I like many have followed Matt Wycliffe‘s career for some time now. So when I saw two news items involving him, the first his joining the cast of Million Dollar Quartet, the second an announcement of a campaign for the release of a much-anticipated first album, I felt I wanted to know more about the person who has played so many musical heroes.
I posed ten questions to get to know Matt Wycliffe just a little better:
1) What inspired you to become an actor? You are also a talented musician but what passion came first?
I come from a really creative family. My parents are both artists, and my dad used to work for Cannon Hill Puppet Theatre in Birmingham carving puppets, so I was exposed to the theatre at a very young age. Both my uncles were musicians one a brilliant classical violinist and the other a great Rock ‘n’ Roll saxophonist. I suppose that out of the two, music came first for me really. I started on violin but kept going back to the piano and messing around. I had Oscar Peterson on my Walkman to keep me quiet in the backseat on family holidays! I was introduced to acting through a youth theatre I was part of called ‘Stage 2’. My experience there was instrumental in me going to drama school and choosing to train to be an actor. (Stage 2 is still running now and is a brilliant company for young people interested in theatre – you can read more about Stage 2 by clicking here)
2) What’s the best thing you’ve recently seen on stage?
Dr Faustus. My great friend Brian Gilligan (Deco in the Commitments) was in it and Jenna Russell was just out-of-this-world good. She’s one of the most multi-talented actresses out there. I shared a dressing room with Brian for a year but I think I saw more of him on that stage than in that whole year! Ha!
3) You’ve announced you’re producing your first album. Why have you decided to do it now? Isn’t this a busy time as you’re just about to go into rehearsals for Million Dollar Quartet?
Yep! I’ve been planning on recording an album for years. So why not now? I’ve got loads on with MDQ, but with the proper planning, everything is possible! I’m going to play as many of the instruments on the album as I can too. I don’t think many people do that, so it’s quite exciting! I’m currently fundraising on Indiegogo, CHECK OUT THIS LINK for the campaign! There’s some great rewards for supporting me. There’s the album itself, a guitar, free MDQ tickets, house gigs, private lesson, album artwork.. It’s going to be very cool. But I really need people to support it, or it’ll never get made. Which would be a real shame. My mum would be very sad! I’m also giving away FREE songs on MattWycliffe.com throughout the campaign.
4) We’ve heard you play guitar, piano, harmonica. Which do you prefer and which are you best at or which do you enjoy playing most?
The piano will always be my favorite instrument. I couldn’t live without a piano in the house. If I could sit at the piano and play all day and all night with a nice glass of wine or a good whiskey, I’d do it! I love the guitar too as it is so versatile. And then the harmonica has such a cool sound and you can whip it out anywhere and people are always impressed…! Ha!
5) If you could play any character, in a musical or straight play, who would it be and why?
Dr Faustus. SO much to play with! Move over Kit Harrington! Haha! As far as musicals are concerned I’d love someone to write a show about a jazz/boogie woogie piano player and I’d love to play the lead!
6) How good are you at learning lines? Do you have a system/technique?
Depends on the material. Good writing tends to sink in, but I find the best way for me to learn lines is to really understand whats going on in the scene. If you know WHY your character is doing something then remembering HOW they say it is easier.
7) You are about to embark on a tour with Million Dollar Quartet and I’ve known you do few tours – do you prefer touring or being stationary in London or is it the production that needs to grab your interest?
It really depends. I like touring as you become a little family, and (as long as you all get on) its brilliant! Being in the West End is obviously amazing though. There’s a real buzz and so much history. Being in one city for so long is actually quite nice.
Finally three fun questions, I always like to ask:
If you could be a super hero or have a super power who/what would you be/have and why?
I’d be like the little kid in the Incredibles. Super speed! Then I could get boring things done really quickly, travel really long distances, see amazing things, and be back in time for tea!
Who do you think is the most powerful/influential person in the world today and why?
Well.. The media. There’s hopefully not just one person in charge, but I think we are shaped, to a large extent, by our environment. Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly under a barrage of advertising telling us how to live our lives. It’s quite scary really!
If you could go back to a different time in history where would you go to and why?
I’d love to see how the Pyramids were built. So ancient Egypt would be one destination! But maybe the 50’s for the music. I’d love to see all the amazing people I’ve played on stage too…Can I time hop a few times please? – Great answer Matt!