Matt Heafy

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Matt Heafy
Trivium - Reload Festival 2017 10.jpg
Heafy at Reload Festival 2017
Background information
Birth name Matthew Kiichi Heafy
Born (1986-01-26) January 26, 1986 (age 33)
Iwakuni, Japan
Origin Orlando, Florida, U.S.
Genres Heavy metal, technical death metal
Years active 1998–present
Labels Roadrunner, Lifeforce
Associated acts

Matthew Kiichi Heafy (born January 26, 1986)[1] is a Japanese-born 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. He is also an avid gamer and practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Heafy streams daily on his Twitch channel matthewkheafy playing video games, doing guitar clinics, vocal warm ups and showcasing his Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes.[3]

Early life

Heafy was born in Iwakuni, Japan to a Japanese mother and an American father. His father, formerly a member of the United States Marine Corps, is half Irish and half German.[4] Although Heafy was born in Japan, and is Japanese, he only lived there for one year and does not speak Japanese fluently; however, he uses some basic phrases when he performs in Japan.[5] His family then moved to Orlando, Florida, where he currently resides. Heafy attended Lake Brantley High School. He completed his senior year while also touring in Europe, and graduated in 2004.[6][7] During those years, Heafy used to live a straight edge lifestyle.[8] Heafy also has a younger sister who does covers of video game music on her YouTube channel.

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, following his audition, he never got a follow-up call back. He also cites being introduced to heavy metal by his classmate, David, who gave him a copy of Metallica's self-titled album.[9][10]

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.[11]

"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."[10]

Heafy 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.[12]

Music career

Heafy performing in 2008.

Heafy, following his guitar performance at the school's talent show, was asked to try out for 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 15-16 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 lead guitarist for the band. He taught himself growling and screaming, especially doing so during the band's early years. However, he admitted using the techniques incorrectly most of his career, which ultimately caused severe damage to his vocal chords in the years leading up to the band's performance at Rock on the Range in 2014, where he blew his voice on stage. That same year, he started taking vocal lessons from coach Ron Anderson following 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.[13] He claims that the new technique is actually easier than normal talking.

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

Heafy performing live.

After Ember to Inferno, Heafy played in the post-hardcore genre, releasing one song titled "Head on Collision with a Rosebush Catching Fire" under the name Tomorrow Is Monday.[14]

Roadrunner United

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

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

Also in 2006, he sang one song, "Blind", for Korn 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 2014 Heafy contributed to DragonForce's sixth studio album titled Maximum Overload. He performed backing vocals in three of the album's ten tracks: "The Game", "Defenders" and "No More".

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.

In October 2019, Heafy was a featured guest-vocalist on an acoustic version of Stabbing In The Dark by Ice Nine Kills.



Heafy has been endorsing Gibson since Summer 2009, but before he endorsed 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 later became 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] In 2017, Epiphone released a new signature model called "SnØfall", which drew inspiration from Trivium's 2015 album Silence in the Snow. This model is available in 6 and 7 string configurations and features an exclusive custom Alpine White finish along with white Phenolic fret board.

Personal life

On January 10, 2010, Heafy married Ashley Howard in Orlando, Florida.[19] The wedding was attended by their close friends and family. On September 15, 2018, the couple announced they were expecting twins.[20] On November 6, 2018 Ashley gave birth to daughter Mia Kiyomi and son Akira Hiro. Matt returned home from tour to be with Ashley while she gave birth while the tour finished out with Howard Jones and Johannes Eckerström performing guest vocals on various songs and YouTuber Jared Dines filling in on guitar.


  • "Midwinter Darkness" demo (2002)
Tomorrow Is Monday
  • Lush Like an Antpile (2004)
  • "Head on Collision with a Rosebush Catching Fire" (2004)


  1. ^ "Matt Heafy biography". Archived from the original on January 27, 2007.
  2. ^ "TRIVIUM Frontman Matt Heafy - "IN FLAMES Played A Huge Role In My Rhythm Guitar Playing; The Jester Race And Whoracle Were Two Of The Most Influential Records Ever Made"". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  3. ^ "matthewkheafy's Featured Videos - Twitch" – via
  4. ^ Blabbermouth (14 December 2012). "TRIVIUM Frontman talks U.S. Politics, Band's Next Studio Album (Video)". Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Perez, Omar (2004-12-08). "Music: Collapsing The Masses". Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  7. ^ "Guitar Messenger – Matt Heafy Interview (Trivium)". Retrieved 2011-10-20.
  8. ^ Meisenkaiser (February 23, 2004). "Interview: 2004-02-23 Trivium". (in German). Archived from the original on May 20, 2017. Retrieved May 20, 2017. [...] Die High-School-Party-Szene interessiert mich nicht. Ich bin straight-edge. Keine Drogen, keine Probleme, keine Verbrechen. Musik ist alles. (The high school party scene does not interest me. I'm straight-edge. No drugs, no problems, no crimes. Music is everything.)
  9. ^ Trivium (14 October 2013). "Trivium - Vengeance Falls Documentary (Part 1)". Retrieved 18 January 2018 – via YouTube.
  10. ^ a b "Gear Nerd- Guitars With Matt Heafy (Trivium) - Roadrunner Records Uk". 2010-03-25. Retrieved 2011-10-20.
  11. ^ Trivium (4 February 2016). "Trivium - Silence In The Snow Mini-Documentary". Retrieved 18 January 2018 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ "Gear Nerd:Trivium's Matt Heafy Part 1". Retrieved 2011-10-20.
  13. ^ Trivium (27 August 2015). "Trivium - Until The World Goes Cold [OFFICIAL VIDEO]". Retrieved 18 January 2018 – via YouTube.
  14. ^ "Tomorrow is Monday — Free listening, videos, concerts, stats and photos at". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  15. ^ "Roadrunner United Mini-site". Archived from the original on 2008-04-12. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  16. ^ "Golden God Award citation". Archived from the original on 2006-12-09. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  17. ^ "Korn: Frontman Hospitalized, Band Plays With Various Vocalists". Retrieved 2012-04-30.
  18. ^ a b c "Ltd. Ed. Matthew K. Heafy Epiphone Les Paul Custom". Retrieved 21 February 2013.
  19. ^ "Matt Heafy Gets Married". Archived from the original on 2010-01-31.
  20. ^ Heafy, Matthew kiichichaos (September 15, 2018). "Somehow... there are four people in this photo.".
  21. ^ "Trivium's Matt Heafy Has a Time Machine - MetalSucks". 12 August 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2018.

External links

  • Trivium's official web site
  • Heafy's blog
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