I had the pleasure of interviewing (Matt Westin, MTS Records recording artist who released his critically acclaimed debut album worldwide on January 29th 2018)
- Yitzi: What is your “backstory”? (If you share an inspirational or aspirational backstory, we will be able to publish this interview in Thrive Global as well)
I was born and raised in a blue collar family in a middle class suburb of Pittsburgh, PA. I fell in love with music as a very young kid, playing multiple musical instruments in grade school. But it wasn’t until college that I found my true passion for singing. Working as an engineer, I was desperately unfulfilled, spending my days in a tiny cubicle behind a computer screen. I lost my job after 5 years and I decided I just couldn’t go back to that life. I had to follow my heart and my artistic side if I was ever going to be happy. So, after moving on from engineering, I found some level of fulfillment in pursuing acting. Unfortunately, my time in Los Angeles was cut short due to my father’s untimely death. Watching my father suffer and die from cancer nearly destroyed me, down to my core, and has undoubtedly forever changed me as a person. I was deeply depressed, angry, and hard to be around. Everyone was worried about me self-destructing, including myself. I knew I had to rebuild myself from scratch and decide who this shell of a man was going to be now that life is so different. God, family, and music are what kept me going, and once I got up off the floor, I just knew in my heart and soul that I had to honor my father with my passion for singing, which he had always encouraged. Looking back, music has helped me get through many difficult times in my life. It’s a release for me, and it affects me emotionally and spiritually unlike almost anything else. I may have explored a lot of paths over the years, but I think that’s what has made me who I am as a man and an artist today, so I wouldn’t change it.
- Yitzi: Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your music career? I can’t think of anything!
- Yitzi: What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
At the moment, I’m focusing on promoting my debut album Legacy and getting my band ready to play far and wide. There’s a lot of work after the recording is finished and the record is released! But I am also writing and getting ideas flowing for my second album, which I’ll begin working on hopefully by the end of summer.
- Yitzi: Who are some of the most famous people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I’ve met and worked with some famous people through acting and living in LA for a while. My favorite was probably when Danny Trejo shared his lunch with me on the set of a Slayer music video we worked on. He is a genuine friendly and nice guy, basically the complete opposite of the crazy violent characters he’s known for portraying.
- Yitzi: Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
The brilliant, hardworking people who built this country, the people who fought for our independence, the people who pushed west and risked their lives at a chance to build a life for themselves and for the future, the pioneers of our country inspire me. I can’t imagine enduring those hardships. These people, against all odds, created this incredible country we have been blessed to live in for over two centuries.
- Yitzi: Who do you aspire to be like one day?
I just want to be me. Don’t get me wrong. I have a lot of influences and people I look up to, but I just want to be the best that I can be as a man and as an artist. I feel strongly that it’s important to stay true to oneself, because we are all unique and we only get one shot at this life. I don’t want to waste my time trying to be someone I’m not. And I believe that I can do the most good in this world if I stay true to myself.
- Yitzi: How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I hope that my music affects people on a deeper level than just the pleasure of listening. Music inspires, comforts, entertains, speaks to the heart, and sometimes teaches lessons that stick with people. But if I’m blessed enough to find success in this industry, I want to use my success to help animals and children in need. These two things have always been close to my heart.
- Yitzi: What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
Well, “Legacy” is my debut album, and I’ve learned a lot in the process, but I’m still learning all the time. I would tell someone starting out to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons, stay true to yourself, surround yourself with good people who believe in you, and take some risks. I was blessed to be introduced to my amazing producer Bryan Cole, who’s become a great friend and mentor. He believed in me, coached me, connected me with the right people, and with lots of hard work, we created an amazing album.
- Yitzi: I have been blessed with the opportunity to interview and be in touch with some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this.
I’ve been following an entrepreneur, author, and speaker/vlogger named Gary Vaynerchuck for a while now. I love his message, his drive, and his genuine love for people. He may not be in the music industry, but he’s very interesting and the kind of guy you’d want on your side.
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If you would like to see the entire “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me” Series In Huffpost, ThriveGlobal, and Buzzfeed, click HERE.