Beacon of the day | Young singer finds passion amid tough childhood in deep rural community

Matthew Malcolm now (left) and a throw-back to his 2010 performances in the All Together Sing competition

Despite the difficulties he faced as a child, Matthew Malcolm Blake has been a show-stopper in his own right.

He recalled being a lead singer on the Oberlin High School choir, which won the 2010 edition of All Together Sing, a popular competition broadcast on national television.

Matthew’s early life, however, was marked by abject poverty and even homelessness for a brief period of time.

“Life growing up was very poor – poor, poor, poor,” he said emphatically.

Matthew, who did not know his father until he was about nine years old, grew up with members of his extended family in the deep rural community of Hall’s Green, St Andrew.

He, along with eight other relatives, lived in a three-bedroom house.

They used a pit latrine.

They struggled to find food.

The children passed down school uniforms and bathed daily in Zion Hill River.

Matthew recalled: “In high school, school started at 7:30AM, and so we would get up 5:30 every morning to go to the river and then go to school.”

Music, to Matthew, was as true as the river.

His older brothers – Jermaine and Jerome Blake – were members of a singing group at River View Seventh Day Adventist Church, located in their community.

Matthew often went to soak up the rehearsals.

“At that moment, I knew that music was my calling; music was my way of life,” he posited.

The songster refined his talent and performed at different events while enrolled at Lawrence Tavern Primary School and Oberlin High.

Matthew, however, could not find peace at home.

At age 15, he was thrown out for being ‘rude’.

He stayed with different relatives in his community until he relocated to Portmore, St. Catherine, where he resided with an aunt for two years.

Matthew, now 23, lives in the community of Ewarton, St. Catherine.

He has remained true to his deepest passion – music.

Last week Friday, Matthew, who uses the stage name Matthew Malcolm, premiered the video for his ‘Unholy’ single. Eleven days prior, he was a guest performer on BBC 1Xtra.

The artiste, who often works with the ‘Year Of The Misfits’ song-writing duo, also released his EP titled Rebirth in May this year. He is working on his second EP.

Matthew told The Beacon that, although he specializes in the Pop genre, Jamaica, the birthplace of Reggae and Dancehall, remains etched on his mind.

His ultimate goal, he said, is to leave a rich musical legacy behind.

“I see myself growing; I see myself surpassing where I am at now definitely,” Matthew declared, while encouraging young people to stick steadfastly to their dreams.

“Do not stop chasing your dreams; do not stop loving; do not stop caring and being at peace with yourselves and with others,” he further said.

By Horace Mills, Journalist


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