Matty Powell
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Matty Powell

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Young Musician Takes Unique Approach to Life


May. 9, 2003

Matty Powell and his music post a simple message for Torontonians on the go: slow down, relax, smile and enjoy life. And with his soothing and smooth folk-pop riffs, the 21-year-old musician delivers a promising antidote.

"What if you had a really crappy day at work and you're coming home and you hear someone sitting in the subway playing a song that you really like?" asked Powell. "It's going to make you smile. It's going to make you happy, so I (make music) for that."

The Winnipeg native hopped on a bus two years ago to move to High Park - his little spot of nature in a big strange city - with nothing but his guitar and a backpack. Initially, his plans were to pursue an acting career, but when he picked up his second acoustic guitar nearly six months ago, Powell rediscovered his passion for music.

It's not fame he desires but rather the satisfaction that comes with his audience identifying with or simply enjoying his musical creations.

"I want to be able to make a living off my music and affect people how music has affected me. I want people to sit in their rooms listening to my records, having them be a part of their lives."

Powell admits he doesn't yet have the cash to make a record professionally, but he recently purchased a digital recorder to make his own CDs to sell at shows. His name and music are rapidly growing familiar in local cafÈs and bars. Along with the astounding covers of Dave Matthews and Van Morrison tunes, Powell penned 20 of his own songs to play for his audiences.

Right now you can see him and drummer Chris O'Connor every Wednesday at the Java Nook. Powell befriended O'Connor at last year's Junction Arts Festival and was pleasantly surprised by his strength in playing quietly.

"It's very rare to meet a drummer who knows that it's important to keep a subtle beat. He's a really fantastic drummer, always standing behind me. Well, sitting behind me," Powell quips with a toothy grin.

Influenced by Ani Di Franco, the Beatles and Dave Matthews, Powell shouldn't be surprised at the positive response he's getting. But he is blown away by the numbers of people who come out to see him play, particularly because Powell knows that he is still in the early stages of his music career and still has plenty to learn about himself and his music.

So if you see a sandy blonde, '70s grunge looker leaning against the dirt-caked walls in the subway, stop rushing and take the time to stop and listen. After all, rushing hasn't lately brought much good for Powell.

"All I want to be able to do is not work somewhere where I'd be able to burn my hand," he said, holding out his bandaged palm and wrist. Powell works part-time at a cafÈ in an Indigo superstore and burned his left hand while making a grilled cheese sandwich for a customer. He had a gig set up a couple days later and played without complaint.

"You gotta fight though the pain for the rock and roll." - Christine Atkinson


Discography

Matty Powell - What We Could Be [EP]:

1) Wake Up
2) Country Song (Nothing Left)
3) What We Could Be
4) Hold Me Down
5) Smile
6) Nothing Better
7) Late Night TV

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

"What life means to me: A simple three chord song."

Though his songwriting is anything but simple, Matty Powell's music reflects the beauty in life's simplicities that are often overlooked. Shaped by his Prairie upbringing- being born in Saskatoon and raised in Winnipeg- this twenty one year old still has the curiosity and passion of his childhood. This is what makes his live performance unlike any other. He holds nothing back and involves the audience in every aspect. Thrilling to watch, when he is on stage, it's obvious that that is exactly where he wants to be.

In the fall of 2001, led by ambition and a love of adventure, Matty boarded a Greyhound bus headed to Canada's city of dreams: Toronto. Two years later, Matty's music and fan base has flourished and he continues to write and perform new songs regularly. Whether at local coffee shops and bars, or at arts festivals and on street corners, Matty seizes every opportunity to pick up his guitar. "I write songs because I think they play an important role in all our lives," Matty says. "The best complement I can get is that one of my songs has helped someone deal with a situation in their life."

Matty Powell loves performing and playing his music more than anything else. It was no surprise that he started a career in acting at the age of twelve and then moved on to star in commercials, films and theatre productions in Toronto and Winnipeg. Most recently, he's been featured in a CBC television series called SpyNet; a theatrical production of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and in a Public Service Announcement for MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). Though lately, most of his focus has been on writing and performing his music.

Matty's attitude about his career matches his attitude about his life Not taking things too seriously, but realizing the importance of caring about people and the world he lives in. This is why he has decided to make his musical career an individual pursuit. Though he's been approached by managers and other industry professionals, he won't sacrifice what is most important to him: music. This is what makes this young songwriter a force to reckon with, reminiscent of the groundbreaking folk artists of the sixties, He proudly holds his ideals and writes about a world waiting for change and the people living in it. Matty Powell is definitely going to be one of those unforgettable Canadian artists whose music is timeless and reaches out to the masses.