We had the good fortune of connecting with Matt Munoz and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Matt, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Growing up in a small farming town in the central valley with limited access to entertainment in the 80s meant you had to use your imagination and deep dive into the creative interests of your heart. Mine was and will always be music. During my youth as a beginning musician, I watched MTV and imitated my musical heroes, and of course spent a lot of time daydreaming. That passion has stayed burning inside and to this day brings me the most joy. I formed a band, had experiences playing alongside amazing musicians, done a lot of traveling and its an artform that has helped me to express myself in all areas of my life. From writing to performing, public speaking and beyond, I knew I’d always be at my personal best if I stayed connected to my passion for music and the arts.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started my creative journey as a student in the art of music in every sense of the word. I was shy, but absorbed music, performance, and music history past and present like a sponge. If I wasn’t playing my saxophone, I was listening to every type of sound and rhythm imaginable. I’ve never limited myself to just one sound or style as a both a listener and creator. I’ve always loved the free expression and “be yourself” attitude of punk rock. That attitude allows to you create and perform at your highest levels, whether it be punk, jazz, ska, Latin, soul, rock, country, or hip-hop. Because my tastes were so eclectic, I was able to develop my own personal style as a musician and lyricist. I guess that comes from growing up without social networking and relying on your imagination to escape boredom and create your own world.

Every artist has their own sets of obstacles to overcome in order to succeed. Mine has always been shyness and having confidence to share ideas your heart guides you to, especially in a team setting. The lessons I’ve learned during my life could fill a book. Never be afraid to try something new, be humble, and never ever be afraid to fail.

I’ve always tried my best to present myself honestly, sincerely and to show gratitude to my audience when I’m onstage. I’ll only take the stage if I’m ready to give 200%. I don’t know how or why I ended up becoming a bandleader for my band Mento Buru after starting out in a support role in the early years. That role helped teach me the value of professionalism, respect and business as an artist. Once again, never be afraid to fail now and then, a success of varied degrees is always around the corner…peaks and valleys.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Depending on the mood and time of year, we’d definitely start with food. California has such a abundance of amazing cuisine choices, but we’d definitely start with Mexican food – because California has the best. And because food trucks can now be found everywhere, you don’t have to travel far. My shortlist would be to roll into Guisados in Boyle Heights (East Los,) and Las Islitas Mariscos (Bakersfield.) That’s a road trip, but worth it. From there it’s hiking through the Old Zoo at Griffith Park. I love that place. It freaks some people out, but you’ll be amazed at what you’ll see. It also leads through a beautiful trek in the hills. LA is filled with amazing trails. In the central valley, Wind Wolves Preserve and the Kern River hills are gorgeous. You can find peace, tranquility and it will help you cleanse your creative mind. After the hike, you can always stop for a cold local brew at one of the countless city breweries. LA favorites: Golden Road, Angel City. Kern County: Temblor, Kern River, Lengthwise. In the LA evening, you must get some Cuban food at Versailles, some French food at TAIX, then go dance it off at Funky Sole at El Cid, or sweat it off at a live show at one of LA’s best live venues like The Echo that has awesome indie shows, or a classic venue like The Palladium. Not a bad spot in the house. If you still have some energy left and an empty stomach, TOI on Sunset has some of the best Thai food you’ll find in the wee hours. Or you can always head on over to K Town for some spicy Korean food and to keep partying. Ain’t no party like a K Town party. On Sunday, find the nearest crepe cafe, then head over to LACMA to enjoy some of the latest exhibitions and if you have time, the Gene Autry Museum of the American West is a must. Repeat all if necessary.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I was blessed to have amazing, loving, (and patient) parents, Arturo and Socorro, who supported and encouraged me to succeed at every stage of my life. I’d have no story to tell without them. They dealt with the creative noisemaking of my youth, but allowed me to develop and grow without judgment. They were my biggest supporters and I was fortunate to have them along to enjoy various stages of success in my life. They were the best and are truly missed.

Website: https://linktr.ee/mattomunoz

Instagram: instagram.com/mattomunoz

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattmunoz/

Twitter: twitter.com/mattomunoz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mattomunoz/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/mattmunoz

Image Credits
Bob Fuentes, Miranda Whitworth, Jeremy Gonzalez, Rob Perez, Pariecee McGriff.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.