(Photo: Kristian Dowling/PictureGroup)
If people dare to question the integrity of today’s R&B music by saying that the old school trumps what the new school has to offer, one thing is obvious — they haven’t been introduced to newcomer Mateo or seen him leave his heart on the stage like he did Tuesday night in NYC at SOB’s.
The 25-year-old Krucial Noise signee donned a red suit, a plain black tee and minimal jewelry during his set as he performed material from his mixtapes Love & Stadiums and Love & Stadiums II. The majority of his mixtape material samples artists that he admires. “I usually pick songs that I like that are current, and that I feel like I can flip in an interesting way,” Mateo said of his Kanye West, Nicki Minaj and Imogen Heap samples. The rookie also showed range and depth with impressive covers of Chris Brown’s “Beautiful People” and Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”
Surprisingly, Mateo’s show wasn’t overrun by women and proved that he creates an all-inclusive brand of R&B. “I’ve been told a lot that [what I sing] is what a guy wants to say to his girl. It’s about love, but it’s from a male’s perspective,” he continues, “some dudes want a relationship, some want a girl, some want to fall in love.”
He closed the show with his newest single “Say It’s So.” He wrote it, Grammy Award-winner Kerry “Krucial” Brothers produced it and Alicia Keys and her main squeeze, Swizz Beatz, both graced the track with their vocals. “I almost fell out of my chair when I heard her voice on my record, I’m like ‘are you serious?’ She liked the record and that means the world to me that she was down to do it.”
Mateo is just getting started and has barely scratched the surface of what he’s going to offer the music world. He said that one of the best pieces of advice that he was ever given was to stay humble, and if he does, the only direction that he can go is up.
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