By Antonio Capurro
One month ago surfing on YouTube my eyes and then my ears stopped with the delicious music of the unique Shirtless Violonist, the only one of his kind. If you still don’t know who is Matthew Olson you may start right now with the Q & A that he completed for all his fans and followers…
For Matthew playing shirtless means to be a visible proud gay man trying to change prejudices and stereotypes, but also a way to empower himself and inspire young gay people to feel the beauty inside themselves without fears.
Let’s meet the hunk SHIRTLESS VIOLINIST. And now listen to the music and of course look at his abs. I can’t avoid it, and you?
How it was to assume you were a boy with a different sexual orientation? Was it difficult to come out of the closet in front of your family and friends?
I realized I was gay at a young age but did nothing to act on it. I grew up in a very religious environment where homosexuality was no accepted, so it took me a few years to come out of the closet. When at last I did, I discovered that most people embraced me and I had nothing to fear.
Did you realize from a very young age you wanted to study music and be a musician in this case a violinist?
When I was 3 years old I saw a violinist on TV and my parents immediately noticed my positive reaction. They started me with weekly lessons and I just loved it! I don’t remember my life without the violin and I plan to keep it that way.
Why to play your violin shirtless?
My mission is to make classical music sexy! I hope I am doing that as The Shirtless Violinist. Pop singers have been showing skin for decades – it’s about time classical musicians had a turn!
Is there any musician do you admire?
Itzhak Perlman is my favorite living violinist. He has the most beautiful vibrato! I admire musicians of all genres and love the creativity that each genre brings to music! I am not a composer, so I don’t write original compositions but I arrange all of my cover songs myself. Sometimes I need to combine 2 songs into one!
Do you consider yourself an activist? Do you support LGBTQ events? Going to pride parade?
Yes, I am proud to be part of the LGBT community and am active in my community and have attended Pride events for several years. Last year I was in Vancouver, BC for Pride.
How did you meet your boyfriend? Are you planning to get married?
I met Paul, my boyfriend online over a year ago. That was the beginning of our creative collaboration making music videos and inspiring each other. Creating the Shirtless Violinist videos has been a wonderful way for our relationship to grow and for use to have a meaningful creative outlet! Paul has Retinitis Pigmentosa, which is a degenerative eye disease. Despite the challenges that creates we have only experienced positive encouragement from those around us.
What goals do you want to pursue like a violinist?
My dream is to record several albums and be able to tour so I can play live concerts for my fans! Some people don’t think that a classical musician should also be sexy – but pop musicians have done it for years. I want to make classical music sexy!
Do you think so would be allowed to play shirtless in a classical concert?
I’m not sure – but I hope that an orchestra that also plays pop music would be open to that idea!
Which one of your YouTube videos was a challenge to record?
My Chandelier music video was the most challenging to film. I spent four hours spinning upside down while playing the violin. I’ve never been motion sick before – but by the end of it I was so sick I couldn’t eat and had to lay down and close my eyes.
You get a huge feedback on Instagram and lots of fans love what you do and your music. Do you intertact with them?
I love interacting with my fans and hearing from them. I love meeting people, connecting with them, and learning about others!
I know you are a very healthy man. You love working out, how long do you train in the gym and outdoors?
Fitness has always been a passion of mine and so being the Shirtless Violinist was a natural way to combine my two greatest loves: music and fitness. I workout six days a week for about an hour and a half. I’m at the gym so often I call it my second office.
How do you see the LGBTQ rights around the world?
I am very fortunate to live in a country that respects LGBT rights. Many people around the world are still fitting for the rights I enjoy. My heart and prayers go out to those who don’t have the freedom to be themselves.
What do you when you are not thinking about ideas for your videos or rehearsal with your violin?
I am constantly working on new ideas and planning the next exciting steps for the Shirtless Violinist. When I do take a break I love getting outside and connecting with nature
“It would be a dream come true to be able to travel to Latin America and record some videos. There are so many beautiful locations in Latin America and it is home to some of the most beautiful music!”