The Start of a New, Unmarked Path. (Pretext).
Hello and welcome to my very first blog. I've decided to step out of writing on Instagram simply because of A: The character limit, and B: Allowing you as an audience a choice. Whether or not to read my work at all. I have many words and more than likely I'm going to create even more variations of these words, but I wanted to do it here rather than there, because it offers a separation now doesn't it? It holds a little more fluidity in all honesty, and now, as I write this, as I've never fully written for an audience like this - freely I mean, with no limit - I'm noticing the flow in my writing. I feel happy enough just simply placing these words on the page, sitting here in Ohio (we'll get to that) writing out how I currently feel in the present moment in which I place each finger on the key. How exciting. All rambling aside - yet, not to discredit - welcome to my new blog. First, let me introduce myself.
My name is Matthew Piper, I'd prefer if you call me Matt. Forgive me, because I don't tend to think much about the years in my life around birth to eighteen, unless absolutely necessary, so I've always struggled with my recall. Bare with me. Shall we? I grew up in Ohio in a middle class family, for a bit on the lower end of middle class and eventually my parents fought and clawed their way up through the ranks to come out of the rotten trenches of capitalism to eventually make there way to the upper middle class. Then I went to college and I'm pretty sure that set them right back to lower middle class. I was a sporty sorta chap. I played all sorts of sports; Baseball, basketball, football, tennis, swimming, golf, track and field, cross country, and eventually, I landed on primarily playing and getting proper at soccer. Throughout every single one of those sports I wanted to be the best though, I was COMPETETIVE.
I grew to really love athletics. I wanted to go pro in every single sport I tried. With baseball, I imagined staying and living in Ohio to play for the Indians. Basketball, I'd play for the Cleveland Cavaliers, I'd beat Roger Federer in tennis, swim next to Michael Phelps, and finally with soccer I eventually had a plan. I would genuinely go pro, but I'll get scholarship through it. I wanted so much to make it on the Columbus Crew, but then I even set my sights further and thought about playing for the US national team. I was varsity in high school, but not starting. I wanted so much to be better that I'd spend countless hours with the ball. I'd bring the ball everywhere, up and down the stairs, I was so good at juggling I could juggle in front of the TV, confident that I wouldn't let it fly into it. Yet I was just really good at dribbling and juggling. I learned, quite sadly, that you need experience on the actual pitch itself to let any of those skills be of any use. I got knocked down, and the ball would be stolen because I took too big of a touch, not knowing where to put my excitement, and adrenaline. My passes were off, and I'd hold onto the ball far too long wanting to show off all the hard labor I put in. So I actually didn't play much because of this.
To rewind again, (again, bare with me here, it connects... I think) I was an absolute performer. I played characters all my life, I was a chameleon. I used so many different tactics, and tried so many different variations to make something work, make people like me, or make people feel better. Not only that but I was a singer. I remember singing all sorts of songs that I'd hear on the radio, and I'd try to match them exactly as I heard them. So many nights my mother would come into my room telling me it was time to stop singing and go to bed. See, my bedtime was, let's say, around 9:30pm or so, and I would lie in my bed from 9:30, and until about 10 - 10:30pm I would lay awake singing whatever came into my head. A lot of times it was Queen, other times I'd sing Gun N Roses, and I sang a lot of Bruno mars' early songs when I could actually hit his notes. People used to call me "radio" for being able to sing all sorts of different songs. I really had a knack for it. I performed in the odd 3rd grade Cinderella adaptation where I was the hot fairy godfather, wore a suit, and helped his godson... do something, probably fall in love, something like that. It was done in a catholic school... probably more insight there.
Eventually I left that catholic school after my 6th grade and attended 7nth grade onward in public school. That's when I really began to explore performance. I attended middle school choir and got many important roles there. Then, in my freshmen year of high school I performed Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. That was like a five minute song too, but everyone loved it. I was a talented boy in a very small community so people flocked to me like moths. At the time I was simply the brightest light. I really did get a big head after that too. I had an incredible voice teacher at the time who kept me grounded, and I was also in the choir as well, and was getting good spots there, as well as solos. Freshmen year, I believe was my first play as well. I did Flowers for Algernon a play by Daniel Keyes. If that's the actual version that we did. I played this rich old man with a bunch of money or something, I had a very small line. Either way, it was alright, I didn't get much from it in all honesty. I was all in with soccer at the time, so I couldn't place my focus in something like that, and waste my time.
Though, time went on, and I began realizing that I did in fact have something with my voice. My voice teacher at the time was leading me into competitions, and I was getting first place in many of them, while I also was obtaining accolades and praises in my choir, constantly. As I remember this, I do want to mention, I was surrounded for a very long time with incredibly supportive people. Not everyone was supportive, that would rarely ever happen. Even in a perfect world, some imperfect comet would come down, and in it, an alien ship, an alien would pop up and go "yea but can you really, let's be realistic here" in some cynical divine balancing of the universe. No, but I really did have an incredible team backing me. People wanted to see me go so far, and see me do incredible things. I'll have to come back to this topic, as I still see these people in my corner today.
With this uniquely strong and grounded support, I felt I should follow this path. See how far I might be able to make it. I joined more plays, and more musicals, won more vocal competitions, and was being praised and pushed left and right. At that time, I was doing better with my big head, I had a few people who kept me humble, as well as I understood what it meant to have a big head, and how it affected the people around me. Though, I accidentally got a really bad habit of denying any praise that anyone offered. I always circled around with something I did wrong or could have improved upon. I was the one who made people aware of my mistakes. I did this for quite some time up till college, and still do, but with a bit more balance, I hope.
Initially I was set to go for a degree in Vocal Performance, I was planning on singing jazz or Opera for the rest of my life, but Interlochen, a performing arts camp in Michigan, taught me otherwise. I got in with an audition, I auditioned for the musical Catch Me If You Can and eventually in the callbacks for Frank Abignale Jr. it was a sing off between me and one other. Sadly, the other person got the role and I got the understudy. Thing about that was, it wasn't sad at all. I realized that I do have potential in this industry, just being the fact that I got that callback, and I got the opportunity to be the understudy to the lead. I learned there, that this was something that I would love to do for the rest of my life, and me being someone who has so many different, and random abilities, I loved the idea of dancing and singing and acting. I just loved the variety of it, and of course I had a lot of imaginings of grandeur at that time, but hey, I went with it, I was still young. That was the summer just before my senior year in high school. I decided that I would quit my choir, I would quit soccer, I would quit anything that I didn't need in my High school, and I would travel to the nearest, more artsy forward part of Ohio, which was Columbus, everyday. My parents helped me with coaching's and lessons. I was with a dance coach, and took dance classes, because I had no dance experience and was trying to learn like my life depended on it, (eventually I came to love dance more than I ever thought I would). I had an acting coach for my monologues, as well as my voice teacher at the time. I spent half a school year going back and forth to Columbus, just about everyday to get myself into shape for musical theater college auditions.
Dear christ we've made it here. Well I'll skip around a little. As college is an experience I remember the most, and actually have genuine formal writing on, I'll save it for another blog for another time. But I did it. I got into PACE University for a BFA Musical theater degree, graduated, stayed in the city for a little bit after. Although, the ironic part is, I grew to dislike a lot of musicals and the musical theater genre. I've always loved the exploration of human psyche, and what makes people tick and what makes me tick, so I decided that I want to focus on acting. So, sure, I know, a little late to be deciding that now, as I just got a whole degree in Musical Theater, but, really, I think I decided just at the right time, and am actually incredibly grateful with what my degree gave me. Now I am here back in Ohio to put in some creative work, as well as getting myself ready to make a move somewhere else. Soon I'm gonna be living my life in a completely new geographical setting, making a completely new start for myself.
If you've gotten this far, honestly, I commend you. This is all just a trial of me trying to explain my life, which I'm not very good at and don't really plan on being any good at. These are just facts that let you know a little bit more about me. I always find them important to think about. These are just words on a page, but I believe that they say something. As I begin writing more and more on these blogs, I want you to at least have some understanding of who I am. Watch out though, I'm one to make big changes in my life. I experiment quite a lot and try new things and look at things in new ways, I challenge my current state of human psyche. Hopefully I might be able to record some of those thoughts and ideas in here. Follow along to see my improvement across the board, whether that's my writing, my artistic ability, or myself as a human being. It's here for you to enjoy as you wish. More to come, see you soon.