Mateo is the newly signed R&B artist to Grammy Award winning, multi-platinum producer Kerry â€œKrucialâ€ Brothers new label Krucial Noise and has received a stamp of approval from Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, Goapele, Pusha T, and many more. His unique sound and unprecedented charm will make you an immediate fan of his music. I had the pleasure to speak with Mateo about his career, inspirations and authentic melodies, check inside for our exclusive interview with Mateo inside.
Mateo you have experience as a writer, what made you do the transition to actually being a musician?
Funny thing is I have sung my entire life and played the piano since I was 5 so when I decided I wanted to sing professionally I really just fell into songwriting. I write all of my songs so it just came naturally so it basically came after me singing more so than before. Writing was a way for me to get stuff off my chest and talk about what I seen around me.
You have such an authentic sound and I mean REAL R&B. I put you in the category with great singers like Tyrese and Neyo, that kind of soulful singing. Musically who inspired you growing up?
All the music I loved and the music that when you were riding in the car with your mom that she listened to from the old school stuff like Stevie Wonder and Donnie Hathaway up to Lauryn Hill and India Arie. Iâ€™m also a huge fan of alternative bands like Cold Play and U2 so a lot of that stuff comes into my music. Very soulful melodies, very much r&b in the melodic sense but you also have the organic piano underneath the guitar or some drums you might hear U2 or Kanye West do and that is how we merge it all together to create the sound.
How much creative control do you have over the sound?
I was blessed where I have full control over the sound and so even when I started out doing it on my own and putting my music on the internet I was getting feedback from regular people that went on MySpace at the time and they were giving me real responses to the sound I was putting out. I never had to navigate through â€œoh this A&R doesnâ€™t want you to do this soundâ€, I was able to discover it for myself. I was also lucky enough to team up with Krucial who is all about coming up with an original sound. Just think about what he did with Alicia Keys, they had a original sound and they stuck with it and they didnâ€™t chase radio and whatâ€™s popular they just did them and just tried to make great music. Thatâ€™s something that I appreciated so it just kind of worked out since then.
So was that your main reason for going with Krucial because Iâ€™m sure you had other labels knocking on your door?
Yes exactly that was my main reason. I knew the quality of music they put out and how they create music is different. Krucial and Alicia will ship in a vintage guitar from the 70s to the studio just for a sound and so when you go to that length to create the authenticity and make dope music thatâ€™s something that impresses me. I was use to recording in my bedroom studio so to go from that to a big studio and this great equipment and working with people that appreciate stuff like that it just increases your standards of music making.
You have such a large internet fan base; I saw on YouTube that you have hundreds of thousands of views on each video. What do you feel like itâ€™s about your music that fans are attracted to?
I always hope that people hear the authenticity of the music and hear something they never heard before. I want people to enjoy the artistry Iâ€™m trying to create, I do this for people to enjoy the conversation and to feel apart of it. I want to create something that has not been done before and to give them a refreshing sound.
The first single is â€œSay Its Soâ€, why did you all choose this single as the introduction to who is Mateo?
Funny thing is I wrote the song before I even signed to Krucial and Krucial just really liked the song and he wanted to produce it. He produced it and then played it for Alicia Keys and Swizz and they were excited about it so they jumped on to do some vocal arrangements and it just became one of those songs that felt like it could be a beginning song. This is this guy Mateo, this is the kind of music he does and it still felt authentic enough to put it out there.
Love & Stadiums comes out December 6th, who else is featured on the album?
We have the first single with Alicia and Swizz and I also have a song with Goapele. So those are the only features we have on this EP.
The ladies are going to want to know are you single and if so what does Mateo look for in a woman?
I am single. I look for confidence, thereâ€™s nothing sexier than a woman that is confident and knows what she wants and how to get it. A woman with goals and who is intellectual, thatâ€™s dope to me. If I can have a conversation and argue with you and you can argue back because there is nothing worse than a woman who is boring. A woman that keeps me interested and keeps it fun and doesnâ€™t take life too seriously but also knows the right time to take things seriously.
Whatâ€™s next for you? Are you interested in acting?
You never know, I can see me going into acting even though Iâ€™m not that confident (laughs). But I would definitely love to go down that road and I love clothing and fashion so maybe even going down that road also.
In the near future once everyone hops on the bandwagon, who else are you interested in working with?
People I love like Kanye. Me and Melanie Fiona have been talking about doing a song together. She actually said she heard my song on the radio which I havenâ€™t even heard yet but she heard it so weâ€™ve trying to link up and do a collab for a while now. Iâ€™m a huge fan of people like Adele or even if Lauryn Hill was working on her comeback album and said she didnâ€™t even want me to do a whole 16 but just 3 words I would do it (laughs).
Where can your fans reach you?
My twitter is @mateoonline, facebook.com/therealmateo and then mateoonline.com
If you had to describe yourself in three words what would those three words be?
Determined, Flawed, but Growing.
Thank you so much for taking the time out to speak with us Mateo we appreciate you so much!
No, thank you.
Please be on the lookout for Mateoâ€™s new EP Love & Stadiums when it hits stores on December 6th. For all our New York readers he will also be performing at SOBâ€™s in New York this weekend. â€œSay Its Soâ€ is currently available for download now on iTunes. Check his official video to` “Say Its So” below.
This interview was conducted by Shanteâ€™ Williams a 2011/2012Â Â intern.