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Meet Matias Poro, a Queer Chilean-born Musician in Control of His Artistry | Shifter Fest Q+A

Chilean musician Matias Poro is releasing a new single, “Place,” on May 28 in support of Mental Health Awareness Month. Photo by Adriana Rodrigues.

This is an installment of exclusive Q+As with our Shifter Fest Vol. III performers. Be sure to check out their performances on our IGTV channel!

Meet Matias Poro — a queer Chileano artist based in Miami who is killing the music scene with his album “I’m Not Okay With You.”

Although he never intended to begin making music — much less pursue it as a career — Matias has already made a name for himself in the industry by successfully releasing both an EP and a fully composed album.

The artistry doesn’t end there. On top of writing and producing his own music, he also directs and edits his own music videos. This, combined with a voice so smooth that some might even consider him to be a Chilean version of Sam Smith makes Matias Poro a true jack of all trades.

Shifter Mag had the opportunity to chat with Matias and discuss his love for film, music and Ariana Grande.

Shifter Mag: Where are you from and how has that influenced your creativity and music?

Matias Poro: I’m originally from Chile, I moved here when I was fourteen years old because my dad switched jobs. He used to work for an American company when I was in Chile and he got transferred here for another company.

That shift in cultures has affected not only my music but every side of my being. I think both the Latino aspects from Miami and Chile are present in my music, but at the same time the Anglo aspect is part of it too. A lot of the music we listen to in Chile is very Anglo—like music from the UK, like Adele. Then when I came to Miami, that’s when I started listening to Latin music. I got into reggaeton and Bad Bunny, who I love, but if I would’ve stayed in Chile I don’t think I would’ve liked the same music that I like right now.

SM: What is your creative process like and do you think the pandemic played a role in it?

MP: It’s very different every time. For my EP that I released in 2019, I sat down and was like “I need to create something.” At the time, I was producing music for other people and I was like “I need to make an EP for myself” because I liked what I was doing.

When it comes to this album, to begin with, I didn’t want to do an album. If you’d asked any of my friends, they would tell you that I was the person that would always say “I’m never releasing an album.” I hated the idea of having to sit down and compose thirteen songs and I was like “no that’s terrible, I’m never doing that.”

… And then I did it.

I think this album was weird — most of the songs were written during the pandemic. It was a weird experience because I felt like I had to do something if not I was going to go crazy.

SM: When did you discover your passion for music? When was that fire ignited?

MP: I first discovered it when I was four years old. My dad is a sound engineer and I’ve been going to studios with him since I was three. I never intended to be a singer. I never intended to do it professionally. I wanted to when I was a kid, but I think every kid wants to be a singer in a sense.

My passion was really ignited in 2015-2016 when I was about to graduate from high school. That’s when I really had to sit down. I was like “what do I want with my life? What do I need? What do I want to do?”

SM: You directed and edited most of your music videos. Do you feel that it’s better to direct yourself or would you prefer a different POV?

MP: In the beginning, I didn’t want to. It’s not something that I wanted to take care of, but now I feel like it represents my vision more honestly. I do want to work with other people — I have been talking to more people about music that is going to come up in the summer.

There’s this really good quote by Kali Uchis where she says “I’m not just a singer, I’m an artist” and I agree 100%. I’m not going to put my name on something that I don’t feel represented on. If I don’t direct my own music videos, I would still want to be involved in the creative aspect of it.

SM: If you were to collaborate with other people, who would be your dream team both visually and musically?

MP: For music, I am the biggest Ariana Grande fan — I’ve seen her on every single tour that she’s been on. Ariana would be a dream come true. I would die to do a song with her. I would die to do a song with Troye Sivan because I’m obsessed with him. Conan Gray is someone I love as well. Those are the top three that come to my mind.

For visuals, I want to have a video directed by Director X. He’s done work for Drake, Little Mix, and he’s done videos for Ariana Grande. He’s insane and he’s only 30.

SM: As a queer man living in today's America, do you feel like it's hard for you to express yourself through your music?

MP: I don’t think it’s hard for me to express myself through my music. I’m a very blunt person so I say whatever the hell that I want. I have my boundaries, I'm aware of the settings and social settings and I wouldn’t say something that’s inappropriate. But when it comes to my music, I will say whatever the hell I want in my music. If you don't like it, just don't listen to it. There are millions of artists that you can listen to.

SM: What advice would you give to young queer folks who are looking to pursue a career in music or even film?

MP: Be yourself. It’s cliché but being yourself is the only way that you're going to connect with people, because people are going to relate to music or through your art. If you’re making queer-based music and art and highlighting the LGBTQ community, then people will relate to it if it’s honest. People can see through the bullshit and see through the manufacture.

But my biggest advice is don’t try to show something that you are not. Just stay true to yourself and don’t feel like you have to fit in a box because there’s a lot of trying to fit in a box in this community. Just do you.

Be on the lookout for Matias Poro's new song titled “Place” which will be released on May 28 for Mental Health Awareness Month.

You can keep up with Matias Poro on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube as well as stream his music on Spotify and Apple Music!

In the meantime, catch Matias Poro’s exclusive performance for Shifter Fest Vol. III on our IGTV channel:

Parts of this interview have been condensed and edited for clarity.

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