If you wonder if you should go after your wildest goals or settle for what’s comfortable, then meet Matt Dusk, who decided to take a chance on music rather than follow the safe path into the family business. Maybe you’ll find some inspiration as we did here at PRODUCT.
Singing his whole life, Matt found himself at a crossroads when he graduated high school – study music or study business? Having worked regularly for his father’s successful packaging company, Matt assumed he’d one day take it over, so he chose to pursue a university degree in Economics. However, the universe had another plan, and he switched his major to music shortly thereafter. Matt had sung in the prestigious St. Michael’s Choir School in Toronto as a child, training in complex harmonies for eleven years. Matt developed his passion for jazz through his education – a passion combined with youthful tenacity that had him playing as much as 20 nights in a month at corporate events, weddings, and in legendary Toronto clubs such as Reservoir Lounge and Alleycatz Live Jazz Bar.
If you’re working this hard and gaining this much exposure, you’re bound to get noticed, and Matt did. He signed his first record deal just before he graduated university. He began recording his first album in London, England soon after. What followed were six albums (two of which are certified gold) and tours all over North America and Europe (including several years doing the circuit in Las Vegas).
My Funny Valentine: The Chet Baker Songbook is Matt’s seventh album, released just before Valentine’s Day. When asked why he decided to record a collection of Chet Baker songs, he recalls discovering jazz for the first time, “Chet Baker was one of the first guys that got me into jazz,” Matt says. Chet Baker was a well-known American jazz singer and trumpet player in the mid-20th century. He was known for a clear, bright, tenor range and a stripped down style of playing. But he was also known for his tragic early death at the age of 59 from drugs and alcohol.
Dusk wanted to bring Chet’s songs to a new audience but he still wanted to maintain his own style. Together with trumpeter, Arturo Sandoval, Dusk created an album that pays homage to the legendary Baker but also gives a big band revamp to such jazz standards as Embraceable You (which he sings duet with Emilie-Claire Barlow), That Old Feeling, and I Fall in Love Too Easily. Recreating the Chet Baker sound was a challenge for both Dusk and Sandoval, both of whom love their jazz to boom, but it was a challenge Dusk was eager to take on.
Of course, no Chet Baker set list could be complete without the track, My Funny Valentine. “It’s like doing a Michael Jackson tribute record and not putting Thriller in,” Matt quips. He re-interprets the song as a soothing reassurance to his lover that everything’s going to be okay after her bad day.
Fresh off the completion of this new album, Matt isn’t ready to slow down anytime soon. He plans to start recording early next year. Now a little bit older and a little bit wiser, we can expect from Matt what he loves most and what keeps his fans coming back for more – modern day, big vocal, toe-tapping jazz.