Mateo Talks John Legend, Sitcom Songs and Mismatched Socks
For both rappers and R&B artists, pre-performance rituals are as commonplace as a sound check. While prayer tends to top the list, zany actions such as stuffing a good luck charm in a pocket can even come into play prior to an event. Before MySpace Records crooner Mateo takes the stage to showcase songs from his EP, 'Get to Know Me: Live At Swing House,' Wednesday (Dec. 2) at S.O.B.'s in New York City, the 24-year-old doesn't plan on doing anything extraordinary.
"Usually I drink tea the entire day and pray really hard that everything goes well," he reveals in an interview with The BoomBox. "I don't wear mismatched socks or anything. But one day, it might come out where I just so happen to be wearing two different colored socks and the show went perfect."
Good fortune has come to Mateo even without engaging in traditions like rubbing the Apollo's Tree of Hope. Before graduating from Morehouse College with a dual degree in marketing and music, the Cincinnati, Ohio native applied for a business internship and interviewed with R&B powerhouse John Legend, a former consultant at Boston Consulting Group. "I read his bio card before the interview, which stated he played for Lauryn Hill," says Mateo, a fellow piano player. "I was like, I got this in the bag; he does music, I do music. He moved me to the next level, but unfortunately, I didn't get the position."
But he did get John Legend's advice. The seasoned singer and songwriter was the first to listen to Mateo's earliest studio recordings. "He gave me helpful hints," explains Mateo. "I remember him telling me, make sure my verses are as catchy as my hooks. It definitely helped."
His first music industry gig was also a streak of luck. In 2006, after ditching a job as a business consultant at a prestigious firm, Mateo began writing music for the popular sitcoms 'Eve' and 'All of Us.' "After a few months, I hated my consultant job," he admits. "I decided this was the year I'm gonna start doing music. Weird thing was, after that happened, I got a call to come meet a producer who was doing the music for the 'Eve' show."
Now, as fate would have it, Mateo is preparing for his yet-to-be titled debut album. Set for a first quarter release in 2010, the project will feature soulful songs similar to his past records such as 'Complicated' and 'Human,' and showcase production from Kerry "Krucial" Brothers.