Exploring the forests of consciousness

Matt on stage in Tarifa last year.
Matt on stage in Tarifa last year. / S. ELISABETH
  • Musician, writer and teacher Matt Rivers, who has a deep connection with spirituality, will perform at a fundraising concert for Cudena this Saturday

Matt Rivers is a singer, composer, poet and writer who describes his art as “exploring the forests of consciousness, time and space, while surfing the waves of thought, love and being”.

Inspired by the poems and lyrics of Jim Morrison and Bob Dylan, the 40-year-old British artist started writing his own material as a teenager. Previously based in Brighton, he formed a band that was sponsored by the Arts Council of Great Britain, receiving a prestigious grant to develop his music. This led to the production of his first EP in 2007.

The disc was recorded as part of the Leverhulme Artist Programme, a year-long professional development opportunity run by the Arts Council. Matt was one of five artists selected to take part in the programme, which included seminars with established artists and industry professionals and free studio time.

Matt has moved through various artistic mediums, beginning with art and poetry, and then moving into acting and music. He started learning guitar at 14 and began attending acting school at 16, having accidentally landed a part in a play with a local youth theatre group. Matt performed in a number of local theatre groups before moving onto college to further his performing arts experience.

In 2011, Matt left Brighton in order to travel. He first went to Greece, where he met his girlfriend, who is, in his words, “a constant inspiration”. The couple decided to travel together and headed to India, where Matt gained an interest in yoga. However, he was eager to concentrate on his music so, after three years, he decided to move to Spain.

“The Costa del Sol seemed to tick a lot of boxes as I have visited here many times over the years. I found a job in a yoga retreat in Malaga, but following a holiday in Tarifa, I was sure this was the place I wanted to live,” Matt explains to SUR in English.

Spirituality and meditation

Matt has had a deep interest in spirituality and has studied meditation and consciousness since he was young. It was while in India that Matt became a yoga teacher and today he runs yoga classes in Tarifa. He also runs reiki and soul writing courses, all aimed, he explains, “at opening up, stretching ourselves, finding the creative centre and sharing it with others”.

“Reiki is a hands-on energy healing modality. It encourages the flow of well-being and deepens our connection to each other,” Matt says enthusiastically.

Matt's writing practice flows from his connection to his own creative spirit and he believes everyone can learn how to tap into their own creative well.

“Soul writing is a writing practice designed to help release and develop one's inner voice and creative spirit. At the same time, it is a healing tool that can help us process old and current issues,” he says.

This not a traditional writing course, as it does not require participants to be experts in spelling and grammar. The course does not teach the mechanics of writing, but rather encourages one's individual voice to emerge. Matt claims that the course helps us to find an inner flow of thoughts and words that we previously may have thought we lacked.

“Soul Writing points to the natural creative being that lives within all of us,” the artist explains.

Matt uses this process for his song writing and his lyrics are sourced from life experiences. They are about overcoming adversity, being human and celebrating life, as his recently released debut album, Nature, will demonstrate.

He is currently taking his solo acoustic show to venues on the Costa del Sol throughout April, May and June.

Even though Matt adheres to a rather hectic schedule, he likes to find the time to use his music to help local charities and this weekend he will perform a fundraising concert in aid of Cudeca. The concert will be held in Fredericks Bar in Benalmádena Pueblo on Saturday 28 April.

“I think we all need to come together as a race and start caring for each other more and more. Community and compassion are the cornerstones of a happier and healthier life,” the artist concludes.