Matt Heafy

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Matt Heafy
Trivium-Rock im Park 2014- by 2eight DSC8991.jpg
Heafy performing at Rock im Park in 2014.
Background information
Birth name Matthew Kiichi Heafy
Also known as Matt Heafy
Born (1986-01-26) January 26, 1986 (age 31)
Iwakuni, Yamaguchi, Japan
Origin Orlando, Florida, United States
Genres Heavy metal, thrash metal, melodic metalcore, technical death metal, black metal, power metal
Occupation(s) Guitarist, vocalist, musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1998–present
Labels Lifeforce, Roadrunner
Associated acts Trivium, Capharnaum, Mindscar, DragonForce

Matthew "Matt" Kiichi Heafy (born January 26, 1986)[1] is a Japanese American musician, best known as the guitarist and lead vocalist[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5][6]

Heafy learned to play the tenor saxophone in years leading up to becoming more serious on guitar at the age of eleven. At that period he was mostly listening to pop punk bands, and even auditioned for a local one called "Freshly Squeezed" 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.[7][8]

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.[9]

"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."[8]

On January 10, 2010, Heafy married Ashley Howard[10] 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. [11]


Main article: Trivium (band)
Matt Heafy at Nova Rock Festival 2014

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 techniques 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 unclean vocals live with the same frequency as he did before his injury, citing Anderson's lessons as a source of help and improvement.[12] He also cited Bruce Dickinson, Ronnie James Dio, and Freddie Mercury as his favorite singers.[13]

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 sometimes shares lead guitar duties with Corey Beaulieu, although he is responsible for recording the rhythm tracks on the albums.

Matt Heafy performing live.

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,[citation needed] he wrote, recorded and edited the song in one hour while intoxicated.[14]

Roadrunner United[edit]

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.[15] 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.

Other appearances[edit]

Heafy won the Metal Hammer "Golden God" award in 2006.[16]

Also in 2006, he handled vocals for the band Korn, one of his favourite bands, (singing one song) at the Download Festival when Korn's lead vocalist Jonathan Davis fell ill.[17]

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".

In 2016, Heafy appeared on Arktis by fellow musician Ihsahn.



Matt Heafy performing in 2008.

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".[18]


Main article: Trivium discography
  • "Midwinter Darkness" demo (2002)
Tomorrow Is Monday
  • Lush Like an Antpile (2004)
  1. "Head on Collision with a Rosebush Catching Fire"


External links[edit]