Matthew Schuler, top six finalist on NBC’s The Voice, danced with more than 60 U.S. Dream Academy students on June 11 at the 13th Annual Power of a Dream Gala. The event was held at the Washington Hilton, in Washington, D.C.
Schuler, a Philadelphia native, has turned his loss and elimination on NBC’s vocal competition into a variety of performance opportunities and is inspiring fans everywhere to dream big and have fun. While visiting the District, Schuler took a moment to speak with the AFRO about his experience on The Voice and the current trajectory of his career.
AFRO: How are you doing?
Matthew Schuler: I’m doing really well. I just got off the stage at the U.S. Dream Academy, their gala event. It’s been a really, really, awesome ride! I’ve been here for one day. I got to meet 60 plus amazing kids. Being able to sing and dance with them, it was definitely [an] honor.
AFRO: You are a very inspirational guy! What was it like, your ride on The Voice and your opportunities now? What’s going on?
Schuler: My ride on The Voice was nothing short of amazing. I was so blessed to make it past the first open call. I went to New York, the Javits Convention Center, and there were about 10,000 people there that weekend. I made through to the callbacks, and then to the executive callbacks, and then finally to the blind auditions.
So many people didn’t get any chair turns. I was blessed enough to get a “4-Chair Turn,” it’s ridiculous. It was like one of the biggest honors on the show to get, and I was floored.
Then to make to the top six, it was an amazing ride. I got so much experience, singing in front of 18 million people live every week. You can’t buy that type of [exposure]. It’s a priceless experience. It definitely catapulted me. America’s been watching me. You can pull me up on YouTube, you can “Google” my name now. Being on that show, it’s totally given me a leg up on the competition [compared to] people who are just starting out and haven’t had that type of exposure.
I’m definitely trying to use it to my advantage. I’ve been doing a lot of corporate events. I’ve been to Las Vegas, I sang a halftime show there during March Madness, and for the U.S. Rugby Tournament, the World Cup series. I went to Jamaica right after the show. I hung out with Shaggy. I actually have a song out with Shaggy right now, it’s called “Lovin’ You”. We were there for a benefit concert for the Bustamante Hospital [for children]. We raised a whole bunch of money for them.
AFRO: You mentioned Creative Arts Agency, what’s the plan?
Schuler: I’m really trying to get into anything I can get my hands on. I want to be a well-rounded musician, artist, and actor. I’ve got an awesome manager. The dude’s from South Africa. Jaco Booyens. He’s been working with this agency called Actors, Models, and Talent for Christ (AMTC). We’ve been working on A&R [Artists and Repertoire] and on developing my brand as an artist. You are putting out a product, you’ve got to be clear about your vision, what you want people to see and know you by. We’ve been working on all that and a lot of songwriting.
AFRO: What is your brand going to be? You are so charming, what will you sell America … the world on?
Schuler: It’s actually got a lot to do with this gala, dreaming big. I want to enhance the imagination of America. I want to create stories and sing about more things than just the stuff you hear on the radio. I feel like I’ve been called to something different. I want to be a storyteller.
AFRO: Did you dream big as a kid?
Schuler: I guess so, I’m here now. I was always a huge daydreamer. I would have these random thoughts and they would go on these crazy tangents in the middle of classes. I’ve always been a dreamer.
AFRO: What would you tell your fans?
Schuler: To dream, definitely. Try to think outside of the box. I feel like I definitely don’t think like other people think. I take ownership of it [my dreams]. I know I’m different, I’m unique. I think that everyone is fearfully and wonderfully made, and everyone has their differences.
AFRO: So is Christ first for you?
Schuler: He is absolutely first, number one, numero uno. I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for Him.
AFRO: Any words of caution for those that want to get on The Voice, those that want to challenge the world with their music?
Schuler: I would say, pray a lot. (laughter) Don’t be upset if someone tells you no, just keep going and stay true to yourself at all times. And have fun with it. There have definitely been doors that have closed towards me. You can’t let it get you down. Just get up and keep going!
AFRO: How can your fans find you on Social Media?
Schuler: You can find me on Twitter @MatthewSchuler_. On Instagram (IG), it’s like an old nickname when I played football, Rugby and stuff, @Schuuuuler, with 4 U’s. My website is http://www.matthewschulerofficial.com/.
Andrea “Aunni” Young is a contributing writer at the AFRO. Reach out to her firstname.lastname@example.org