Today we’d like to introduce you to Matt Suarez.
Hi Matt, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My name is Matt Suarez, singer songwriter/content creator. I was born in San Bernardino, CA but was raised in the Imperial Valley in Niland, CA. Although I’m from California, both my parents are from Buffalo, NY, So my Upbringing had a very east coast vibe to it.
I didn’t start playing music until I was 17 and freshly graduated from high school, I got a late start sorta speak but I’ve always been around great music. Although his career was over before I was born, my father Louis Suarez sang professionally for 28 years. So needless to say, my house was very cultured. He had a collection of 5,000+ 45 inch records that I had heard every inch of as a child. He and my mother grew up during the 40’s & 50’s during the height of Motown and other classic eras of music. My father grew up singing Doo Wop underneath the street lights with his friends, which later turned into careers in music, because of those things my house always had singing involved in it. I started playing music right after high school and three months into it my oldest brother Louie passed away in a car accident, this turned playing into an outlet. I simply couldn’t put the guitar down, it consumed me.
So Within the first year of learning an instrument (Guitar), I performed my first show with my first band which led to more bands and shows naturally. Within two years I had a regular Friday (or Saturday) top 40 band that I wrote original music with as well, we were a house band for a local bad for almost three years. I used that gig to fund driving from four hours away to LA weekly to perform on the strip for years, which eventually led to a contracted monthly gig at BB King’s Blues Club on Universal City Walk(it’s a shame that club is gone now). One day a few years later my day job(s) failed me and told me the infamous words “your services are no longer needed.”…What music to my ears that was considering I had two weekly regular gigs where I made a substantial living at the time. That was the last day I had a day job and music was my full time career, it’s been almost 15 years of a full-time music career to this day and counting.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
The long and short is, I don’t believe a career in music could ever be a “smooth” journey. Mine sure wasn’t. From the endless miles to sleeping in cars or under park trees.. on benches, to the never ending rotation of couches amazing supportive friends owned… that’s just one side of it all. The last four years in particular have been a wild rollercoaster to say the least…
Four years ago my father started to show signs of being sick, that led to a solid year of taking care of my father as he passed away, to being responsible for my mother. That left me trying to get her into a better living situation for her and myself so I could be there for her properly. It eventually lead me to buying a new home in Washington for her and I, getting the keys to the home Jan. 1st 2020, paying my first mortgage payment March 1st 2020, and than COVID hit. To watch your life’s work be eliminated overnight while being a new home owner with a 78yr old mother to take care of as a full-time musician with no foreseeable future it’s a wild ride of emotions and hardships I could’ve never expected. Because the arts are the first thing everyone leans on in times of destitute I felt like my obligation in this all was very clear to continue to put my art out there to help others and also to help myself. It’s all I have focused on and built over the last 22yrs, so it was imperative to try and continue to make some sort of living from it.. But as we all know at this point, it’s the last thing to be nurtured due to being “not essential” by our governing bodies….boy…did that create some obstacles to overcome. So I guess it’s been anything but “smooth”.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Honestly, during this pandemic I’ve been thinking a lot about that question “what do you do?” and what my strengths really are. I’ve found that I used to think guitar or my singing, writing, networking, content creating, etc. was some of my strengths to choose from as an answer. What I’ve learned it that my greatest strength or attribute is “Surviving”, this life isn’t an easy one but somehow I continuously find a way to evolve and or to make the best out of situations to make it through to a better place. I guess a second choice answer would be the simple answer, that I play guitar mainly and singing is probably my stronger asset of the two.
As far as standing out, I’m not sure what sets me apart from “the others” but what I do know is that I didn’t know of many full-time working musicians and during the pandemic, I was the only musician in the country that I know of that had work. I can’t speak for why others didn’t have work but I can speak for why I did have work, it was solely founded in the relationships I cultivate when I perform for a venue. I care, it’s not just a paycheck and I very much want them to do well along with myself. I truly do, and I feel they know that. So when time’s get tough, I get that phone call. I’m forever grateful for that during this last pandemic year. If your intentions aren’t based in cultivating strong and meaningful relationships and instead based in just “picking up a paycheck”, than that doesn’t accomplish much for longevity in this world.
We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
I’ve learned to simply believing in my abilities as an artist and human mainly but being able to adapt and expand your knowledge of technology is crucial at this point. Essentially it’s a “be better or go work at Home Depot” kind of situation for artists across the board. (not that it’s bad to work at Home Depot, I used to ahah)
A big key of that growth has been learning video production and sound engineering for the immediate purpose of being able to “live stream” music for the masses since it’s “illegal” to perform live in crowds right now. I’ve found an awesome “home” sort of speak steaming live Thursday’s through Monday’son https://m.twitch.tv/mattsuarezmusic at 9pm pst.
- Website: Mattsuarezmusic.com
- Instagram: Mattsuarezmusic
- Facebook: Mattsuarezmusic
- Twitter: Mattsuarezmusic
- Youtube: Mattsuarezmusic
Photographer for the black and white photos is Jeremy Best.