It's invigorating to meet a musician with an easy-going and modest character. Matt Hryhorsky's name is difficult to pronounce, but sooner or later it will be rolling off our tongues.
In less than a year, Hryhorsky has left quite the mark on Toronto's music scene. After playing shows at the El Mocambo, C'est What? and Clinton's Tavern, he is starting to receive the recognition he deserves.
Currently, Hryhorsky and his band are finishing their first full-length album entitled That's Life, which includes 11 tracks filled with various styles of music. I had the opportunity to meet the unique musician at a lounge bar in Toronto, The Green Room.
Originally from Oakville, ON, Hryhorsky, 23, was born into a musical family. His mother used to play in a folk band in the 70's and his dad is a music teacher. According to Hryhorsky, his parents have been 150% supportive. Hryhorsky's cousin, Andy Stochansky, is also a well-known Canadian singer-songwriter.
"I would say my cousin gave me a better perspective on how the industry works," Hryhorsky said. "Learning more about the industry, I realized it's not impossible to make a good living at it, so I decided to take a chance and go for it."
After graduating last year from Ryerson University, Hryhorsky realized that creating music was his true passion. His first show in front of a big audience was opening for the band Nine Mile at C'est What?.
"Nine Mile are good friends of mine who I met at Ryerson," he said. "They asked me to do a half-hour acoustic set and it was probably one of the best nights of my life."
Everyone in the music industry comes across a person they refer to as a mentor. For Hryhorsky, it was Paul Atkins. When Hryhorsky was 18, he worked at a bar in Oakville where Atkins and his friend Kevin Reid played acoustic shows. One night, they asked Hryhorsky to come up on stage and play.
"They were great guys and it was just a cool experience," he said. "Paul invited me back to his studio in Hamilton."
In February of this year, Hryhorsky decided to take it to the next musical level by playing with a full-band. Bassist Karl Craddoc and drummer Mike Scime are both good friends.
"There's a point where it all comes to together," he said. "The guys I play with are awesome and great musicians."
Hryhorsky has no problem with being compared to other bands like John Mayer or the Dave Matthews Band.
"If anything, these bands are the ones who paved the way for people like me," he said. "We're a mix between Ben Harper and Jamiroquai, like folk and soul mixed with funk."
Even though Hryhorsky is a gifted musician, that doesn't seem to be his only talent. He designed his own web site and album. He said he used to draw a lot when he was younger and being creative came naturally to him.
"When I was in my second year of my program, there was focus on design elements. I took a liking to the aspect of designing," he said. "I was going to switch over to graphic design, but I would have had to drop back two years in my schooling. So, instead I bought the Flash program and taught myself."
Hryhorsky will be playing an acoustic show at the Cameron House Jan.13 and will be leaving the country in February to visit Indiana to play at the University of Indianapolis. Beginning in May until the first half of June, they will be touring Eastern Canada and Eastern US.
Check out his web site www.matthryhorsky.com for more details about their CD release party coming up in April 2005.
Writer: Mindi St.Amand