Indian Prairie Educational FoundationEnriching Education for District 204 Students

See Matt Belsante at Inspire 204

Matt Belsante performs like a seasoned entertainer well beyond his years.

Matt Belsante (2)Maybe it was the old Sinatra records that he used to listen to with his Grandfather. Or maybe it was the steady diet of Coltrane, Ellington, Basie and Fitzgerald that he was fed at home. Whatever it was, Matt knew it was in his bones, a part of his DNA that would ultimately lead this young artist to pursue a dream of his own.
Just out of grade school, Matt picked up the tenor sax at the age of twelve and became a standard fixture in his middle school and high school jazz bands. But the sax wasn’t his only instrument: he soon found he had a talent for using his voice. By his senior year at Neuqua Valley High School, Matt had won the prestigious Louis Armstrong Jazz Award in both the vocal and instrumental categories, the first student from his school to achieve such a feat.

That affirmation was a turning point for Matt, as he realized that his true passion was for using his voice to interpret a song. He grabbed a guitar, taught himself to play and began composing his own music the summer before he entered Nashville’s Vanderbilt University. Before the first day of class commenced, the late Vanderbilt/Blair school of Music director, Billy Adair, had already recruited Matt to sing for the Blair Big Band. Soon, Matt was directing himself, leading the Dodecaphonics, an all-male a cappella group on campus.

The rising star eventually came to the attention of Nashville’s well-heeled music industry following a performance of the Nashville Jazz Orchestra. That night, the NJO performed a Sinatra tribute, and Matt sang many as if he was channeling Sinatra himself. That performance landed him a televised appearance as a featured entertainer for the Miss Tennessee Scholarship Pageant 2006, which eventually lead him to Green Hill Music, where he recorded an album of Christmas classic (White Christmas), and followed that with a spectacular non-seasonal collection of standards (Blame It On My Youth). The titles quickly became two of the label’s top selling releases.

CBL Properties and KMT Creative Group tapped Matt to become both the voice and the face of the campaign. As a result, Matt was featured in a series of spots on television, radio and internet.

Matt’s latest collaboration with Green Hill, teams him with Grammy nominated producer, Jack Jezzro, acclaimed arranger and orchestrator, Jeff Steinberg and the exciting new jazz pianist, Mason Embry. A collection of traditional jazz and Big Band standards, as well a couple of pop and R&B classics, “When You’re Smiling” boasts Matt’s best vocal work to date.

You can sample tracks from “When You’re Smiling” at https://ipsd.us/ZB356.

Matt is returning to his hometown to perform at the Indian Prairie Educational Foundation’s Inspire 204 event on March 20 at Wentz Concert Hall at North Central College in Naperville.

Tickets are available through the Wentz Concert Hall box office at https://tickets.noctrl.edu/

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