Matthew was born in 2000 in the South of England and grew up always wanting to create. Initially it was writing and acting that interested him until he was first introduced to the ukulele in 2011.
His school offered a service where he and his classmates would learn a different instrument every term, cycling through traditional instruments such as clarinet, samba drums, brass and more. To conclude the programme the ukulele was taught and it instantly captured the imagination of Matthew.
He continued playing as a hobby beyond school though it was still acting that he wanted to pursue until he discovered the music of George Formby when he got hooked and learnt the Formby style technique at aged 13.
Matthew’s parents were getting a little sick of just hearing the songs of George Formby and so they paid for ukulele lessons with a local teacher who encouraged him to consider playing popular music. To make the most of it, they got Matthew to always sing a few songs to their guests whenever there were any over, performances which were probably some of the most scary to date.
Over time Matthew’s repertoire grew into a wide selection of musical comedy songs from all sources and after a few internal school performances he performed his first public gig in December 2015 in Odiham at the famous Unplugthewood open mic. He quickly became a favourite on the local open mic scene, before landing his first paid gig in April 2016 at a pub in Yateley.
For the next few years Matthew continued to take what is now his ‘Matthew Quilliam Show’ musical comedy act on tour, playing at as many pubs and festivals as possible. He also started adding more range to his services such as playing in care homes, at vintage events and teaching as well as adding more instruments to his skillset such as bass guitar and tenor banjo.
Soon Matthew’s technical skills on the ukulele would outgrow the demands of the repertoire that was so popular at his gigs, so whilst he has continued to perform his act, he has begun to explore original idiomatic repertoire to the ukulele, playing both traditional and modern pieces. He is currently very active and popular within a circle of modern classical ukulele composers and players.
Matthew’s performing has climbed from strength to strength and he is fortunate enough to be able to gig enough to make a living off of it alongside his current musical studies at University of Chichester Conservatoire.
Matthew hopes to graduate with his degree in music by 2023 before launching into a full time musical career. Along the way he intends to study in Hawaii for either a masters degree or as an apprentice for some of that country’s top players.
His passion for music does not overshadow his other interests. His enjoyment of writing, directing and editing films has seen him produce over 45 movies, long and short. They started as little run-arounds with school friends but his latest films have involved professional actors and enjoyed public screenings and recognition. He also volunteers at a miniature railway and enjoys travelling to historically and geographically interesting locations like Iceland and Poland.