Matt Mardini, a Montreal-based Syrian singer, left his home in Damascus in March of 2012, not long after marrying his Syrian-born Canadian wife.
The couple made the decision to come to Canada after a Dec. 11 bombing near the Sheraton Hotel in Damascus, where Mardini lived and worked as a singer for eight years.
“My wife said: ‘No. I want to go home,'” he said, adding that’s when he applied for a visa to come to Canada.
Originally from Aleppo, Mardini is grateful for the chance at a new life.
“I’m lucky because what happened back then it was really the beginning…What I witnessed is only a fraction of what happened after. Especially Aleppo, my home city – destroyed.”
Mardini was hoping to pursue a career in marketing when he arrived, but things don’t always go according to plan– somewhat like Mardini’s own musical debut as a youth in Syria.
“I was replacing a friend in a choir during a Christmas event,” he recalled. “It was rehearsals, and I was supposed to practice lip syncing, but I started to sing.”
A week later, he was performing his first solo — Silent Night.
WATCH: Singer Matt Mardini guest co-hosts Global News Morning in Montreal
Now, after four years in his new homeland, Mardini – much to his own surprise – is making a go of it as an international singer, crooning his way to success, one gig at a time.
In January, he performed at the Bell Centre in front of the largest crowd of his career.
“I always dreamed about an international singing career, but never thought about doing it, ” he said.
If you’d like to hear him sing for yourself, Mardini performs every Thursday and Saturday at Les Trois Tilleuls, a four-star hotel and spa in Saint-Marc-sur-Richelieu, 40 kilometres outside Montreal.