Proving Ground: The Uncomfortable Truth behind Transparent Soul's EP Title part 2 of 2

    "I had to resign myself, many years ago that I'm not too articulate when it comes to explaining how I feel about things, but my music does that for me. It really does."  David Bowie

     One of the great things about Rock music is it's ability to mobilize, inspire and empower people. For Rock fans, a show can be a place to feel unified with like minded people. It creates life long memories  to sing along to songs that have hugely impacted them in some way.  For the performers, the stage is that sacred place where energy and adrenaline rules. It's a place to feel in the moment and on a good night completely in control.  The stage is a place where fans look at great performers as powerful and charismatic, even when they sing songs about their heartbreaks and struggles.  Although songs can bleed of artists vulnerability and struggles the stage often can filter out the true reality of that persons weaknesses.  Nobody likes to feel weak.  Music is an outlet to turn weakness into strength.  Transparent Soul's EP, "Proving Ground" sums up my story of many times feeling like an underdog in the fight to overcome my physical and mental disabilities. Even to this day, I find it highly uncomfortable at times to confront the fact that I was born with Cerebral Palsy and Dyscalculia.  The Cerebral Palsy was caused by a premature birth and a traumatic brain injury in the womb. It was said by many in the medical field that I would not survive birth and if I did, I would be blind and/or unable to walk.  I was able to prove them wrong on that front but it has presented me with many setbacks while growing up.  

     I remember going to elementary school having mobility issues with walking.  I remember going to many physical therapy sessions and having to go through phases where I had to wear a left leg brace to straighten my leg and right eye patch in efforts to cure my lazy eye.  These complications often made me clumsy and accident prone and as you may have guessed resulted in me being bullied.  As I grew older, educators were baffled by some of my setbacks and spend countless hours trying to figure out the scope of my disabilities.  My struggles in depth perception, mathematical concepts, keeping time, counting money, getting easily lost and distracted, losing things and falling behind in many areas while excelling in others made me an anomaly that was hard to categorize and understand.  The struggles often resulted in me feeling depressed and as I grew up I became very isolated and withdrawn.

    At age 19, I was finally diagnosed with Dyscalculia which only 4% of the world has.  It explained much of my struggles but still prevents me from living a "normal" life.  It mainly is a math disability and impairs many abilities that are often taken for granted.  Budgeting, navigating and mastering surroundings, recalling dates, times, and sequences of events or information, driving a car, schedules, understanding units of measurements to name a few.  The hardest thing growing up was the self esteem issues that accompanied not being able to complete many common milestones of those my age; such as, graduating traditionally, getting your first car, and having the freedom to get out independently, unable to understand financial things and socializing in traditional ways.

    Music was and is still one of the things that makes me feel the most empowered.  It gives me a voice to vent, take a stand, and relay my story.  In life people often doubted or belittled my aspirations and my own self doubt was as crippling as my physical and mental disabilities.  In many cases I was forced to fight while being an underdog.  This music gives me strength, it gives me Hope, and it is my PROVING GROUND!

Thanks for reading...Rock On and Stay Strong

MATT 

Proving Ground: The uncomfortable truth behind Transparent soul's EP title (pt. 1 of 2)

"Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours."-Elton john

There are so many things i love about being a singer/song writer so heavily involved in rock music. Performing live i love the rush of putting all my passion and energy out on the stage, sweating bullets and most of all attempting to make an emotional connection with music fans while allowing a room full of people to be in on some of my story. why i wrote certain songs, where i was emotionally during the writing process and who i am as not only an artist but also an individual long after the music is stripped away.  There really is an art to capturing and connecting with new crowds.  Many of whom do not know your music, have never seen you live before, most likely do not think in terms of music theory or terms. instead  they just want to feel connected with and want to feel as if they know you better by the time you pack up and are off to the next venue. A common ritual for me is to "prep the room" before  ever stepping on stage or singing a single note. By the time you step on the stage it may be your only chance to make an impression and a possible life long fan but in my opinion the job starts as soon as you enter the venue and see one person who took the time to come out and see what you and your music are all about. I say this with all due respect to musicians but I think we do ourselves wrong when we sit next to our merch tables and snub everyone as if we were entitled rock stars in the venue before a show. part of being a musician is also being someone who can not only be "Hardcore" but also down to earth. I have always attempted to put my story and what i think makes me unique as an artist first and view the music as just the mere vehicle to relay that story.  when you come to a Transparent soul show you can lots of raw energy and loud music (which hopefully is apart of any great rock show) but you can also expect a range of emotions from humor to somberness. Transparent soul prides itself on being a rock band with some awesome original tunes but one of the many highlights of our show as of late is doing a rock version of "Lose yourself" by "Eminem." before the song I go on a rant about how back in high school I went through a phase where I listened to rap, had the bleached hair and baggy pants and wanted to be slim shady! it enables the crowd to get to know me and not only my serious side but also some of the dumb things about me.    By the end of the show we play a song called "Dear God" where I tell a short story about my background, where I came from and  some of what I have had to overcome. sometimes it can be intimidating but its worth it when after i leave the stage people say they were entertained and even impacted by the show. people do music for many reasons. Hopefully a large part of the reason is to be open, authentic and sometimes knowing when to be highly vulnerable!  In part two of this blog I will talk about the uncomfortable truth behind the title of our EP  "Proving Ground". If you would like to listen to proving ground click the "Music" tab on this site! thanks for taking the time. Rock on! 

TO BE CONTINUED

-Matt