Ladies and gentlemen, today we have the privilege of sitting down with the multi-talented Matthew Davis, also known as No Juliet. With a career spanning acting, music, filmmaking, and more, we’re about to embark on a fascinating journey into his life and artistry. Welcome, Matthew.
1.- Matthew, your artistic journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. Could you share with us how you discovered your passion for the various facets of the entertainment industry, from acting to music and filmmaking?
My fascination with the entertainment industry stems all the way from when I was six years old. Some of my earliest memories are me begging my mom to let me watch the new Van Damme movie that just released, because they’re a tad violet, and that inspired me to get into the martial arts at a very young age and also start practicing my acting abilities. Even though I had no idea what I was doing, luck would have it that it did pay off a few years later. I went to an audition at John Robert Powers Talent Agency in Los Angeles and out of roughly 10,000 kids they were going to choose one girl and one boy for a full ride scholarship through their modeling and acting program. I was the boy they chose which blew me away. That solidified the idea in my mind and I knew I was meant to entertain. I’ve been chasing the dream ever since.
2.- Your music has garnered awards from ‘Best Original Song’ to ‘Best Music Video’ at festivals worldwide. Can you tell us about the significance of these accolades in your career and creative journey?
I’d say they are very significant for the fact that I’m a man who wears many hats. Most of the people that see my content and hear my music think I have a team of people working under me and that’s not entirely accurate. Although I do outsource tasks from time to time, the majority of my work I do myself. The old saying “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself”, is something I live by. A lot of people say I’m a perfectionist however I just know the end result I’m looking for and I won’t stop working at it until the project is there. Awards are equivalent to recognition. They show me the work I’ve done connects with others, in a meaningful way. I look at it as if something I do earns an award, that award is for the fans and the people who helped me get the project there. They certainly inspire me to continue forward. I just released a new original single ‘No Way’ and my music just keeps on getting better.
3.- Overcoming addiction and serious near-death experiences is no small feat. How have these challenges influenced your music and the message you hope to convey to your audience?
My goal in anything that I do is always pretty much the same. It is to show other people who have been where I have been, or are still there, that no matter how low your rock bottom may be, if you are still breathing you have the ability to change the outcome of your life. My redemption was a way for me to reinvent myself. I lived a life for almost a decade that I was not proud of, and I truly didn’t even recognize myself. So, in the process of my videography, writing music, learning audio engineering, and becoming a father I was able to find myself once again. No matter how careless I once was, the fact is something greater than myself kept bringing me back. Eventually you start to understand there’s no such thing as a coincidence. So, there’s a reason much larger than myself as to why I’m here, talking to you now. That is all I know for sure. The rest, I simply try to maintain a good moral compass and be the best version of myself I can possibly be. Everything else seems to fall in place.
4.- Moving from acting to music in your teens is a significant shift. What motivated this transition, and how did it impact your creative direction?
When I was in middle school I started singing and recording my music, made demo CDs to hand out to people at school. I’ve always had a passion for music as long as I can remember. Music helped save my life so many times. When I was younger, I didn’t fathom I could do both acting and music so I had made up my mind in my early teens that I was going to succeed at music regardless of anything else I did in my life. I watched my mom start a band in LA and I watched them break up, and the aftermath of what happened. I felt obligated to become successful as a recording artist. In some ways I’m doing it for her, especially since she made the sacrifice to give up her own musical dreams in order to raise me. I watched my single mom, work three jobs most of my life just to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. It made the thought of failing unbearable.
5. Serving in the Army is an impressive commitment to your country. How has your military experience informed your music and filmmaking, especially in addressing veteran-related issues?
I was an army brat, both my mother and father were in the military, so I felt obligated to serve in the armed forces as well. We were still at war in the Middle East when I enlisted at 17, and I felt a calling to do what I could for my country. I didn’t get to serve as long as I wanted to due to a serious injury, and I was honorably discharged. Many veterans end up with addiction and PTSD from serving and once they’re discharged there aren’t a whole lot of options for them to get the mental help they need. The veterans I’m talking about are at war mentally with themselves, and that’s a war I know all too well. I’m hopeful my story can inspire some of them and I can help by building a platform and using it to create awareness for the veterans’ issues.
6.- You’ve earned a black belt in two martial arts disciplines and now pass on those lessons to your daughter. How do martial arts principles tie into your life and creative journey?
Martial arts, very literally, saved my life as a young teen growing up without a dad (he left when I was four) and I had no positive male role models in my life. I think it takes a man to show a boy how to become a man. That is what the grandmaster I trained under did for me. Not only did it keep me focused on something positive but it taught me many things like integrity, honor, humbleness, patience and courage. I was undiagnosed ADHD growing up and martial arts helped me learn ways to overcome that setback and clear that hurdle in my life. I then was able to turn that condition into a strength because I am able to focus on something a lot longer than most people. In a world where our attention spans are getting shorter, I encourage anyone to try martial arts. I hope my daughter can learn as I did to stand up for what is right and become a stronger person as well.
7.- Your media company, Artistic Lens Media, seems to be a new venture. Could you describe the types of projects you’re involved in and your vision for this company?
I’ve always had a very cinematic imagination. I can see things in my head and then I try to bring those thoughts into reality by working with what’s in front of me. I was making so many commercials, and social media content, and music videos for other people and businesses that it just made sense to start a company. It also allows me to share my skills with other businesses who like my content and want something similar for their own brand. I plan on working on meaningful documentaries that hopefully bring awareness to the countries many issues. I love to shoot visually amazing content that will leave an impression with whoever sees it. Although I’m still very early in my filmmaking journey, one day, Artistic Lens Media will be a very well-known brand.
8.- Your hand-painted leather jackets have gained recognition from celebrities and influencers. How did this unique merchandise line come about, and what do you hope it brings to your brand?
It’s funny you ask that because to be honest my very first, hand painted leather jacket was done almost five years ago because I couldn’t afford to buy one at the time. I never would have thought it would have grown into what it is today. There are only a few people in the world that do what I do, it’s a very niche market. We send jackets all over the world and have a long list of celebrities and influencers that are waiting on jackets so it’s a developing brand that has taken on a life of its own. I finally struck a deal and have just released my own ‘No Juliet’ branded leather jackets which are great quality with lots of great features. Over the years I’ve really been able to perfect the process and they make one of the best personalized unique gifts. I also started to branch out and paint other leather products like purses, boots, and shoes. When I linked my jackets to my music and made them the same brand it really started taking off at that point. My wearable art is something unique that no other artist in the world does. A lot of people are blown away when they find out I sing, act, paint, and do all of my own video production and content creation. It’s not something I can take all the credit for, there is something much greater than myself that is driving me in the direction that I’m headed.
9.- “From near death to never more alive… from the fire comes new life.” This quote is powerful and emblematic of your journey. Can you share a pivotal moment or turning point that encapsulates this sentiment for you?
When we were branding ‘No Juliet’ I tried to think of a slogan that could embody the depth of the pain I had experienced throughout my life and then the feeling of coming out of that pain and making it my armor and transforming it to something beautiful. The Phoenix and Cross in my logo also represent this. One of the most traumatic experiences I’ve ever been through was coming out of the gas station and getting into the car to find the person I was with blue, and unresponsive. I remember how frantic I was and how loud I yelled their name. I don’t think I’ve ever yelled that loud in my life trying to wake them. But it didn’t work. I remember dragging them out of the car onto the pavement and everybody standing around looking at us wondering what had happened. I remember performing CPR until I could barely lift my arms and the paramedics that arrived told me if it wasn’t for what I had done the person would not have made it. This was a huge wakeup call in my life and, in many ways, changed the trajectory in which I was heading. The final moment everything changed was when I was DJing at a nightclub and someone slipped something into my drink. I’m not sure if they were trying to do me a favor or hurt me, all I know is the next thing I remember is waking up in the ER, with no one around me not knowing where I was. The nurse told me I had been dead for three minutes. It was at that moment things clicked in my head and I realized if I kept living the way I was, I wasn’t going to live much longer. It’s trauma like this that many people in recovery have been through and that same trauma that keeps us from returning to that life. “From near death to never more alive” explains how I have died before- due to my addiction- and how I was able to get sober and overcome it and feel more alive than I ever have… With the help of my higher power and my recovery. “From the fire comes new life” simply means sometimes it takes walking through hell in order to truly be reborn. We fall so that we learn how to pick ourselves back up again. This is the key to everything in life.
10.- What advice would you give to aspiring artists and creatives who look up to your journey and seek to navigate the entertainment industry with as much passion and resilience as you have?
My advice: Don’t burn bridges, always do good business, and make sure your motives are pure. If you are solely motivated by money or fame you will most likely quit before you make it. Yes, those things can be perks, but you will never make it to that point if you’re only worried about monetary gain. Do what you do because you love it and always try to be authentic, not chasing trends or trying to be like anyone else. Eventually things will fall in place if you don’t give up. Surround yourself with people who are supportive of what you’re trying to do. Cut off the ones who are negative and tell you to, “be realistic”. These people will not help you in any way, only hurt you and discourage you from your goal. Also build a network of people who share the same common goal as you do. Stay positive, if you’re down then guess what? It’s only up from here.
You can listen to the newest single, ‘No Way’, music, jackets, and other merchandise at: nojuliet.com
Thank you, Matthew, for sharing your incredible journey and insights with us today. Your story is truly inspiring, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for you.