Mateo is OK that his first record deal -- with MySpace Records -- didn't exactly pan out.
His three-part mixtape "Underneath The Sky" received critical acclaim and helped him make some valuable connections, he says during Part 2 of his interview with Yahoo! Music's The Aftermath. "I call it my incubation period," he says. He racked up solid media training working with various key blogs and met Kerry Krucial Brothers, Alicia Key's business partner.
When it was time to make his exit from MySpace, Brothers offered him a deal with his Interscope Records label Krucial Noise. The "How Good Is Your Love" singer couldn't be happier. "I get to work with somebody who has helped define the first 10 years of this century," he explains with a sly, matter-of-fact grin.
Mateo is aiming to help shape the second 10 years of the century with "We've Met Before," his recently released Interscope / Krucial Noise EP. The collection of soothing, sensual and soulful mid-tempo tracks doesn't sound like offerings from his R&B contemporaries.
Mateo doesn't feel the need to mimic what's popular on the radio. "When I started out, I tried to sing over hip-hop beats and loops, and it wasn't something that was very authentic to me. It didn't feel right," he says. He later stumbled upon his niche.
"One day a homie had a friend that played guitar and he played that Dave Matthews style of guitar and I sang over, and it was, 'Yo it felt right. Yo, this it.' Ever since then I said I have to stick with that feeling," he says.
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Video and editing: Robert Gardner