Musician, Songwriter & Producer
Born in Montreal.
Raised in Mississauga.
Based in Toronto.
I still feel great attachment to my Portuguese identity. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what I feel most connected to. Definitely the food, obviously. Probably the language. And I think that is represented by my almost neurotic obsession with Brazilian music – Matthew Tavares.
Matthew Tavares is the descendant of Portuguese immigrants from São Miguel island who settled in Montreal in the 1950s, and from the former Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. Growing up in Mississauga, he explored his love of music through the internet. In 2010, he co-founded the hip-hop and jazz fusion band BADBADNOTGOOD with friends he met at the Humber College jazz program. Since then, as a BBNG member and solo artist, Tavares has had a widely successful and highly prolific international music career, with several albums recorded, collaborations with renowned hip-hop artists, and multiple accolades.
Matthew (Matty) Tavares was born in Montreal on September 15, 1990, to a Portuguese-Canadian father and a Slovakian-Canadian mother. His grandfather immigrated from São Miguel island, Azores, to Quebec, in 1957, as a farmhand, under the labour migration agreement between Portugal and Canada. After spending a year travelling across Canada looking for work, going as far as Vancouver, Tavares’ grandfather settled in Montreal where he found work at Cara Food Processing. Afterwards, he sent for his wife and children, including Matthew’s father. Like many Portuguese-Canadian youths in the 1960s-70s, his father contributed to the household finances by having multiple jobs, including picking worms at a graveyard at night. The Tavares also sponsored multiple family members from the Azores. Matthew’s father saved enough money to study accounting at McGill University. He met his future wife there, the daughter of a Slovakian woman who escaped Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia and a Yugoslavian soldier who fled to Italy before moving to Montreal.
Shortly after he was born, Tavares and his parents moved to Toronto first, then later to Mississauga and Oakville, where he grew up. The isolation of the suburbs prompted Tavares to explore his interest in music (especially avant-garde jazz and classical music) and discover artists from around the world (especially the United States, France, and Brazil) through the internet. Growing up, Tavares and his family visited his grandparents in Montreal’s Plateau Mont-Royal multiple times a year. Although he did not visit Portugal in his formative years, the time spent in Montreal with his extensive family exposed him to Portuguese language, food, and to some extent, music, to which he remains attached.
Tavares studied jazz piano at Humber College, where he met the bassist Chester Hansen and drummer Alexander Sowinski, with whom he co-founded the band BADBADNOTGOOD in 2010. After posting jazz renditions of the hip-hop group’s Odd Future’s music on YouTube in 2011, the band experienced viral success with the help of rapper Tyler, The Creator. The attention garnered led up to the release of their debut album “BBNG” and their first live performance at Toronto’s Red Light Bar, where they first connected with hip hop producer Frank Dukes, in September of that year. A few months later, in February 2012, Tavares dropped out of his college program. In the following months, Tavares and his band experienced tremendous success among young fans of jazz and hip-hop. They were embraced by many influential hip-hop and jazz artists, producers, and broadcasters, including Frank Ocean, Ron Ayers, Gilles Petterson, and others. They also became the band-in-residence at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and assisted in producing the soundtrack for the martial arts film The Man with the Iron Fists directed by RZA.
BADBADNOTGOOD would release five full-length albums by 2016, for which they were twice nominated for a Polaris Music Prize. They also toured extensively In North America, Australia, and Europe; including playing in Portugal, where the band has a large following. The band’s live concerts drew sizable crowds of energetic youth known to sometimes engage in moshing and crowd surfing, which was very atypical for jazz concerts. After releasing their fourth album in 2016, Tavares stopped touring with the band and spent time concentrating on music production and developing his solo project, Matty. With the rest of the band, Tavares continued to work with multiple local and international artists, and contributed to projects with renowned artists, including the rapper and producer Kendrick Lamar.
In 2018, Tavares released his first solo album “Déjàvu,” which he recorded with his BADBADNOTGOOD band. The following year, Tavares left the band and decided to focus on his career as a solo and collaborative musician, songwriter, and producer. He has since released three full-length studio albums as a solo artist and two more with former band member Leland Whitty. Tavares has also written songs for several artists, including Post Malone, Kendrick Lamar, Camilla Cabello, Kalu Uchis, and Rosala – his production for the latter’s song “Dolerme” got him a Latin Grammy Award nomination in 2020.
Hora dos Portugueses