The scariest thing in the world is when you’re about to start a new song. It’s the audio equivalent of staring at a blank page. Sometimes I start with music, sometimes with a concept, sometimes a vibe. You just have to literally play and have fun until you come up with something that moves you. Love, loss, and dreams are all relatable subjects and move everyone in some way, so those tend to be frequent topics.
ANITA: What’s being on tour like for you? Is it all you had hoped for a few years back, or are there disappointments you’ve had to come to terms with?
MATT:I love touring. I love that I can make a living traveling around the country playing music for fans. There are always bumps in the road (or turbulence in the air, which I am not good at), like getting a cold and missing a show, or realizing that you’re booked at the other Holiday Inn 40 miles that way, but I have perspective and I know that my job is to have fun and help others have fun, so I chalk it up to the cost of doing business.
ANITA: What is one artist, dead or alive, you would’ve loved to see in concert?
MATT:I would have loved to see CCR. I love their music. It’s like every song of theirs was a hit.
ANITA:How do you feel when you categorize your music into a particular genre? Does it feel at all limiting to put labels on yourself as an artist?
MATT:I think it’s necessary to categorize music into genres. I also don’t think genres apply to people, they apply to songs, so it’s not limiting to me as an artist, because I am not a genre, my songs are…and they’re different genres at that. My sound is definitely on the pop / rock spectrum but there’s no question that some lean toward R&B, and some toward rock. I’ve also produced straight hip-hop tracks for big artists, so my songs might be labelled, but I’m label…less.
ANITA: Do you feel like you’ve ”made it”?
MATT:To me “making it” is being able to do what I love. So definitely.
ANITA: Do you have any particular projects or appearances coming up that you’re especially excited about?
MATT: I’m always working on tons of projects, but I’m incredibly excited for the two new music videos I’m filming this fall, which I’ll be dropping early 2016. And, I’m also gearing up for a national fall tour and some international touring in the spring – all my info and show dates are at www.MattBeilis.com.