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Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States
Band R&B World


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Still working on that hot first release.



When MATEO walks onstage, sits at his piano and starts one of his heartfelt songs it's clear that this is an artist on a mission. It's no coincidence that Mateo lists Lauryn Hill, India.Arie, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Justin Timberlake, and Robin Thicke as influences but he's also quick to give a nod to alternative acts such as Radiohead, Coldplay, Daft Punk and Kanye West. “Everything is merging together, and I like that in my music; a mixture rather than one flavor only; R&B/Pop/Alternative/Soul—Urban Mod—if you want to pick a new genre."

Mostly recorded in a humble apartment studio in Los Angeles, MATEO’s upcoming album artfully avoids the assembly line of modern pop music by having thoughtful lyricism and sweeping melodies at its core. The first single, “Complicated" is an example of that, with its introspective and honest description an unintended love affair that is now reaching critical mass.

A graduate of the prestigious Morehouse College in Atlanta, with degrees in music and marketing, MATEO almost abandoned plans for a music career for the steady, but soulfully dry world of finance. MATEO explains, “I was on track to do the business thing, interning at American Express, spent time in New York, graduated and got a job at a consulting firm. It was a cushy job, but I hated every minute of it.” Interestingly, while in college, MATEO applied for an intern position at Boston Consulting Group, which oversees business trends. He was interviewed by none other than John Legend, who was also a consultant prior to launching his own career in music. “I didn’t get the internship, but looking back, it was kind of funny that John was also a consultant,” MATEO laughs.

MATEO felt if he wanted to realize his potential, he would have to dive head-first into music. With the decision made, MATEO’s career began to take shape at a rapid pace. He found a studio in Brooklyn, where he scratched out ideas for songs, and then met Jae Staxx, a producer from Philadelphia who was about to leave for Los Angeles to work on rapper/actress Eve’s new television show. Staxx invited MATEO to join him. Seizing the moment, MATEO quit his consulting job and hopped a plane to Los Angeles in 2005. “It was one of those things that this was a chance, an opportunity. I didn’t want to be one of those people that had regrets of woulda, shoulda, coulda…”

Mateo wrote music for “Eve” until mid-2006. A close friend pushed him to go even further with his music. “He said, ‘Yo, you need to do a live show, but I was scared to death of live shows", MATEO explains. “Performing in front of people, I was like, ‘man, what if I suck?” After getting up the nerve, MATEO held his first live show at the trendy Hotel Café in Hollywood. It went off far better than Mateo could have imagined, and he realized his fears were unfounded. “That was when I got the fever. I was like, Man, this is good; this is fun!” Encouraged, MATEO posted his first song, “Human,” on his MySpace page, which attracted thousands of fans, over 200,000 plays and led to requests for more shows. “The responses from MySpace really brought it home that I should continue; that I’m doing something right.”

An encounter at a show with CSI New York actor Hill Harper led to a meeting with Harper’s friend, former MTV VJ, Quddus Philippe. Philippe is currently an A&R consultant for MySpace Records and was instrumental in signing MATEO to the label in June, 2008. “I came in for a meeting, and I just liked the feeling, the vibe of it better than other labels I had gone to. It felt like they have my back.” MATEO also appreciated the freedom MySpace allowed him to develop, musically. "R&B music has turned more into head-bop music; hip-hop beats over hip-hop loops. I want to bring R&B music back to where people actually have some type of emotion when they listen to my music. I want them to feel that not only is it my story, but their story as well; that they identify with it, and will be able to recall the song ten years from now.”

MATEO is doing what came naturally. His father, Roy Gartrell, played guitar with his mom – MATEO’s grandmother – vocalist Kitty Gartrell. And his grandfather, Freddy Jordan, played guitar on Charles Brown’s classic “Home for Christmas,” but his major claim to fame was being a studio musician at Kings Records where he played for the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.

On his down time, MATEO follows American politics. He sang at several Barack Obama 2008 rallies in Los Angeles and attended the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. He is also style savvy and can be found playing spur of the moment acoustic showroom shows around Hollywood. He is aware that artists need to be involved in all aspects of there careers. “In this day and age, you can’t be the dumb artist; you’ll get stepped on." MATEO is an artist committed to making art that matters. "Any song can change you either in a positive or a negative way. I just want people to change in a positi