Broadway veteran, Billboard dance sensation and People Magazine’s first-ever gay “Hottest Bachelor” Matt Zarley has received critical acclaim as an LGBT artist for over a decade since his debut on the music scene. As one of the first openly gay male artists in music, a lot has changed in the world for the LGBT community. In his latest endeavor, hopefulROMANTIC, Zarley has created an original musical film about one man's emotional journey through love, heartbreak, and healing. It's a universal story about loving, letting go, and holding onto faith that there's somebody for everybody. In addition, the film also features film and TV icon, Star Trek star and LGBT activist, George Takei.
The project consists of not only the film but, the original soundtrack and pop album titled “hopefulROMANTIC – The Deluxe Edition,” featuring new, acoustic renditions of songs featured in the film, as well as a bonus video duet with Jeb Havens – all available now!!!
Say Hello, Matt.
MS: I was just watching the trailer for "hopefulRomantic" for the third time when you called, it's gained a lot of fans.
MZ: Yeah, well, thank you. It's really cool.
MS: So, what was the inspiration for the project?
MZ: Originally I was writing a little CD of love songs. Very fond and very sweet, I was in love at the time, in a relationship, very happy. I wrote a song called "Somebody For Everybody" it's very up and fun, and I wanted to stay on that path. A couple of weeks before the writing process for the EP my relationship ended. I was sideswiped, I didn't see it coming, it ended very abruptly. It really broke my heart. Well, than when that happened I wanted the EP to be really different and I wrote the song called "Constantly" which is featured in the film. It's about when you break-up with somebody and you run into each other in the future, you don't want them to see you dying. Your heart is broke and you don't want then to see you like that. All of it is completely opposite of what I meant the EP to be. This message was what was relate able to me at the time and everybody, universal. So I started finishing the songs with that idea in mind. In that process I re-connected with Ben Pollack who directed my "Trust Me" music video. He called me and said: "What's going on?" I sent him the demo for "Constantly" and he said I'll direct this music video for free. So I told him I had an idea for three music videos for a project with one narrative. That's how it started. As I was finishing the song, as every writer I started to fall in love with my stuff. I started to think it would be great if this chorus would transition into this next song, so before I knew it all the songs were connected and it became an actual short film.
MS: Very cool.
Matt Zarley & George Takei
MS: Yeah, I was going to ask you about that, I thought, look! It's George!
MZ: Stafford Arima, who is the director of George's show on Broadway right now "Allegiance" is a really dear friend of mine. I was I New York, he was in New York and we were going to shoot a song and I asked him: "would you feel comfortable doing an E-Mail to George? I would love him to be involved in this project if he is interested."
MS: That's great!
MZ: Honestly, I didn't know if he was going to have the time. He was enjoying a revival in his career and all these incredible things are happening. Not to mention he has taken over social media.
MS: Yeah, he really has taken over social media. (both laugh)
MZ: The stars were aligned I guess. It just worked out. The whole shoot was an incredible experience. It's a very personal project, but I also learned in the creative process how much I am not married to my own stuff, which is very important for me to learn about myself. It also made me aware of a lot of skills I didn't realize I had. It's been a wonderful two years for me, it has opened my eyes a lot to where I want to go with my career.
MS: How do you think social media affects romantic relationships?
MZ: I think it depends on how much you buy into it and put yourself out there. My last relationship was a little more out there than I have ever been before. I keep a pretty private life I think, for the most part. But people knew who he was. We were just a little more visible I guess. I would not do that again. Because if it doesn't work out, you have to explain yourself and everyone gets in your business. You have all these snarky comments why people thought it ended. It's like: "None of you know." I'm not the type of person to air my laundry for everyone to know. It's not my scene, I don't need to do that for my own game.
MS: You're preaching to the choir on that one.
MZ: I can't stand people who post on Facebook, their single, their in a relationship, it's constant status changing. When they break-up with someone and air their whole fight on social media. It's just so tired. I don't get it and it leaves a really bad taste in my mouth.
MS: Mine too!
MZ: I don't even voice my critical opinion on pop culture. I never really voice my critical opinion on anything. Not only because you don't know who is going to read it and how it could back and bite you in the ass number one. But who cares what I think?! (both laugh)
MZ: When you're in love it's fine to share it. It's when you break up and shit comes down, and you get to the minute updates on stuff. That's when I'm like, ugh!
MS: I agree. Is it safe to assume Matt, that you are still a "hopefulRomantic?"
MZ: Yes, I am. This project really helped heal me in a very personal way.
hopefulROMANTIC (the short film and recording) is available on iTunes and other digital outlets. For more information visit or hopefulROMANTICmovie.com.
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