Matt Murphy has spent the past twenty years of his life perfecting his craft as a drummer and percussionist. While attending Western Illinois University, Matt had the opportunity to perform with the Grammy Nominated Western Illinois University’s Jazz Studio Orchestra, Arturo Sandoval, Clark Terry and Diane Schurr, to name a few. After graduating college, Matt was afforded the opportunity to travel the country with Caribbean/Pop sensations, The Steel Bandits. During his tenure with this outstanding group, Matt was seen playing to sold out venues, arenas and auditoriums from the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, to tours through Europe and practically everywhere in between.
After spending two years with the ‘Bandits, he moved on to working several festivals, clinics and concerts throughout North America and Europe. This gave Matt the unique opportunity to master many styles ranging from Jazz to Latin to the soulful sounds of R ‘n B, Motown and beyond. His uncanny knack “to know exactly what to play, and when to play it” has helped Matt successfully take the drum seat in every musical setting.
Beginning in 1997, Matt assumed the responsibility of Musical Director for Norwegian Cruise Line, performing as an artist as well as departmental manager on several of Norwegian’s vessels within the fleet of nine ships. It was during that time that Mangú completed a nine-month tour of Miami, Mexico and the Caribbean Islands. They had played for thousands of satisfied audience members at the Latin Music Festival in St. Thomas in 2001. Immediately following that successful tour, Matt was asked to back up the soulful singing sensation Stan Sykes, as part of Stan Sykes and Company. It was during 2001 and 2002 that Stan and the gang, spent time touring Europe, North America and the Hawaiian Islands.
In 2002, Hollywood called for Matt’s knowledge of music in television. Working both in front and behind the camera’s lens, Matt can be seen on several television programs starting in 2002, as a sideline musician. Matt is also keeping very busy, working as Music Consultant for the new (at the time) Partridge Family series for MTV Networks, as well as the internationally famous prime time hit from Warner Brothers, the Gilmore Girls.
Calling Vegas home, was to be one of Matt’s smartest moves. Within weeks of coming to town, Matt was asked to take the drum seat for “The Rat Pack- Starring Mark Verabian“. ‘This show brings back the good ol’ days when Vegas was Vegas. Musically, it’s one of my favorite shows and pays homage to some of the finest entertainers the world has ever seen- Frank, Sammy and Dean,’ Murphy was quoted saying in an interview after a show. Matt was also been seen around town working for various national touring artists including: Clint Holmes, Ronnie Foster, The Coasters, Platters & Marvelettes, among others. Matt has been working up to seven nights a week and there’s no slowing down in the foreseeable future.
From 2009-2011, Matt held down the drum seat for International Superstar Charo, as she traveled the world promoting her Platinum-Selling Album “Charo on Guitar”. Currently, Matt also leads his own groups, performing in such mega-resorts as: Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Mandalay Bay, Delano, Cromwell and the TRUMP Tower in Las Vegas. Matt has been found playing drums for such award-winning theater productions: HAIR (Broadway World Best Local Show 2012), Smokey Joe’s Café (Broadway World Best Local Show 2011), the Las Vegas production of Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize-Winning Musical, RENT, Vegas! The Show (BEST of Vegas, Production Show and Broadway World Best Strip Production) & Jersey Boys (BEST of Vegas, Production Show and Broadway World Best Strip Production).
2010 marked the completion of Matt’s highly anticipated tutor, A Drummer’s Guide to Afro-Caribbean Grooves, which looks to be published internationally in the near future. From 2011-2016, Stick Library brought Matt and his expertise onto their team not only as a Major Contributor, but also as a Musical Director for their drum set-related video projects. As an adjunct professor, Matt has been afforded the opportunity to teach private drum set lessons as well as the History of the Steel Band to students within the percussion program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Further, as a private drum instructor, Matt maintains a student roster of approximately 20 students per week, covering all ages and experience levels.
Matt Murphy is indeed an All-American percussionist with a global perspective that permeates his grooves, style, and musicianship. He proudly endorses and is a clinician for; Drum Workshop Drums and Hardware, SABIAN Cymbals, Vic Firth sticks and brushes, Aquarian Drumheads, 64 Audio, Audix Microphones, Gruv Gear, Prologix Practice Products, BlowIt Fans, Kickport Intl., Big Fat Snare Drum and Humes and Berg bags and cases. Matt is also a proud member of the Professional Drum Teacher’s Guild and Hudson Music’s Teacher’s Integration Program. Matt has recently been selected into an elite group of clinicians as a member of the Drum Workshop, SABIAN and Vic Firth Education Teams’ roster.
List of Projects
Past and Current Projects
- Anomaly (2016-Present, Music Director)
- Cat Rian & Friends (2016- Present, Music Director)
- Brian Garrett (2016-Present, Music Director)
- Vanessa Chamberlin (2016-Present)
- Amanda Avila (American Idol, 2014-2016)
- John Vincent (2013-Present, Music Director)
- The TRIO (2013-Present, Music Director)
- Back Beat Village (2012-Present)
- The Definitives (2011-Present, Music Director)
- Aaron Nigel Smith (2011-Present, Music Director)
- Charo (2009-2012)
- Drifters (2007-2009)
- Marvelettes (2007-2012)
- Platters (2007-2012)
- Coasters (2007-2012)
- Ronnie Foster (2007)
- Clint Holmes (2006)
- Brother’s Ali (2006-2013)
- Bruce Christian (2005-Present)
- Lennon Scott (2002-Present)
- Mangú (1999-2001)
- Stan Sykes (1998-Present, Music Director)
- Norwegian Cruise Line (1997-2001, Music Director)
- The Steel Bandits (1995-1997)
- Arturo Sandoval (1993 w/ Steve Kummer Trio)
- The Stephen Kummer Trio (1991-Present)
- HAIR (2017)
- Jersey Boys (2014-2016)- SUB
- Vegas! The Show (2013-2015)- SUB
- Pippin (1993 & 2013)
- Les Miserables (2013)
- Guys and Dolls (2013)
- Songs for a New World (2012)
- HAIR (2012)
- Tommy (2011)
- Smokey Joe’s Café (2011)
- Sweeney Todd (2011)
- CHESS (2011)
- RENT (2010-2012)
- Rocky Horror Picture Show (2010)
- Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2010)
- Fame (2002)
- Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Music of the Night (2001)
- Guys and Dolls (1999)
- Pirates of Penzance (1998)
- West Side Story (1994)
- Grease (1994)
- Singin’ in the Rain (1994)
- HMS Penafore (1993)
- Jesus Christ Superstar (1992)