MATTHEW Barker's decade worth of performance experience is a merit in itself. And now the multi-instrumentalist is back with his head in the books, working towards his next degree.

Already with a Bachelor of Music from CQU Conservatorium, Matthew has been seen on stage with a number of Australian artists such as X-Factor's Justin Standley, Mental As Anything, Bob Evans and James Blundell.

And while he continues studies for a Bachelor of Learning Management (primary years), Matthew continues to create success in the music industry.

He says things are pretty flat out at the moment with weekend cover gigs, studying, teaching instrumental music part-time, spending time between four bands, including his original The Bucketseats, and another exciting milestone on the horizon.

"I'm going to be a dad soon, in June," he says, hoping that it will also inspire more songs.

"Most of the stuff I write now is mostly depressing, so when the baby comes along hopefully it will be happier," he laughs.

So how does he manage his time exactly?

"It's just time management," he says. "I'm always six months ahead of what I have to do and where I have to be.

"I also have a lot of support from my partner, Natalie."

Matthew is currently living in home town Bundaberg - where he spent much of his teenage years.

And while he has many events on the cards for 2014 - he chats about the excitement of last year's adventures.

"I supported Bob Evans," he says. "That was great fun - I really like him. An amazing guy and I learnt a lot from him."

Matthew also released his third EP, Searching for the Light, recorded on the tranquil Sunshine Coast.

"That was the first time I've ever co-written with someone," Matthew says.

The EP was co-written with Carl Wockner - an acoustic pop performer from Bundaberg - known as the man with the big hair and the golden tonsils (Zinc FM 2012).

But it was certainly a challenge for Matthew who is used to writing on his own.

"I was completely different to what I've done before. We came up with the cords and arrangements first and then wrote the words to fit."

Since 2011, Matthew has been involved in writing, arranging and recording original music from home.

The Bucketseats (his own original works) began as an output for creating music with no genre restrictions.

Today - the talented musician boats four EPs, three singles and to date about 20 original songs, not to mention his book of unrecorded renditions. But his gigs are another story altogether.

Any gig involving the talented Matthew could involve guitar, percussion instruments, harmonica, sax, stomp pedal, tambourine and ukulele.

So when he makes the trip to perform at Gladstone's El Grande Music Festival in March, expect big things.

"I can't wait," he says. "I played last year and got up there with my good friend Jackson Dunn."

"We had Jackson on guitar, myself and The Lyrical on percussion, Pricewar Music manager Tim Price beet-boxing and Epidemic Over frontman Nathan Bedford singing.

"It was really great - and packed with everyone jumping around and singing.

"Especially with Jackson and myself. We get up to a lot of mischief."

EL GRANDE MUSIC FESTIVAL



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