Jade and I were invited to play the American Indian Film festival this November. My music was also part of the soundtrack for a film called “Unreserved: the work of (my cousin) Louie Gong.” His work was also part of an Urban Native art exhibiton called First Expressions that was held in conjunction with the festival.
Everybody was extremely hospitable and we had a blast! Hopefully we get a chance to perform again next year!
by Midnight Sun Magazine, 2009
Vancouver is riddled with promising singers and songwriters, who wear their hearts on their sleeves. They appreciate the simple pleasures that West coast life has to offer and will search for little more than to be “happy doing what they love”. I stumbled across a man who seemed to exemplify this ideal, a truly archetypal troubadour, clad in plaid with a guitar in his hand and a woman on his arm. His name is Matthew Gong, a Mission native who frequents Vancouver to study at VCC, whilst returning most winter weekends to teach his craft back home.
He’s had a thirteen year relationship with his guitar, a relationship backed by a supportive family. “I think it took them a little while to accept that, you know, I was serious about it…if you’re not moving in the right direction, then it’s quite easy for the family to kinda…worry about [the decision],” he said, on the one subject that musicians will never cease to forget: the huge possibility that making music will lead to the life of a starving artist. “They try and make suggestions about maybe what you should do, because you could be making lots of money doing other things…I’m doing it, not to say that I wouldn’t wanna make money doing it, of course it’s my dream to not have to work a nine-to-five, but I’m doing it because I love it.” People in the music industry are beginning to perceive it more and more as strictly business, losing sight of the sentimental and emotional ties that it entails. The times of music solely as a means of alternate expression of inner thought are coming up short when juxtaposed with the thought of music as a means of making obscene amounts of cash. So many musicians are geared towards stardom and bent on this philosophy, it becomes clear that the Matt Gongs of society can change this. People like Matt Gong believe strongly enough in their burning passion for music will drive them to make music for the right reasons.
Matt is exploring his desire to make music this summer. He’s taking time off work to develop new material and get into the “habit of being a musician…waking up every day and approaching it as if this was the job that I was meant to do.” He finds himself driven by the roller coaster of love, as musicians tend to find themselves, once again re-establishing him as an individual after a long-term relationship drew to a close. In future, however, relationships may not be such a problem for this soulful balladeer, skilfully continuing to perfect the art of song writing and performance throughout Vancouver and beyond. Keep an ear out for this promising artist, as we shall undoubtedly be seeing a lot of him around town. Check out his Myspace (www.myspace.com/gongmatthew), showcasing some moving, heavy-hearted original works, guaranteed to lift a spirit or two.
Here’s a preview of a song off of my upcoming EP
So today I’m down in Seattle with Tracy Rector of Longhouse Media getting ready to be filmed for a PBS (TV) spot that will air nationally. They’re using my music and placing me in the piece as well. I’m very excited about participating in this project because it’s will show the world that Native Americans are not really what they see in the movies. We are musicians, artists, doctors, lawyers and more. We don’t live in teepees or put our ear to the ground in search of game. So, I see his is a great opportunity to buck the stereotypes and move forward.
Make sure that you keep your eyes open for this PSA on PBS.