By// Asiah James
Meet Mateo, an R&B singer and songwriter, captivating many with his soulful lyrics and harmonies. The Cincinnati native takes a break from working on his first studio album with producer, Kerry “Krucial” Brother, and chats with JETmag.com.
JET: What made you want to make music a career?
M: My entire family is musical. My grandfather was a jazz and blues guitarist back in the day, and my grandmother was also a singer. It was her influence mostly that forced me to take music seriously. Plus, being surrounded by the musical history of my hometown [kind of makes it feel like] it was almost destiny.
JET: What song was your favorite to sing as a child?
M: I was that kid forced to perform at all family gatherings, and I would always sing “Greatest Love of Al”l, by Whitney. I’m embarrassed as hell to admit, but I was surprised myself that I could hit those notes. I bet if you Google me, there’s an embarrassing video of me singing that song.
JET: Who are your main musical influences?
M: I was an only child, raised by my mother, and honestly, whatever were her favorites became mine. She liked all the good stuff, like Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men, and Mary J. Blige. Those were the artists I heard, along with the classics like Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder.
JET: You were previously signed with MySpace Records. What label are you on now?
M: I’m signed with Interscope Records. Kerry started his own label, and asked me to be his first artist. I was honored.
JET: When should we expect an album?
M: Most of my album is done now, but we are putting finishing touches on it. I’m going to start releasing tracks on late night radio shows in January. Then a new video.
JET: So, we’re sure the ladies want to know one thing: Are you single?
M: I go on dates from time to time, but nothing serious. I’m single and just having fun— but I’m open to finding the right young lady.
JET: Where should we check out your music?
M: Check me out at mateoonline.com and hit me on Twitter. I just got the official @Mateo, that’s pretty dope. I even have a fly verification check. Aye!