Mattmac unites pop-trap beats, contemporary dance and an inspirational story in his newest single and video Break Me Down — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
Known for using his platform to inspire others, the song serves as an intersectional moment celebrating young individuals passionately pursuing their brightest futures — and is the latest standout from Mattmac’s recent debut album 20/20. Break Me Down ushers audiences into the lives of Indigenous youth who are breaking cycles, overcoming barriers, and finding pathways to success.
The video features River Waterhen as a young Indigenous man whose life growing up on the reserve was never easy. Ultimately, he graduates high school, furthers his education, and moves to a big city — which turns out to be an adjustment all its own. There was an element of life imitating art: Waterhen is a Cree contemporary dancer from Island Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan who is pursuing his education at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre in Toronto, while also following his own path as a creator online.
While it’s not step for step, River’s story is one Mattmac knows all too well; Break Me Down speaks to his personal struggles living in a small, isolated community, and how it’s easy to lose motivation. Hailing from Garden Hill First Nation in Manitoba, Mattmac has been blind from birth. After struggling with depression, he credits both his mother’s support and music for helping him cope; he grew up surrounded by music both on the radio and singing in his community’s gospel choir.
A fully self-taught artist, Mattmac first began to make beats and write songs when he was 13 years old, and later taught himself how to play piano and guitar. He also has impressive skills with beat production software and equipment, and attributes his creative competencies to the support of the Blind & Famous group — a U.S.-based collective of blind music artists who collaborate and connect with one another through the Internet.
Mattmac was launched into the music scene in 2016 when N’we Jinan, a travelling music studio program, visited his community and invited him to collaborate on a project. Pulling inspiration from his personal story, they created a song and video titled Help You See that has been watched early 250,000 times online. Through this experience, he connected with International artist Nelly Furtado, and performed alongside her at Indigenous Day Live in 2017; they continue to work together.
Mattmac’s premiere release 20/20 features poppy vocals combined with hard-hitting trap beats, and thoughtfully honest lyrics that give listeners a glimpse into the mind of a blind creative as he paints vivid sonic pictures of struggle, healing, celebrating love, family and life on the reserve. Mattmac has been donating 50% of profits from CD sales to the Bear Clan Patrol’s hamper program, a service that feeds over 400 families in Winnipeg each week.