Eastman Student Wins Contest at the Met
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"It was eye opening and it’s still very surreal," said Matt Grills, a Master's student at the Eastman School of Music. "I can’t really put it into perspective, because when you start doing this and you start realizing this is what you want to do as a career, you don’t think that the next step is the Met competition."
The 25-year-old tenor from Connecticut credits his Eastman teachers with what he describes as exponential growth as a singer. Two years ago when he was a senior at Boston Conservatory, Grills says he wasn't sure he'd get in.
"My teacher was like you should think about Eastman, I thought 'oh, I’ll never get into Eastman, it’s such an incredible institution, everybody’s so smart and musical,' and when I came to audition I was like, I have to go here."
"It's changed my life, really," he added.
Grills says music has always brought him comfort, but he didn't take an interest in singing until he was in high school.
"I went to a production of West Side Story at my high school, I think I was 15, and it was just like 'Oh, what have I been missing,' you know, this whole time. It was so cool and so I immediately went to the chorus teacher there and was like I really, really, want to be in chorus and just kinda got the ball rolling and ever since then it hasn’t really stopped rolling so I’ve had a great time."
"This is a little embarrassing, but I was a huge Whitney Houston fan when I was in high school and I think she really inspired me to sing, what a voice. The voice that came out of her you just didn’t expect."
When Grills graduates from Eastman School of Music with his master's in voice this April, he'll head to Oregon where he'll begin a yearlong residency with the Portland Opera.
Beyond that, Grills hopes to be perceived as a nice guy, use his musical abilities to make a difference, and continue making a living, doing what he loves.
"It's been a whirlwind of an experience but yeah, it’s been so much fun."