Blind Oji-Cree artist ‘Mattmac’ wins Canada’s Walk of Fame emerging musician prize

Matthew Monias, a musician and producer from Garden Hill First Nation in Manitoba. Submitted Photo

The Winnipeg-based musician Matthew Monias, known as Mattmac and originally from the remote community of Garden Hill First Nation in northern Manitoba, is the recipient of Canada’s Walk of Fame RBC Emerging Musician Program in 2022.

His submission to the program is a song called Isolation and the corresponding music video was filmed in Garden Hill.

Monias has been blind since birth and released his first career album in 2020.

“I really love doing this as a thing and it’s like one of my biggest passions,” he told 680CJOB on Oct 6.

“This is so cool and this presents itself with a lot of opportunity and potential.”

He has been singing since he was four, writing songs since age 13, producing at 16, and has taught himself how to play piano and guitar.

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“A lot of what you hear is all self-produced, all of it’s self-done, I mix my own vocals and I record my own vocals as well,” he said.

The young artist has been battling adversity for the entirety of his career and he hopes he can be a source of hope for many.

“People across the world who are blind and visually impaired, to be like, hey, look, I am making it mainstream I am doing things here, making big moves, making big things happen, so who’s to say you can’t do the same,” he said.

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When asked about what inspires him, he said one of his biggest inspirations musically is well-known artist Ed Sheeran, but it’s more than just other musicians.

“A lot of people close to me, family, friends, and especially the people who I work with,” he said.

Mattmac currently has two albums out. One is tilted 20/20 and the other is Blurred Visions.

His top song from his first album is called Paradise and it debuted at number one on the Indigenous Music Countdown.

“I was at a loss for words because I’ve known about this countdown for the longest time ever, so being number one on this countdown is absolutely amazing to me,” he told Global News in 2020.

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Paradise, along with the rest of the album, aims to relate with listeners facing unique challenges in life.

“Simple stuff like that really makes the album worthwhile. If you can relate to a lyric, even if it’s just one line,” Monias said.

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