The MattDanHart Experience
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The MattDanHart Experience

Brooklyn, New York, United States

Brooklyn, New York, United States
Band Rock Funk


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Matthew Hartnett: A Houstonian in the Big City"

Classically trained trombonist Matthew Hartnett is barely 27-years-old, but he plays amongst legends. Every Monday night, music lovers, aspiring musicians and chart-toppers alike assemble at New York City’s Village Underground to hear him add his touch to the horn section sound of Hot Chocolate, the house band. The band backs R&B singer Cheryl “Pepsii” Riley, the voice behind the number one song on the 1988 US R&B charts, “Thanks for My Child.” Riley came from an era in music when a song’s video was as important, if not more, than the song itself. She was a regular presence on early video shows such as “Video Soul,” BET’s video countdown show, which was one of the first televised video shows and the primary source for music lovers to hear and see the latest R&B hits.

The story of how Hartnett left Houston and ended up in New York City is an act of destiny. After he graduated from Houston’s Texas Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in music, he was booked to play in a major tour, but when the tour didn’t pan out, he decided to move to New York.

“I told myself to just move. I couldn’t just sit around and wait for someone to pick me up and take me on the road. You have to go where it’s at, so I decided to come here,” explains Hartnett.

The details of how he scored the gig at the Village Underground are also a matter of destiny. At the suggestion of friends who were familiar with the New York music scene, Hartnett just showed up to the popular spot, his horn in tow, and stood in the audience. That was when he received the look—-a well-known and understood gesture among musicians, which says, ‘Come play with us.’ Coincidentally, the saxophone player, also the horn section leader, Ezra Brown, was playing on tour. The band thought he had sent Hartnett to fill in for him, but in actually, the two had never met each other. It turns out that the saxophonist would be absent for weeks and by the time he returned, Hartnett was already a member of Hot Chocolate.

When Brown returned to the band, he resumed his role as section leader which also meant that for the first time, Hartnett had to take on the role of learner instead of leader. Brown taught Hartnett just how Hot Chocolate’s horn section played and Hartnett was a quick study.

“[When Ezra returned] I came with a new, fresh mind set. I had to understand the business side of music. It felt good to sit in the learner’s seat.”

Even after playing with the band for about four months, he knew nothing of Cheryl “Pepsii” Riley success until he took a trip back home to Houston, Texas where an aunt asked him if he ‘”really played with Cheryl “Pepsii” Riley.” Although he answered affirmatively, his aunt’s disbelief still did not tip him off to the significance of the opportunity to play with a singer “who had albums” as Hartnett put it. It wasn’t until he had been playing with the band for nine months that he looked her up on the Internet and really understood who she was. Then, he saw her mentioned in an episode of TV One’s “Unsung,” a show which tells the story of musicians who reached a level of prominence in their careers, but who did not always receive the recognition they were due.

When discussing his own backstory, Hartnett’s refers to it as “interesting.”

“I had this best friend named Christine Nguyen. We decided to join band together. I also had a babysitter who used to practice her clarinet when she babysat me. I used to pick it up and play it.”

When he and Christine went to the band auditions, Hartnett noticed that he was the only boy in the clarinet section. He then decided, with the permission of his band instructor, to join the brass section. Luckily, his parents hadn’t purchased an instrument yet, so he was able to switch with no problem.

Shortly before beginning middle school, his private lesson instructor passed on his trombone to Hartnett and from that point on, everything else in Hartnett’s life took a back seat. Even playing playing basketball with his friends only happened on Saturdays. Hartnett was hooked and the first brick on the road to becoming a professional musician was laid.

By the time he entered high school, he was “that dude” in his school district, beating out older student musicians and playing the most difficult parts. Fast forward six years and we’re back at Hartnett’s move to the City.

Hartnett’s family was not always in favor of his move and during some difficult times, he experienced a few “starving artist” moments.

“When I came here, I was in the studio sometimes 20 hours a day. I had to get used to not sleeping.”

Thankfully, sacrificing his sleep at times has paid off. Hartnett has played with legendary musicians including Fred Thomas, James Brown’s bass player and gospel singer Beau Williams. He has also performed at the Stellar Awards, gospel music’s Grammys. Harnett’s experience qualifies him to advise newbie musicians, encouraging them to keep trying.

“Almost every artist who moves here has a hard time when they reach around that one year mark. You run out of money and things aren’t working out the way you wanted them to. You can decide to go home or push through. The ones who decide to push through usually end up making it,” he says,

“I remember running out of money and “fasting when I didn’t want to fast.”

He credits more established musicians with encouraging him to hang on and hang in there. They told him to keep looking for gigs, to keep auditioning and to keep showing up at venues where musicians were looking for a big break, and that’s just what he did.

“It used to make me mad when they used to say that, but that really is the key. If you’re not seeing any results, keep hustling because it does happen.”

Now, Hartnett also has positive memories to go along with the not-so-good memories. He remembers around his one year mark, when he had money, had just moved into his apartment and he had just met his girlfriend. It was summer, he was in love and feeling good. It’s been all up hill for him since making it past that one mark.

You can find him playing in #teamhornsection every Monday at The Village Underground with a smile on his face, a good night’s sleep and love [for his trombone] in his heart. - Kim Greene

"Rated Next Matthew Hartnett"

A Lake Charles, Louisiana native raised in Houston, Texas. He choose trombone is 6th grade after signing up for clarinet and realizing only girls were in that class at his intermediate school. Ever since he has won competition after competition in the classical music. Matthew Hartnett chose to attend Texas Southern University, where he was introduced to Jazz by professor Howard Harris in 2004. Standing on the shoulders of giants that studied in the same room he rehearsed in daily at TSU, such as Horace Alexander Young, Kirk Whalum, Joe Sample, Wayne Henderson, The Jazz Crusaders, Barry Lee Hall, Frank Lacy and so many more, Matthew dove head first into the study of the jazz language.

After a year of him studying the music, Matthew was on the Houston music scene. While only 19 yrs. old he went on to play with Bo williams on his last album, Kirk Franklin, Joey Oscar, Rick Marcel, and more. He also has shared the stage with friend and mentor, Andre Hayward, who also went to TSU, Joe Sample, Kyle Turner, and others.

As he became more popular in the R&B and Funk world, Matthew decided to create his own Funk and Jazz fused grouper. At the time the members were not consistent, and Matthew had to grab who he could to make the gigs happen. He started to call the group the XFactor because aside from himself, no one knew who would be on the stage the night of the gig. Before leaving Houston the group became solid with Quincy Cole on Key Bass, Organ, an Clavinett. Willie Smith a long time friend and mentor was the drummer. B! was his guitarist, and Randal Cook and cousin Wesley Livingston joined the horn section. Matthew soon felt the need to go to NYC after a very big tour fell through for him in Houston.

Now he has rebuilt his band, XFactor in New York. He also has a small music production company called Family Music Group. He produces hip hop, r&B, and pop music for different local artist. He is currently working around the city, playing with different groups including his own. He has an album project titled the “The mattDANhart Experience” is do to release 2011.

- See more at: - Alwayz Therro


Still working on that hot first release.



Hailing from Houston Texas with roots in Lake Charles Lousiana, Matthew Hartnett brings his musical perspective to you from the most sincere place of his heart. With one of a kind style, Matthew has graced the stage with artist such as Kirk Franklin and Talib Kweli. Usually you can find him leading #TeamHornSection out of New York City, however Matthew Hartnett is now telling his story from center stage with his new album, "Southern Comfort.

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