Musician stars at pop concert, shares advice

By ALLEN LAMAN
alaman@dcherald.com

JASPER — While majoring in engineering and management systems at Columbia University, Matt Beilis would skip class, lug an 88-key piano and microphone to the New York City subway and perform.

Beilis

He had played piano his entire life, but he always told himself pursuing the life of a professional musician wasn’t viable, because earning dollars was tough in the competitive industry.

Back then, he was on track to a lucrative finance career.

Now, the New Jersey man is a successful singer-songwriter, piano player and self-taught music producer who tours the globe with his talents. Beilis came to Jasper on Saturday, where he was the center of a sold-out pop concert at the city’s arts center.

He led an outreach discussion at the Jasper Public Library prior to that performance, during which he shared his life story. He also spoke of the immense value of turning a dream into a career — and doing it sooner, rather than later.

It was after internships at places like Bank of America and Morgan Stanley that he realized he’d rather be poor and happy than rich and miserable.

“I, at that point, kind of decided that I wanted to pursue what it is that made me happiest,” he told those gathered for the library talk. “And at that point, it really was making music.”

While working at a piano store out of school, he launched a YouTube channel filled with videos of him covering his favorite songs. Bruno Mars eventually tweeted a link to a video of Beilis’ cover of “Just the Way You Are,” building an online fan base for Beilis that helped him parlay into live performing.

Now, some of his YouTube videos have garnered nearly one million views, and his channel has more than 33,500 subscribers.

Beilis diversifies his income streams by producing music for other artists, as well as songs featured in commercials for brands like Victoria’s Secret, Honda, Target, Taco Bell and more. It’s a grind, but he said starting from nothing and creating a piece of art is incredibly satisfying.

“To me, there’s nothing better than when you sit down and you set out to try to create a piece that would fit perfectly with this kind of vibe,” Beilis explained. “And at a certain point you know, ‘Oh, I’ve found it.’ I’ve found that sound, or I’ve found that specific phrase that fits perfectly. That, in itself, is absolutely amazing to me.”

According to his website, Beilis’ appeal as a singer, performer and writer has garnered him support slots as well as writing and production credits for artists, including Daddy Yankee, Secondhand Serenade, Javier Colon, Consequence, Smokey Robinson and legendary Wu-Tang Clan member Inspectah Deck.

After the library discussion, Beilis stressed that it’s possible for one’s work to be an end, and not just a means to an end. He encouraged young people to begin chasing their dreams early, and to experiment with different fields of work.

“As they always say, if you won a million dollars, what would you do tomorrow?” he asked. “Figure that out, and try to make a job out of whatever it is that thing is. I think that that’s the best way to live a happy life, in my personal opinion.”

Beilis’ music can be found on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music and his website, MattBeilis.com.




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