From the loss of his mother to being bullied in high school, life has not been easy for Soundview’s Matt Sanchez. However, in March he will release his debut album.
While Sanchez, 21, only began recording music five months ago, he is ready for his career to start.
“I am where I am not because of anything that makes me special, but because of the people that we’re around me,” he explained. “Everything I’ve ever done is because of them (parents). The only thing I ever want to do is affect people through my poetry and music.”
Sanchez, his twin brother Tequin and their sister Natasha were adopted by two women, Dolores Sanchez and their late mom, Rosie Almeda. They were raised in Fordham and later moved to Westchester Square, Castle Hill and today, live in Soundview.
He attended Bronx Engineering and Technology High School where he was bullied and witnessed a lot of violence. While he enjoyed learning, especially science, this place was not for him.
So, in his junior year he transferred to John V Lindsay Charter School in Manhattan and everything changed. He took extra classes, worked hard and graduated a year early at the top of his class.
“I just loved school, it was my passion,” he explained.
Sanchez then attended Berkeley College in Manhattan, but dropped out after two years due to his mom getting sick and a bad breakup. But, on top of that he just wasn’t prepared for that chapter of his life.
“I wish I had a better guidance counselor because I definitely could have gone to a better school out of state,” he stated.
As his mom got diagnosed with cancer he began to write poetry. He noted that while most people who are good at science are not skilled at writing, he has a passion for both.
Sanchez began to attend spoken word and open mic nights and soon realized he wanted do that.
His path in poetry began to blossom when he met Shanelle Gabriel, the interim executive director of Urban Word NYC, an organization that provides a platform for writing and performances.
Then about a year ago, after reciting poetry at an open mic, a kid asked him if he had ever thought about making music. It had never crossed his mind.
But he figured he would give it a try.
“I took his advice, I started listening to beats and it just came natural,” he explained.
Suddenly, Sanchez was recording about 30 songs a week and putting them on social media. Through trial and error, he was finding his voice.
Eventually, he connected with his manager David Capers, whose 12-year-old daughter Layla is a star on Broadway.
Capers then set him up with TK Productions and told Sanchez they wanted to make an album. So, he recorded throughout the pandemic and is eager for it to drop in March.
“I don’t think anybody is ready for what is coming this year,” he stressed.
Sanchez explained he would not have gotten this far without the support of his team and family. A lot of his music and poetry is inspired by his late mom and he even wrote a song called “For my momma.”
His identity as a musician changed when one of the people in his team asked if he wanted to “just rap and be known in the hood or be an international star like Drake?” He chose the latter.
Many people are still shocked he has gotten into music. Recently he played a song for a friend without saying who it was.
“When I told him it was me he was like what that’s your voice,” he said.
He describes his music as a mix of pop, dance and funk.
“I’m a young kid from the Bronx who was bullied and no one thought could be anything,” he commented.