Garden Hill rapper Mattmac wins emerging musician grand prize

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Oji-Cree rapper Mattmac is the grand prize winner of Canada’s Walk of Fame’s emerging musician program.

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Oji-Cree rapper Mattmac is the grand prize winner of Canada’s Walk of Fame’s emerging musician program.

The artist, who is from Garden Hill First Nation and lives in Winnipeg, receives $20,000, opportunities to perform at walk of fame events and recording time at Metalworks Studios in Mississauga, Ont., to go along with the honour, which marks its 10th anniversary this year.

“Coming from a small reserve in northern Manitoba, opportunities like this aren’t readily available, and I hope that this incredible recognition will inspire others to know that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to,” he says in a release.

While Mattmac’s mixture of synthesizer-fuelled pop and hip-hop from his latest album, 20/20, caught judges’ attention, so did his life story.

Matthew Monais, 22, was born blind and has experienced depression because of it.

‘He also grew up surrounded by music, whether it was songs on the radio or gospel jamborees in Garden Hill, learned the piano and began making his own music when he was 13.

“It allows me to be more expressive and creative,” Mattmac said in a Free Press story in 2020. “Making music… allows me to release that energy that builds up and try to be OK.”

A travelling music education program that visited Garden Hill in 2016 was inspired by his story and produced a music video with him, Help You See, which that led to him performing with pop star Nelly Furtado at National Aboriginal Day at The Forks in 2017.

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Mattmac

Mattmac will also receive a page on EmergingMusician.ca, the walk of fame’s new website, $2,000 to fund a performance video, mentorship sessions with music executives, laywers and an agent, a showcase at Canadian Music Week in 2023 as well as a spot at the Festival du Voyageur next February.

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