Matthew Fontanilla Manuel, better known by his stage name matthewfm, is an up-and-coming producer signed to Lil Durk’s label, Only The Family. On October 16, 2021, Matthew posted on his Instagram announcing his singing with OTF.
Q: Why did you start making beats?
A: As a long-time music fan, I have always appreciated music and the way it impacts people and the world. My introduction to the Hip-Hop/Rap scene was through Kanye's album Graduation. Ever since then, I've had a strong passion for the community and the energy that it brings. That love for music pushed me to take up production as a hobby in the Summer of 2018. Being a music producer has deepened my appreciation for the intricacies of music and the creation process.
Q: How did you get your name "MatthewFM" ?
A: My legal name is Matthew Fontanilla Manuel. When I first started producing my name was MF Manuel, taking the first letters of my first and middle name and sticking it onto the front of my last name. This way, it felt like homage to MF DOOM as well. Except my tag was "Wait Matthew, did you make this?" which made more sense to use Matthew FM. It worked out though, because it was a cool coincidence that "Matthew FM" also sounded like a radio station.
Q: What was your first placement?
A: My first snippet was with YFN Lucci (shoutout Dasda for the play!). I still remember the feeling of getting my first snippet. When Dasda sent YFN Lucci's story to my DMs and I heard it for the first time, I was so hyped. That feeling made me want to go even harder. It never gets old. My first actual placement to be released was "Blac Youngsta - 2021", co-produced with Jordanprodit. That dropped as a YouTube exclusive back in January 2021.
Q: Who gave you your first opportunity?
A: Shoutout to all of the producers and people in the business that tapped in with me before I had any credits or experience. The first person to get me a snippet was Dasda, which I'll always appreciate. There were a lot of others that believed in my craft from the beginning, like Quince and TurnMeUpJosh, Wade B, and more. Huge shoutout to Booka and Smurk as well for believing in me and for giving me my first major placement.
Q: What let you know that your music was going to work out?
A: This is a really good, deep question. Last summer, I was conflicted with what I should pursue. I had just moved out of my parent's house and had to pay rent. I sat down with my wife Raya and we prayed and talked it over. We decided that I should grind music out all summer and just see where it takes us. Crazy enough, I got the amazing opportunity to work closely with Booka600, which led to my first major placement with Lil Durk. This led to Durk dropping the lead single off his next album 7220, Pissed Me Off. It also led to me getting signed to OTF. At the beginning of the summer, I felt so lost but I just trusted God and locked in and it led me to places I would have never thought possible. Also, huge shoutout to Raya for everything, she's been so supportive of my dreams and never doubted me for a second.
Q: How did you end up getting signed to OTF ?
A: Building off the last question, Booka posted his beat email onto his story last summer. I sent a beat through, thinking it would probably just get lost in a flooded email. But, he actually ended up texting me and we locked in for the summer. One day, he told me to send a hard pack through for Durk, so I sent a 10-pack through. A couple of hours later, Booka texted me back saying that him and Durk wanted to sign me. A couple of days after, Durk went live and previewed Pissed Me Off, using one of the beats from that 10-pack I sent Booka. We got the signing paperwork sorted out and the rest is history. OTF has been amazing and they really take care of their guys.
Q: What has failure taught you ?
A: Failure in the music industry has taught me that comparison is a dangerous game and it has also taught me that everything can be a learning experience if you choose to look at it that way. When other producers are racking in placements and certifications, don't look at that as failing. Everyone is on their own journey and it will look different for each person. Instead, let that be motivation for you to work even harder. If you feel like you are lacking in a section of your craft, don't be discouraged but use that feeling to make yourself better than ever.
Q: What advice would you give up coming producers?
A: Don't give up. Last summer is evidence that, if you lock in and trust God, you can do it. Being from Calgary, Canada, I felt like I was at a disadvantage being so far from the music scene. That is not the case. Anyone can do this, you just need to want it bad enough and put in the time and effort. There's a saying, "hard work beats talent, when talent fails to work hard." What I've learned from the music industry is that you need to have talent AND work hard to make it. Learn to make melodies and perfect those drums. Be confident and trust yourself!
Q: What advice would you give producers on securing placements?
A: The advice I'd give to up-and-coming producers that are trying to secure placements would be to fall in love with the process first, placements second. If you work hard, learn music theory, perfect your drums, and enjoy the process, the placements will roll in naturally. Be consistent in perfecting your craft and send loops and beats out every day. All of a sudden, you'll start to get snippets every month and then every week. Results don't come over night in this game. Another piece of advice would be to use social media to network with other producers and artists. This game is 60% networking and 40% producing, if not even more networking. You'd be surprised at who actually replies to your DMs.
Q: What makes you a hot producer?
A: I would probably say what makes me a hot producer is the fact that I can do drums and loops. A lot of my placements out are solo beats. Being able to do drums and loops is a huge advantage, because your opportunities in this game essentially double. I am also quite versatile and can do different styles of drums and melodies, which is also a huge plus.
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