You Down with MattyB?

Over 7.7 millions followers are! 

BY: Rachel Fasig
Photography: Steve Glass

What do Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, One Direction and Suwanee Resident, Matthew Morris aka MattyB have in common? Answer – they have each earned a spot on Billboard’s 2013 Top 21 under 21 List. So, how exactly does an 11-year-old rapper from Suwanee, Georgia garner the attention of Billboard Magazine, Entertainment Tonight, NBC’s Today Show, Dr. Phil and Extra?

Well, I had the chance to catch up with MattyB right before recording his next music video to find out….

As I pulled up to the Morris home, I noticed they resembled a typical Suwanee family with five kids: toys were strewn around the backyard, teens were grabbing snacks out of the fridge, his little sister was having a “play date” with a friend in her room, and Mom & Dad, Blake and Tawny Morris, were keeping it all together.

“Matt, did you clean the dirt under your nails for the photo shoot?” his mom asked as I saw the 4’ 6”, 11-year- old boy come running down the stairs wearing his signature “MattyB” hat and white Nike Air Jordans. “Sorry,” she turned to me, “he was just playing outside before you got here”. I introduced myself, shook MattyB’s hand, and noticed, yes, his nails were clean.

“Hey, MattyB, nice to meet you! What were you doing outside?”, I asked. “I was skateboarding,” he replied. But, when MattyB isn’t in school, hanging out with friends, skateboarding, playing baseball or airsoft, he is rapping and creating songs and videos that have generated nearly 1 billion views on YouTube and a combined 7.7 million followers on social media!

MattyB attributes much of his success to two things: his cousin/producer, Marshall Manning and YouTube.

MattyB & his cousin, Marshall Manning

MattyB & his cousin, Marshall Manning

MattyB’s cousin, Marshall Manning aka Mars, is a rapper himself and made it to “Hollywood Week” of American Idol in 2010. When Mars mother passed away, he moved in with his Aunt and Uncle (Blake and Tawny Morris). At that point, MattyB was six years old and just started getting into music and dance. He loved having his older cousin around the house and considers him a role model.

MattyB said, “I kept following Mars around and watching him rap…I begged him to help me make a YouTube video and he said, “If we’re gonna do this we’re gonna do it right.” That is when they made the Justin Bieber cover of ‘Eenie Meenie’ which generated nearly a million views in one week. MattyB’s father, Blake Morris told Mars, “I think we have something here – this is not normal! At that point, Mars decided to lay down his dreams in order to help his young cousin, and the family knew they were in for a wild ride!

Morris said, “YouTube has provided a platform for Matt to allow fans to discover his music as he discovers it at an organic level, so they are a part of his ongoing success. It allows him to mobilize them to come to his concerts, to share his concerts and to give fans an in-depth look into his life.” MattyB wants to be reachable to his fans and he wants them to be able to relate to him on a personal level.

Behind the scenes, filming MattyB's cover of "The Notorious B.I.G - "Juicy"

Behind the scenes, filming MattyB’s cover of “The Notorious B.I.G – “Juicy”

While many artists are trying to fit the pop-star mold, MattyB is just trying to be himself. He works with Mars to recreate popular hip-hop singles with G-rated lyrics, as well as co-write original pieces. Although MattyB’s first video was a Justin Bieber cover (produced when he was just seven years old), he does not like being called a “Mini-Bieber” as many have called him in the past. “I like Eminem,” he said, “but only the clean versions of his songs.” MattyB said, “when I first started I wasn’t even allowed to listen to rap music and didn’t really know who I liked…I liked my cousin Mars!”  

It is inevitable that MattyB will continue to grow and succeed as an entertainer. But, when asked if the family would relocate, I heard a resounding, “No!” They have moved around the Metro Atlanta area a few times, but have grown very fond of Suwanee over the past couple of years. “I love Suwanee!’ MattyB said. “I was shooting music videos in the (Town Center) park before we even lived here!” Actually, Blake Morris confided, that part of the reason they moved to Suwanee from a neighboring city was to be closer to the park and in such a family-friendly area.

mattyb_slingshot

And, MattyB loves performing around Atlanta. Back by popular demand, he is kicking off his “MattyBLive Summer 2014” concert tour with a hometown show in the Sidney Marcus Auditorium at the Georgia World Congress Center on Saturday, June 14th. For the remainder of the summer he will be performing headline shows across the US, in major cities, in California, Washington D.C., New Jersey, North Carolina and Illinois. When MattyB first went on tour he sold out two back-to-back headline shows at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre and other noteworthy locations. He’s excited to get back out on the road and see his fans, who are affectionately dubbed “Bgirls and Bboys”. “My fans are the best!” MattyB said, “they really support me and if there are any haters they back me up…plus they get crazy at all the concerts, which is fun! I even autographed a shoe one time!”

Recently, MattyB did a concert in St. Petersburg, Florida and he described the chaotic fan scene as “awesome”. He said, “people were crying and shaking and this was 2.5 hours after I finished my show and the “meet & greet” session…they were waiting outside for me!”

MattyB may have many adoring fans, but his classmates at school aren’t necessarily like other Bboys and Bgirls. While they definitely support their peer, they treat him the same as everyone else, “I’ve grown up with them since kindergarten…we mess with each other and they still punch me and stuff (jokingly of course!), he said. Already receiving marriage proposals from crazed Bgirls, MattyB is bound to be a heartbreaker! But, at 11 years old, he cares more about hanging out with family and friends and going to the skate park than he does about female attention! Mars often “encourages him” to get work done with promised trips to the skate park. In fact, as we were shooting our cover photo, I told him that we would take a couple photos in the backyard and he could bring his skateboard. His eyes lit up and he was very excited to show us his tricks.

“Dad, you missed it! Did you see it? I just ollied on my skateboard!” MattyB excitedly announced.

MattyB with his parents, Blake & Tawny Morris

MattyB with his parents, Blake & Tawny Morris

A lot of young stars have lost a sense of their moral compass and the Morris family is fighting to protect MattyB from that. Blake said that they are trying to maintain a sense of normalcy by keeping him in school and organized sports as long as possible. “He still has to try out for the school talent show just like everybody else…and he might not even make it into the show,” Blake explained. “For us, it is important to not release the authority (to the entertainment industry) that we have been given as parents. It is our job to teach him and instill values in him while he’s in the maturing process and if we can hold onto that, then things will turn out great.”

 


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31 Comments

  1. Kaylee Collison said:

    I loved reading this! I’m matts biggest fan. You should tell him to follow me on Instagram! I’m @kayleecollison12 and my fan page for Mattyb is @mattyb1114 I love Mattyb so much. My favorite song my him is turn it up and I think it’s called be mine. I haven’t been to any of his concerts though. Because I live in Minnesota USA. And he never comes here! Lol but yeah I wish I could meet him just like any other fan. And I think when I watched his first video I was one of the first views like 100 or something. I still tune into mattybraps channel everyday to see if there’s a new video. And if course I always look on Facebook and twitter for new posts.on my fan page of Mattyb, I have 301 followers! I make edits and Mattyb fan fiction stories. I also make comics too! Anyway since you probably know him. COULD YOU SHOW HIM THIS?!?!

  2. Kenley said:

    Matty b you are awesome never stop rapping and keep going and when do you have a nother show in Missouri because I want to see you preform because I never get to go to concerts and I want my first concert to be at one of yours. Thanks sinserly Kenley a huge bgirl. ☺

  3. Kenley said:

    Hey there is a song I hand in mind maybe you could sing I love it by icona paste type in I love it by icons pop clean version.

  4. Shagun said:

    Hey MattyB im a v.v.good singer and u r my role model I know that u r 1 year elder than me but still when I see u rap or singing I always start to learning that song I wish i could have a music video with u .

  5. Ansley said:

    Hey mattyb I just wanted to say hi and that i hope someday we could meet.btw this might sound strange but my birthday is right after yours.and I don’t just think your cute ,I have other great thoughts about you. P.P.you are so awesome!!

  6. ash said:

    Hey Matty B we are a big fan. You are our Fave singer all my sisters talK about at school they get there friends to talk about you.hey this is Chloe you are the best singer.hey this Tara I love ❤ you.hey this is day day I. am a big fan

  7. abigail said:

    Now this what I like to see, people who aren’t trying to tear down mattyb, on youtube they r so mean to him and I hate it. I’m 13 and I think its sad how I’m more respectable and nice than people no older then 40. wow. Treat others the way you want to be treated and if you don’t have anything nice to say than don’t say it at all!!!

  8. Helen said:

    I met him about a week ago at his football practice he is so nice i live 20-30 minutes from his house

  9. Angelaka. Jones said:

    The. DECEMBER. 29.
    Hello.IM. ANJALEKA AN. IM. 12. Matty b It’s. Okay because people. Talk. About. You. It’s. Okay. Because. Haters. Gonna hate. In you. Keep. rapping keep. Up. Your. Dream

  10. kelly said:

    Hi my name is kelly and I would like to tell you a little bit about her she LOVES you.Though she is ten she realy likes you. Thanks by.P.S her name is KAMERON!!!!!!

    love kameron

  11. Unique said:

    Mattyb you are so so cute and I love U and your music!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!$

  12. DJ Stalvey said:

    Hi Matthew Morris I like your music lot’s every day you have new friend DJ Stalvey get friend forever and I need job

  13. DJ Stalvey said:

    Hi Matthew Morris you are great friend good person please meet DJ Stalvey special friend for you Dj Stalvey his phone number is 239/910/0427

    • Melinda said:

      Wait what song are you talking about. He has a lot of music videos and songs really you need to pick one or don’t pick any

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