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Meet Mato Wayuhi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mato Wayuhi.

Mato, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I began performing music in elementary school; I would freestyle rap the student council announcements to my fourth-grade classmates. They were so confused and put off haha.

These sporadic musical performances continued throughout childhood (I rapped “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z for my sixth-grade talent show), and around 14 I started writing original lyrics. From then on, the aspects of my craft grew naturally until I felt comfortable recording and producing my own music.

Since then, it’s been constant. I owe everything to those whom I first explored chords with. We felt unstoppable tracking our vocals with a Rock Band USB microphone for the first time. Still the most fun I’ve ever had making music. We were so primitive and free. Shoutout to Fuad and Mason!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There have definitely been more losses than wins, but I’d assume that’s the case for most crafts. Some untimely deaths, which honestly reinstitute my mission and goals as an artist. Dealing with rejection is not easy. You build resilience, but the notion of your work being inadequate in any capacity is tough for me to accept.

But in a lot of ways, it’s also been a smooth road. South Dakota had a very welcoming rap community back in the day, and there were multiple artists who saw something in me. I also do my best to practice self-awareness, especially as a non-Black artist appropriating hip hop music. It’s about being cognizant of the privileges I have and navigating these art forms with the utmost respect and pointed intention.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I’m a Native American artist who specializes in exciting, groovy ass music in hopes of inspiring others to fully embrace their own cultures and identities with confidence and style. I set myself apart from others through my skill level, attention to detail, and unmatched energy on stage and in the booth.

I’m proud of all the mega-talented artists I’ve been grateful enough to collaborate with since this journey began, as well as my powerful family who raised me, chewing my ass out when warranted. I’m just shreds of who has helped put me together! There’s no me without them.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Off the top, I can think of my brother Mr. Mike Bolds, a lauded hip hop historian who has provided a breadth of wisdom and criticism throughout my career. My nieces for letting me write them personalized songs for birthdays that are featured on their annual mixtapes.

Thank you to my baby nephew for just… being — both of my sisters for influencing my musical taste. I was an absorbent little boy and cherished nearly every genre they exposed me to. My mom and dad for several reasons. Shoutout conception.

All of my family in South Dakota. Lakota support and teasing are both next level. My beautiful band Treehorse. I’m sure you already heard but our guitarist Mikey Lasusa is single (IG is @mikeylasusa). Lastly, thank you to all those who consistently doubt us! We know who you are, lil’ stank ones haha. Please keep doing so, it’s helping us grow.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photos by Tekpatl Kuauhtzin and Cailyn Schreurs

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