The venue may be called the Orillia Opera House, but Canadian Matt Dusk is ready to sing there… and swing!
“Let’s turn back the clock,” the 38-year-old Toronto-born crooner, tells BarrieToday. “Do you remember the time when the Concorde was the fastest passenger plane on earth? When it was possible to travel from Paris to New York in three-and-a-half hours? Those were cool times, when cocktails tasted good and you didn’t think of an eventual headache afterwards, when you didn’t have to think how to dress because there was only one way.”
Finally, he says, “they were times where they only played one kind of music…Our kind of music!”
Dusk, who regularly recreates the feel of a Sinatra performance in everything he does, hits the Opera House stage Friday, Oct. 13. You’re excused if your first thought of Matt hearkens back to the Mark Burnett-produced reality show The Casino.
Dusk says that’s all right with him, considering the double-edged nature of a TV show.
“The positive side is you get mass exposure,” he says, “For example, while I was on The Casino, some episodes were viewed by as many as 20 million people in North America. The downside is that television focuses on your personality and not your artistry, therefore some people don’t take you seriously as a musician.”
Even so, Dusk reckons, “I still think it was a great platform to help launch my career on a global scale. People still remember me from The Casino and I still keep in contact with a few of the people on that show.”
It’s also just fine, thanks, that people spot the vocal and physical similarities between him and Frank, Dino and the rest of the crooners of that era. Like fellow Canadian crooner and rival Michael Buble, Dusk shows a good deal of respect for the time when that style of singing was in its heyday.
“(They were) guys who were well dressed, liked a good martini, could sing, and were always hanging around beautiful people. Today, their lives have been romanticized to a bygone era, where things were easier and where everyone was having a good time. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?”
One of his more recent efforts was a duet album, Just the Two of Us, with the Polish singer Margaret. Duets are among Matt’s favourite projects.
“The idea of collaborating with other artists is exciting, as I treat it like a dance… always figuring out how connect one step at a time. Margaret, although a big pop star, was trained classically and played jazz in high school. All I was doing was bringing her back to her early youth,” he recalls with humour.
“Now I know how Tony Bennett feels singing with Lady Gaga.”
And, while not exactly ready for the rocking chair himself, Dusk figures Margaret’s youth worked in her favour when they made the CD.
“Although I’ve improved over my years, I can get set in my ways. When you’re young you can throw caution to the wind and just try everything. She helped me become a little less stubborn… and for that reason alone I’d definitely record with her. And I know we will.”
Dusk is known for his debut album, Two Shots, and its follow-up, Back in Town, both of which went gold, is in process of cutting two new albums, and is off-the-charts enthused about them. For him, “it’s like 1962 all over again! My band and I are always trying out new music!”
Matt Dusk plays the Orillia Opera House Friday, Oct. 13. To learn more, click here.