A FORMER Hartlepool man is living the showbiz dream after moving to the capital saw him fulfil his songwriting ambition.
Matthew Heanes has been signed to the Warner/Chappell music label for the past four months as a songwriter writing tracks for pop acts across Europe.
He will jet off to New York next month to work with producers at the major recording label, which is responsible for huge stars like Katy Perry, Muse, and Eric Clapton.
Matthew, 29, has been working with a host of producers and these links led to Warner, one of the world’s leading music labels, approaching him.
Since moving to London five years ago, Matthew has been working alongside top names including David Z, the Grammy award-winning producer of Prince, who has also invited him to Nashville to write.
Matthew has also worked with Stereophonics producer Steve Bush, Jamiroquai, Ed Sheeran producer Si Hulbert and has done vocal work for Maurice White, lead singer and songwriter of American soul legends Earth, Wind and Fire, and Alan Glass, who worked with soul diva Aretha Franklin.
He is also due to appear on Songs of Praise tomorrow as a backing singer for X Factor winner Joe McElderry.
Matthew, a former pupil of Lynnfield and High Tunstall schools, said: “The biggest thing has been signing to Warner as a writer.
“They just picked me up through being round the London scene.
“It’s all I ever wanted to do.
“London life’s good, it’s a very creative city and I’d recommend anyone in the arts to make the move.”
The former Hartlepool Sixth Form College, who counts jazz musician Jamie Cullum as a friend, has been performing professionally since he was 13.
He sang and played bass in a band called In Blue with acclaimed former town musician, Gareth Proctor, and performed at local venues including The Studio, The Clarendon and Belle Vue Social Club.
After attending the sixth form college, he studied performing arts at Cumbria University in Carlisle.
After graduating, Matthew, who has played at Glastonbury for the past two years and performed in the VIP tent for stars including Wayne and Colleen Rooney, went on to work as a singing teacher at The Sage in Gateshead.
He then moved to Leeds to study a PCSE teaching course and taught drama at Ralph Thoresby High School.
Matthew, who is also in a band called Kubla Kahn, which has appeared on Channel 4’s Orange Unsigned programme, said: “I was playing the piano in the drama hall and the kids said ‘what are you doing?’
“They said ‘get yourself down to London and get on with it’.”
Matthew, whose influences are John Mayer, the Dave Matthews Band and Maroon 5, stopped his course and went to London.
He initially worked in producer management with Stephen Budd, who has dealt with the producers of Coldplay, U2 and Manic Street Preachers.
Matthew, whose mum Denise Heanes, an art teacher, lives in the Hart Lane area and whose late father Kenneth Heanes was a professional actor who performed in the first UK stage production of Tommy, is now writing tracks and is also a singing tutor, vocal coach and session musician.