With all the high drama and decadence in the lyrics of his dark but compelling tracks as blackbear, it’s amazing Matthew Musto has any time to work. Yet the heavily tattooed singer and rapper who became one of the 2010s’ biggest online breakouts remains equally productive as a composer and producer. As he demonstrates with a list of clients and collaborators that includes Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Gucci Mane, Rivers Cuomo, and Mike Posner, he’s a multi-tasker who can cross any remaining divides between pop, alt-rock, R&B, and hip-hop. The Florida native has been proving his depth and dexterity ever since he left his high-school punk-pop band, Polaroid, in 2008 and moved to Los Angeles to work with Ne-Yo, an early mentor who heard his potential. In 2012, Musto scored his first major success when his writing partnership with Posner (who he also joins in the duo Mansionz) yielded Bieber’s hit “Boyfriend.” As demand for Musto’s services grew, he gained traction as an artist in his own right with mixtapes and digital releases. On f-bomb-laden tracks like “ifdc” and “Hot Girl Bummer,” he combines his pop smarts with the harsher sensibility of SoundCloud rap and The Weeknd’s world-weary take on fame. Blackbear’s second album since signing to Interscope, 2019’s Anonymous, saw him temper those earlier shock tactics with a greater maturity as he explored his psyche’s darkest corners in ways that were funny, vulnerable, or surprising—or all three at once.
HOMETOWNDaytona Beach, FL
BORNNovember 27, 1990