December 6, 2021 - By Marc Vezzi
The singer from Pennsylvania talks about giving up his engineering career and his passion for music. His starring film, 116 MacDougal, will be released soon.
How this episode started.
Good morning everyone!
We begin this new episode with Marco making a confession: “I love myself in front of the camera!”
We appreciate the sincerity and authenticity of our two Italians abroad!
Marco introduces this show that is completely different from Between 2 Italians. Marco and Erica #talkshow will be so innovative and new that compared to the previous one of different presents only the name, think!
Even Marco’s jokes, those scandalous and embarrassing lines are the same!
Erica: “The same as when we first met 10 years ago!”
So much so that she cries every day, even more so, with the lockdown with Marco!
Guest and focus of today’s episode.
Today a special guest, a country singer. He has also been cast in a film to be released in 2022, 116 MacDougal.
But he’s mostly a singer. Marco: “And he’s a country singer, so he doesn’t sing in town but out of town!” Okay, Marco! As Erica reminds us, Marco shares with Matt that he gave up a thriving career to have wanted to pursue what they really liked doing.
And so ours will mostly ask him if this life is as relaxing as it is in the country videos and songs. And in addition to highlighting his career so far and projects, they’ll get into the depths of his being, present his thoughts, his aspirations, what he’s like as a person. They’ll talk about how he left the engineering field to follow the path in which he was cheered on by his dad. He’ll talk about how his friends saw this choice he made. And he’ll introduce his new single. All of this will take place between Marco’s bad jokes, a few exercises to develop the tones of his voice and poor Erica being reprimanded as she tries to make herself understood (Marcoooo!!!). We were forgetting, we get to find out her true origins! Unmissable!
Here, then, is Matt Westin!
The story (short version) of Matt’s life: searching for his own way.
Right away a stark question for Matt: “Do you love yourself?”
Yes, he tries to love himself. He likes to eat healthily and work out every moment and make his hair look good. So he works out but a lot of other things like lifting heavy objects, and not just the keyboard Marco!
Marco: “Do you think the gym is a good place for couples too?” Sure!
Erica: “Thanks for the honesty, we need it!”
Matt is connected from where he was born and raised, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the northeastern US.
Marco mistakenly understands that the temperature at Matt’s is about 70 degrees… Marco!
Marco: “I thought you were melting….. Great stamina!”
Despite having 5 hours to tell us his story, Matt decided to give us the short version of his story.
In fact, he started playing and singing professionally only a few years ago.
He first earned two engineering degrees.
But then he realized he had made a mistake.
Although at first it seemed interesting and his field then he realized that it was not his way. He worked as an engineer for a while, but after trying, he realized he needed something else.
So he started working as an actor in Los Angeles.
Then suddenly his father fell ill and died, so much so that the day he was interviewed by Marco and Erica was the anniversary of his death.
Completely devastated, he returned to Pittsburgh. He had a special bond with his dad, he was his hero.
He returned to his hometown, depressed for months, until he found something that would restore meaning to his life. It occurred to him that he could honour the memory of his beloved dad by dedicating an album to him and pursuing a career in music. His dad really loved his singing and had always encouraged him in that.
And that was important for his growth process, to choose the path that really suited him best.
Music practice in Matt’s life.
For music, he hasn’t been able to travel as much yet, partly because of the pandemic.
Marco: “Really, what happened?”
And so far he’s been travelling just for the sake of travelling, because he liked doing it that way.
His inspiration, despite being a country singer, was Frank Sinatra. New Yooooooork, New Yoooooooork!
And at the boarding school, he attended he tried to imitate Sinatra but they rejected him. Marco: “They beat you up! Horrible.”
He then refers to Toby Keith, Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash.
And to improve himself he doesn’t divide himself in two, Marco, and discuss between the two selves! He tries to emulate the sound he wants to reproduce and works on it, practicing slowly brings you results. Which you can then reproduce immediately when you perform.
That’s the engineer’s mind contributing to an artist’s career.
Marco: “It’s a gift of birth to be smart! I hate myself.”
Erica: “Now you’re two in front of me!”
Marco: “We have to say we’re sorry to the rest of the world!”
They call him a baritone. But Matt can’t confirm it: he can interpret Cash’s songs but also go higher than the American could.
And he sings Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues live, awesome!
His voice allows him to sing in a very deep way. And this is also thanks to his “coaches” on the set of the film in which he is acting and singing this song.
Marco suggests that we all do an exercise together: expand the range of Erica’s voice. “Erica goes really high when she’s angry, she smashes the glass. These are the only ones saved (picks up the glass). Let’s do an exercise!”
You will then see our people with a pen in their mouths trying to push their voice up until they feel it in their foreheads, and then memorize the level they have reached.
Marco: “We are here to entertain our own sanity, not someone else’s!”
Matt is very happy to meet new people.
Marco: “But you want to put that between ‘new people’ and ‘Marco and Erica’?
Will you tell who you find that you met these two Marco and Erica and wanted to be friends with them?”
Matt: “The best people I’ve ever met, ever!”
The Johnny Cash of 116 MacDougal.
However, let’s go into more detail about the film in which he will play Johnny Cash, 116 MacDougal.
For years Matt has been working as an actor. Specifically, for an independent production company that makes small films, mostly horror. Just a girl they had worked with here in the past recommended him for this role.
The title refers to the address of “The Gaslight,” a coffee shop in New York’s Greenwich Village where hustler and womanizer owner John Mitchell hosted unknown folk musicians and Beat writers. Bob Dylan used to come here when he was 18-19 years old to compose his songs. So did others such as Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary, Tom Paxton, Dave VanRonk, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. The owner protected them from the police, the mafia, the local government, who wanted to prevent them from becoming icons of the counter culture. They were in fact seen as a threat.
A representation, then, from the stories of the survivors, of a piece of American history and American music.
Among these folk musicians it turned out was Johnny Cash. And for his role, our Matt was contacted at the suggestion of this co-worker of his.
He was half-drunk at a mid-summer family BBQ when the call came to him.
But he had just recorded some blues songs so he sent them in.
“Within a few hours it was unanimous: I got into Cash and was the only person in the audition.”
Marco: “Applause at having opportunities without competition!”
Soon they hope to start filming because they have had to close already due to the arrival of the pandemic and now restrictions pose difficulties for a cast that comes from different parts of the country to find themselves working.
The first album in honor of his father.
Matt released his latest single Thin Blue Line recently. We left off earlier about him deciding to pursue a career in music in honour of his father.
Indeed through a mutual friend, he was introduced to the world-renowned musician, songwriter, and producer Bryan Cole, who liked his voice.
Cole brought him into Tonic Recording Studios and in 2018 his debut album, Legacy, was released in honour of his father.
Connections, who you know, contacts often make all the difference.
Earning support from friends.
Marco: “Do your friends support you or not?”
Complicated question. Many did not, they thought he was crazy to want to abandon a flourishing career and a path that had led him to 2 degrees.
But he took risks and fought.
In the background is a painting of his girlfriend’s best friend.
Matt has this girlfriend who doesn’t sing with him except for some karaoke and who is a dye specialist. She does his hair.
Marco: “Don’t talk to me about haircuts, these are long!
And my colour is blonde 8, what’s yours?”
Matt: “I don’t know! Now everyone knows that you are dyed!”
Marco: “You didn’t know that Erica?”
Marco: “A shock!”
Back to friends, Matt’s life is challenging, but he prefers it to his previous one because it really makes him happy.
And pursuing his happiness has made even the most sceptical of his friends change their minds. Now everyone supports him.
They recognise his contentment and his talent. And also the courage to have pursued his dream.
Marco: ‘I feel the same way. Both of us, Erica and I, chose other paths.
Erica was a prime minister.
She preferred to be a troubled artist!
I was the owner of 4 companies in Russia, Philippines and Italy and I was making billions and I left for that!”
Matt felt that as an engineer he couldn’t develop his creative side and was losing his way in life. Therefore, he also tried engineering and then got back on track by following what he really wanted to do, or at least trying what he felt inside to do.
Our guest is a Christian, he believes in God. After the death of his father, he went away for a while. Then he came back. He goes to services with his younger brother. He also sings, but he is shy, he doesn’t expose himself. He is a doctor, a pharmacist. Marco: “Does he sell drugs?” He is a very successful professional.
The revelation of Matt’s true origins.
It is at this point that the revelation that turns the whole episode around.
Marco: “You eat Italian?”
Matt: “I am Italian! Originally from Calabria!”
And under the careful supervision of our two sparkling hosts, you will see him say: “Today is a beautiful day!” in Italian!
And Italians are in great numbers in the United States. You can recognize them because they fly “Paisà!” or when toasting “Salute!”
Italians here are like a benevolent virus, Italian19, perfectly integrated into this melting pot.
Matt has never visited Italy or Europe but he will soon, he loves history and culture and we’re sure he’ll love it!
Matt reveals his ‘secrets’.
After a musical interlude in which our sparkling conductors improvise Volare, we go deep!
Marco: ‘You’ve known us for a while now. Right? Tell me if I’m wrong.
Is there something you’ve never told anyone? Something we should know about you?”
Not really, Matt is an open book. Of course, he has to confess that, as our Marco did during the quarantine interviews, he doesn’t have any trousers!
Matt was born and raised in a working-class, middle-class suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His dad was a machinist, his mum a nurse.
And he’s always been imbued with a mentality of hard work. They love football and drinking there. There’s a wonderful melting pot. And outside the city is the countryside, where many people work hard on the land.
Pittsburgh used to be called Steel City, because of its proximity to major coal deposits and its river location it was one of the most important industrial cities in the world.
It helped build the country, despite not being a giant city.
Matt doesn’t know many country singers in Pittsburgh, he can count them on the fingers of one hand. He’s probably the best known.
Marco: “Full of paparazzi, I understand!”
Even here in London, there are plenty of them!
Let me sleep!
A real and authentic person, always trying to be herself. Who is creating herself according to what she feels. And he’s grateful to talk to our super interviewers, because it gives him a chance to meet new people, to talk to the world.
He has reinvented himself from nothing, honouring the memory of his father. And this motivates him to continue on this path, and not to give up. The goal is more important.
Tragedies are never tragedies, they can always be transformed into possibilities and opportunities.
His latest single, Thin Blue Line.
While he waits to take part in the new film then Matt promotes his latest single, Thin Blue Line, because it contains a positive message, which we all need now more than ever.
It’s a tribute to all the men and women who are in charge of security, putting their own at risk.
Matt has friends who were retired and worked in the Police Department.
Marco: “Retarded?” Marcoooooooooooooooooooooooo!
Marco: “You said yourself that a lot of friends weren’t very supportive of you in the beginning!”
People who see the darker side of the world daily. And yet they come home every day to be fathers and mothers, husbands and wives. A sacrifice they make for everyone, which is often not remembered or emphasised.
Pursue what makes you feel yourself: country singer (engineer) Matt Westin!
A fantastic person, a real human being, whom we are still waiting to hear and see in the next film!
And he will surely have all the success he deserves!
If you want to see an authentic life story, the pursuit of what you love by choosing to live as country singers over engineers, don’t miss this fantastic episode!