For many musicians performing is a pursuit of passion that over time may become routine and taken for granted, but for Mat McHugh that mindset has been pushed aside because in 2015 he almost had his passion snatched away forever.
Shortly after kicking off a national tour celebrating the release of his album Waves, Mat suffered a serious spinal injury which he said was “pressing on my spinal cord and meant I lost the use of my right arm”. However the bad news didn’t stop there, doctors told McHugh that in order to repair his neck he would have to undergo “pretty extensive and invasive surgery by a neurosurgeon” which came with it’s own inherent set of risk. Mat chose to avoid this path though and rely on alternative therapies and treatments instead.
“I started up a program which involved spinal decompression therapy, acupuncture, hyperbaric treatments, changing my diet and meditation. I really tried everything, it really was a 24 hour a day job for six months,” McHugh explained.
As one would expect after recovering from such a traumatic experience Mat’s outlook on life, and music, has entirely changed. Mat reflected on those changes saying “it makes you appreciate the things that maybe you were taking for granted, for instance I’ve done countless shows but never thought this could be my last, and now I have that in the back of my mind always.”
Now back on the road doing what he loves, and having thought he may never do this again, Mat is using the platform he has to give other independent talents an opportunity. For the tour Mat has partnered with venues to find the best rising young artists from the local area to fill the support slots.
“There is a lot of great, interesting and inspiring music and art out there in the world that doesn’t have a corporate machine behind it, but that doesn’t make it any less valid in my eyes. I feel like everybody who recognises that should make it their mission to support those artists, because otherwise where is the next generation of classic Aussie music and the soundtrack for everybody’s lives going to come from?”
Jun 25. Newtown Social Club, 387 King St, Newtown. $30+b.f. Tickets & info: newtownsocialclub.com