Northern Manitoba Oji-Cree Rapper Mattmac Wins Canada’s Walk of Fame Emerging Artist Grand Prize

An Oji-Cree artist from Garden Hill First Nation in northern Manitoba who is making waves across the country is now recognized as one of Canada’s top young musicians.

Matthew Monias, also known by his stage name Mattmac, is the grand prize winner of the RBC Emerging Musicians Program on Canada’s Walk of Fame.

“Receiving this award has been absolutely amazing,” Monias said in an interview with CBC Manitoba. Up to speed Thursday.

« It comes with plenty of opportunities to network, grow and take this music career to a whole new level. »

Born blind, Monias began rapping at his home in Garden Hill First Nation, about 475 kilometers north of Winnipeg, and recently learned to play guitar and piano.

Mattmac uses assistive technology to make music. Without it, he says, it would be much harder for artists with disabilities like himself. (Lenard Monkman/CBC)

Since launching her music career in 2016, Monias has worked with Grammy and Juno award-winning artist Nelly Furtado. His music has been streamed over 800,000 times across all platforms.

He believes music accessibility for people with disabilities has come a long way.

Monias uses assisted technology to convert text to speech, which helps him navigate all of his social media platforms and apps he uses to produce music.

« What you hear if you go to my Spotify profile or wherever you listen to your music, a lot of what you hear is made by me. Without the technology and the extra accessibility features, I wouldn’t be able to make music like I am today, » he said.

As the grand prize winner, Mattmac will receive a cash prize of $20,000, performance opportunities at Canada’s Walk of Fame events, and private studio recording time at renowned Metalworks Studios.

« I’m still blown away, » Monias said. « My friends and my family, they were all thrilled. They were bursting with joy. »

Advice for young artists

He says time, effort and patience are essential for young artists who want to follow in his footsteps.

« Without any of them, it’s going to be a bit difficult and it’s going to feel like you’re not moving. But if you hold all three, you’ll get to where you want to be, » he said.

« Go on and make this dream come true. »

The second winner is pop singer Jordan Hart from Toronto, whose debut EP, Only pieces of the truth, is out now.

The other three finalists were Mindflip of Gatineau, Cassie Dasilva of Orillia, Ont., and Benjamin Dakota Rogers of Brantford, Ont.


Back to top button