Rio Rancho High School senior, with help from Atlanta record company, create hit YouTube video.
He’s only 17, but Matthew Chavez has already learned one of life’s most valuable lessons: Don’t let anybody talk you out of your dream or discourage you from chasing it.
Chavez has seen a decent amount of that in his time. About a year ago when he first got into rapping and music — and after he realized he was good at it — many people, including friends and a teacher, suggested he not do it. It was a bad image, the teacher told him.
But Chavez, now a senior at Rio Rancho High School, would have none of it. He put himself into tunnel vision mode, and now he’s somewhat of a YouTube sensation and is working with a record company to take his dream further.
Oh, and he’s also got a stage name: Vez.
“Ever since I have been wanting to do this there have been so many people who told me no, that it’s a bad look,” Chavez said. “But I’m really stubborn with stuff I want to do, and I wasn’t going to let anybody be in my way. It was basically tunnel-vision on my part.
“So I’m telling people, tunnel vision, literally. Do whatever you want to. If I had listened to people I’d probably be an anxious high school student worrying about homework. I still do homework, but now I don’t have any worries. I just do what I want to.”
Doing what he wants to has led Chavez, with the help of an Atlanta record company, P4PEnt., to have a hit YouTube video. It’s called “69 Bars,” and in a month it has garnered 92,680 views.
And in early September, Chavez will release his second rap video, “Live,” on YouTube.
If the views keep coming, Chavez, with the help of P4PEnt. Vice President Diego Deane, and his manager, Teresa Garcia, hopes that he’ll become a big enough of a sensation to book some live shows on a tour.
It just happened
Chavez wasn’t always interested in rapping. When he was younger he thought about becoming an entomologist or a baseball or basketball player. But about a year ago he started writing raps, and is now immersed in it.
“It just kind of happened. I played basketball my whole live. My whole time was devoted to that,” Chavez said. “But I just got burned out and didn’t want to do it anymore. I had idolized a lot of people in the music industry, and I figured it couldn’t be that hard, so I started writing and I fell in love with it immediately.”
Over the next several months Chavez found himself using his cellphone to write lyrics and spending five to six hours a day doing it. During that time he learned another lesson: not everything one writes is brilliant.
“I was doing it every day for six hours a day for a year, just writing stuff,” Chavez said. “The stuff at the beginning was horrible, it was awful. I had to be honest with myself and say, ‘That’s not good, rewrite it.’”
It’s not easy to get into the music business, and Chavez might have spent many years writing lyrics in his backyard shed were it not for a local disc jockey who knows his parents. The DJ heard some of Chavez’s stuff and sent it to Jonathan Hamm, the founder of P4PEnt.
The DJ urged Hamm to listen to it, but because record company executives are constantly bombarded with such messages, Hamm wasn’t inclined to do so. But, fate, or at least the lack of Wi-Fi, intervened.
While Hamm was flying back to Atlanta in late May or early June, he realized that the plane didn’t have Wi-Fi and he couldn’t check his email or social media. So he opened the music file of Chavez that the DJ had sent him.
Hamm was impressed and called Chavez shortly after his plane landed.
“Jonathan called me that day., I think. I was sitting in my shed, which is my studio, and I think I was just listening to music when my phone started ringing,” Chavez said.
“It was a number I didn’t recognize, and usually, I never answer numbers I don’t recognize. I don’t know why, but this one I answered and Jonathan gave me all his background and I said, ‘I’ll work with you.’”
So where did the name “Vez” come from? Not from one of those internet name generators, which had suggested that Chavez call himself “Wicked Wizard.”
It’s pretty simple. Chavez chose the last three letters of his last name for his stage name.
And while there is still a long way to go to stardom, Chavez said he’s confident he can make it in music and acting, which he is currently studying at school.
“I’m not cocky, I’m confident,” Chavez said. “In my mind I feel like there’s no rapper in the state that can touch me. I have that mindset, but I try to stay humble in conversation.”