The Shirtless Violinist
A Different Lens Magazine would like to present this exclusive interview with 'The Shirtless Violinist'.
Seattle-based musician, Matthew Olshefski, is an exceptional talent and an international sensation.
Matthew, how on earth did you become the Shirtless Violinist?
I have been playing the violin since I was three years old. I have been playing in a tux and tails for most of my life, but a few years ago I started to notice classical crossover acts like 2Cellos and The Piano Guys posting amazing, contemporary songs on YouTube. I knew I wanted to try something similar, but I didn’t know how I was going to make it happen. That’s when I met my boyfriend, Paul, an aspiring filmmaker and video editor. Shortly after we began dating, we decided to shoot a music video - but not before Paul made one fateful suggestion: “You should do it shirtless! I bet it will get more views!” And that’s exactly what happened. The video got some attention and we decided to make another, then another, until eventually we found ourselves making a new music video every month. The most amazing part is, every video is entirely funded by my fans!
What are your proudest achievements to date?
I have had many proud moments as The Shirtless Violinist, but perhaps one of the best happened last year when Symphony Hall in Birmingham UK asked me to represent them in the Birmingham Pride Parade. Growing up practicing my violin for hours each day, my dream was to one day play in a beautiful concert hall. Back then I could have never imagined I would get the chance to do it without a shirt on!! But that’s how it happened, and I’m so proud of that moment!
What are your career goals?
I am living them right now! I am recording albums, making music videos, and performing around the world. My only goal is to continue doing this for as long as I can!
How did social media impact your career?
Social media has been an essential part of my career as The Shirtless Violinist. It was through social media that I generated and grew my shirtless persona. Because of my social media presence, I have been written about in Cosmopolitan Magazine and featured on TV shows like Right This Minute. It was my Instagram account that got me the Birmingham Pride gig last year.
How do you keep fit and have you ever considered modelling?
I stay fit by eating healthy and going to the gym 6 days a week! I have always loved fitness and the gym has always been a big part of my life, long before I became known as The Shirtless Violinist. I have never considered modelling! I have no desire to do that, unless I got to play my violin on the runway!! Maybe, then, I would consider it.
What advice do you give to any of our readers about pursing their dreams?
My advice is always “dive in the deep end!!” If you have a dream, don’t second guess yourself or wait for the perfect moment - just jump in, make mistakes, get messy, and learn as you go! That’s how I got where I am today.
Where can ADL readers hear you play?
I’m on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Pandora, Amazon, and Deezer - just enter “shirtless violinist” and that’s where you’ll find me! I’m the only one!
How does it feel to be different?
It feels like an ice cold lemonade on a hot day in the Florida Keys.