Melodic pop-trap beats and inspiring stories bring blind music producer and recording artist Mattmac together in collaboration with contemporary artist River Waterhen for this, his newest single and video for “Break Me Down” — available now.
Known for using his platform to inspire others, the song serves as an intersectional moment celebrating two young individuals passionately pursuing their brightest futures — and is the latest to land from Mattmac’s recently released debut album, 20/20. The project “Break Me Down” ushers audiences into the individual lives of Mattmac and River, and how they are connected through a larger narrative of Indigenous youth who are breaking the cycle, overcoming barriers, and finding their own pathways to success.
At 380,000+ streams across Spotify alone, Mattmac’s premiere release 20/20 features poppy vocals combined with hard-hitting trap beats, and thoughtfully honest lyrics that give listeners a glimpse into the mind of a blind creative as he paints vivid sonic pictures of struggle, healing, celebrating love, family and life on the reserve.
The eight-track album’s lead single “Paradise” quickly rose to become a popular song in the Canadian music circuit; garnering more than 89,000+ streams on Spotify and another 76,000+ on YouTube, it hit Top 3 on the NCI FM Indigenous Music Countdown hosted by SiriusXM, and Top 50 on the Mediabase radio charts. With heavy local support from Virgin Radio Winnipeg, the song has become both a national and local sensation — including features with CBC Indigenous, CTV National News, Winnipeg Sun, and more.
For “Break Me Down,” the video focuses on River Waterhen as a young, Indigenous man whose life growing up on the reserve was never easy. Ultimately, he graduates high school, furthers his education, and moves to a big city — which turns out to be an adjustment all its own.
There was an element of life imitating art: River Waterhen is a Cree contemporary dancer from Island Lake Cree Nation, SK who is currently pursuing his education at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre in Toronto, while pursuing his own path as a creator online.
While it’s not step for step, River’s story is overarching one Mattmac knows all too well; “Break Me Down” speaks to his personal struggles living in a small, isolated community, and how it’s easy to lose motivation.
Hailing from Garden Hill First Nation, Manitoba, Mattmac has been blind from birth. After struggling with depression at a young age, and credits both his mother’s support and music for helping him cope; he grew up surrounded by music both on the radio and singing in his community’s gospel choir.
A fully self-taught artist, Mattmac first began to make beats and write songs when he was 13 years old, and later taught himself how to play piano and guitar. He also has impressive skills with beat production software and equipment, and attributes his creative competencies to the support of the Blind & Famous group — a USA based collective of blind music artists who collaborate and connect with one another through the internet.
Mattmac was first launched into the music scene in 2016 when N’we Jinan, a travelling music studio program, visited his community and invited him to collaborate on a project. Pulling inspiration from his personal story, they created a song and video titled “Help You See” that has been watched early 250,000 times on YouTube and Facebook. Through this experience, he connected with International artist Nelly Furtado, and performed alongside her at Indigenous Day Live and We Day Canada Day in 2017; they continue to work together.
Upon 20/20’s release, Mattmac has been donating 50% of profits from CD sales to the Bear Clan Patrol’s hamper program, a service that feeds over 400+ families living on the streets of Winnipeg each week.