Matt began his career at the age of twelve when he was cast alongside “Tony the Tiger” in a national Kellogg's commercial. When he was seventeen, he was the youngest person ever cast in the mega-blockbuster, Cats. Immediately afterwards, he made his Broadway debut in A Chorus Line, when he was just nineteen. He decided to unpack and settle in the Big Apple for awhile. In that time, he appeared in several more shows; even playing the title roles in both Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and The Who’s Tommy on Broadway. He's had the good fortune of working with the biggest innovators on Broadway, including Harold Prince, Jerry Mitchell, Susan Stroman, Rob Marshall, Des McEnuff, Wayne Cilento, Bob Avian, Stephen Schwartz, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jeanine Tesori, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cy Coleman, Marvin Hamlisch, Pete Townsend, and Tom Kitt, among others.
On television, Matt was featured on The Drew Carey Show, Fame, and in the Disney TV movies, Cinderella, Geppetto, and Annie, as well as being heard on the NBC musical drama, Smash. In addition to the Smash soundtrack (with Katharine McPhee), Matt's voice was featured on the TV recordings of Disney's Geppetto (with Usher) and Annie,
as well as on the Broadway cast recording of the revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
In addition to countless vocal sessions for many recording artists and producers, Matt is an
internationally published songwriter and has had numerous songs recorded and released
overseas by some of the biggest names in international music.
Over the years, Matt has had the privilege of working with some of the biggest names in the
music industry, including Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Usher, Peabo Bryson, Jeffrey Osbourne,
Reba McEntire, Brandy, Gladys Knight, and Vanessa Williams.
In addition, he has the distinction of being named the first openly gay man in
People Magazine’s “Hottest Bachelors”issue in 2002 – opening the door for other
openly gay men to be featured in the mainstream publication.
Matt’s passion for songwriting resulted in his first solo album, “Debut,” which
was released in 2002 through Universal Distribution. The critically acclaimed
set featured the dance hit, “You Always Want (What U Ain’t Got)” and
“Say Goodbye”; which was also featured on the all-star Human Rights
Campaign (HRC) benefit CD, “Being Out Rocks.” Zarley’s sophomore
album, “Here I Am,” had its title track chosen as one of the 2008
“American Idol Songwriter” competition’s Top 20 finalists
in the prestigious national contest. He co-wrote the tune with
Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner, Tom Kitt (Next To Normal), while
Tom was serving as Matt's music director for his NYC engagements.
The set was also named one of Billboard Magazine’s Critics “Top 10 of 2008.”
“Change Begins With Me,” Matt’s 2012 album release garnered near
unanimous acclaim. Critics hailing it “inspiring,” “powerful,” “passionate,”
“soaring,” “dreamy,” “poignant,” and “a rare breed of artist….soulful
and impressive”. The album’s first single, “WTF” became
Matt’s 3rd Billboard hit; while the music video became an internet
His next single, “Trust Me,” quickly became Matt’s 4th consecutive
Billboard single and, the song’s music video became a viral YouTube
sensation, having clocked over 100,000 views in its first 2 weeks of release.
To top it off, the album and title track received the 2012 OutMusic Award
for both “Album of the Year” and “Single of the Year”, respectively.
In February of 2014, Matt released "Somebody 4 Everybody,” a shamelessly
romantic declaration of love about holding onto faith that there's someone
waiting out there for each of us. The song became a theme of sorts at the
2013/2014 Broadway Bares events in NYC; thus Matt performed the tune
at the wildly popular Winter Burlesque and Fire Island
editions of the annual fundraiser.
In early 2015, Matt finally merged his background in musical theatre with his
pop sensibility, while adding film maker to his resume, when he released
hopefulROMANTIC, his most anticipated and ambitious project to date.
The award winning musical short film co-starred
social media sensation and Star Trek star, George Takei.
It was selected and screened at
dozens of film festivals all over the world, including the
Cannes Short Film Festival, among many others. It’s now available on
iTunes, Amazon Prime, Revry, and Vimeo On Demand.
Look for Matt’s latest album, a tribute to some of pop music's most prolific
female artists. The Estrogen Sessions, a cover album featuring songs
made famous by women, is Matt's first solely produced album. It'll be
available worldwide on most digital outlets on March 8, 2017, which
also happens to be International Women's Day.
Follow Matt online @ MattZarley.com or on Twitter, Facebook,
and Instagram @MattZarley.