Matthew "Matt" Kiichi Heafy (born January 26, 1986) is a Japanese American musician, best known as the guitarist and lead vocalist for the American heavy metal band Trivium. Heafy is also the lead vocalist for the band Capharnaum, along with Trivium's former producer Jason Suecof.
Heafy was born in Iwakuni, Japan to an American father and a Japanese mother. His father, formerly a member of the United States Marine Corps, is half-Irish and half-German. Although Heafy was born in Japan, he lived there for only one year. He does not speak Japanese fluently; however, he has mastered some of the basic phrases and uses them when he performs in Japan. So he does with German as well. His family then moved to Orlando, Florida, where it currently resides. Heafy attended Lake Brantley High School. He completed his senior year while also touring in Europe, and graduated in 2004.
Heafy learned to play the saxophone in years leading up to becoming more serious on guitar at the age of twelve. At that period he was mostly listening to pop punk bands, and even auditioned for a local one by playing the Blink-182 song Dammit. However, he was not accepted for unspecified reasons. He also cites being introduced to heavy metal by his classmate, David, who gave him a copy of Metallica's self-titled album.
Heafy does not know formal music theory, and was almost completely self-taught. He does know how to read sheet music, but can only apply it on the saxophone. However, in 2015, he started taking formal training for the guitar.
"Self-taught for quite a bit of it, did lessons on and off for maybe two or three years, but I do not know anything formal music on guitar. I do on saxophone though…but that doesn’t help me on guitar."
On January 10, 2010, Heafy married Ashley Howard in Orlando, Florida. The wedding was attended by close friends and family.
Matt still often uses the same first Gibson Les Paul he got from his father, but only in studio settings. For live performances he uses his signature Epiphone Les Paul that is modeled off of his Gibson.
Matt Heafy, following his guitar performance at the school's talent show, was asked to join Trivium by the band's original singer Brad Lewter. Originally, he was accepted as lead guitarist, despite being only 12 years old (other members were 16-17 at that time). Lewter, however, quit the band in less than a month due to creative differences over the band's future musical direction. The drummer Travis Smith persuaded Heafy to do vocals, even though Heafy himself was unsure of his singing voice at that time. The band started looking for an external singer to fill-in the position but had trouble finding a suitable candidate. Eventually, Heafy agreed to become a full-time lead singer for Trivium also keeping the position of guitarist for the band. He learned all by himself such vocal techniquies as growling and screaming, making a frequent use of them, especially during the band's early years. However, he admitted using them incorrectly for the most part of his career so far, what ultimately caused a severe damage to his vocal chords in years leading up to the band's performance at Rock on the Range in 2014, where he blew his voice right on stage. In the same, year he started taking vocal lessons from coach Ron Anderson following the advice from M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold. In 2016, Heafy returned to performing the same amount of unclean vocals live as he did before his injury, citing Anderson's lessons as a source of help and improvement.
With the release of Trivium's 4th album, Shogun, Heafy greatly expanded his vocal range; from very melodic singing to hardcore screams. In 2011 Trivium's fifth studio album In Waves was released with a 'greater emphasis on songs rather than skill,' with the album featuring the full range of Heafy's vocal talents with some songs being entirely composed of screaming and others with no screaming at all, and many songs that fused the two as with previous records.
In Trivium, Matt shares lead guitar duties with Corey Beaulieu, although he is responsible for recording the rhythm tracks on the albums.
After Ember to Inferno, Heafy experimented with post-hardcore music, releasing one song titled "Head on Collision with a Rosebush Catching Fire" under the name "Tomorrow is Monday." As revealed in a 2008 interview in Rock Sound, he wrote, recorded and edited the song in one hour while intoxicated.
In 2005, Roadrunner Records released Roadrunner United: The All-Star Sessions to celebrate the label's 25th anniversary. Four "team captains" were chosen: Joey Jordison (Slipknot, Murderdolls, Scar the Martyr), Robb Flynn (Machine Head), and Dino Cazares (Fear Factory) as well as Heafy. Heafy also wrote the lyrics and sang the lead vocals to "The End," captained by Dino Cazares. He and bandmate/guitarist Corey Beaulieu recorded the song "In the Fire" as well, featuring singer King Diamond, bassist Mike D'Antonio, and drummer Dave Chavarri. He also wrote and played guitar on the tracks "Dawn of a Golden Age", "I Don't Wanna Be (A Superhero)" and "Blood and Flames," also contributing vocals to the latter.
Heafy—along with several other metal artists—makes guest appearances in the music videos for "Aesthetics of Hate" by Machine Head, released March 27, 2007, "All I Want" by A Day to Remember, released January 7, 2011 and "Moving On" by Asking Alexandria, released September 12, 2014.
In 2015 Heafy contributed to the metal supergroup album "Metal Allegiance". He provided lead vocals and additional guitars on the track "Destination: Nowhere". He also contributed on guitar for the track "Triangulum I. Creation II. Evolution III. Destruction".
Matt Heafy has been endorsed by Gibson since Summer 2009, but before he was endorsed by Dean after he and Corey Beaulieu were both given Dean Razorback prototypes in 2006. In 2008 his signature model, an ML shape with a graphic of the Japanese Rising Sun, was released. He stopped using Deans in 2009 after some disagreements. In summer 2009 Gibson made him a custom 7 string Explorer, which is now a production model but only available in black right-handed models.
In 2013, Epiphone released his artist signature model Les Paul in both 6 and 7 string versions. He had previously been seen playing his signature models on the Dream Theater "A Dramatic Turn of Events Tour".
- Les Paul Black 6 String and 7 String
- Les Paul In Black, White and Silverburst
- Explorer 7 string in White and Black.
- Hummingbird Acoustic when needed.
- Dean ML MKH Rising Sun signature model, and various other models.
- Dean Razorback
- Trivium EP (also known as The Blue Demo) (2003)
- Ember to Inferno (2003)
- Ascendancy (2005)
- The Crusade (2006)
- Shogun (2008)
- In Waves (2011)
- Vengeance Falls (2013)
- Silence in the Snow (2015)
- Fractured (2004)
- MindScar EP (2001)
- Tomorrow Is Monday
- Lush Like an Antpile (2004)
- "Head on Collision with a Rosebush Catching Fire"
- Roadrunner United (2005)
- Master of Puppets (2006)
- Machine Head Aesthetics of Hate (Music video cameo) (2007)
- Maiden Heaven: A Tribute to Iron Maiden (2008)
- A Day to Remember All I Want (Music video cameo) (2011)
- Caliban Falling Downwards (Bonus Track) (2014)
- DragonForce guest vocals on "Defenders, "No More," and "The Game" (Maximum Overload) (2014)
- Upon a Burning Body guest vocals on "Blood, Sweat and Tears" (The World Is My Enemy Now) (2014)
- Asking Alexandria Moving On (Music video cameo) (2014)
- Beach House additional guitar on "Depression Cherry" album (2015)
- Metal Allegiance lead vocals and additional guitar on "Destination: Nowhere", additional guitars on "Triangulum I. Creation II. Evolution III. Destruction" (Metal Allegiance) (2015)