1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Matt Marn, and I am a freelance reporter. I write for several publications and groups in the Phoenix area, including YabYum Music and Arts. I write about a lot of different people and topics – from volunteers making a difference for a local non-profit to local musicians who take the stage and leave thousands of fans cheering. But what I like to think sets me apart is no matter what I write about, I don’t just tell the surface story – I go deeper. I ask what inspires the person I am writing about, why they do what they do and for whom, and who they try to connect to with what they are doing. There is already plenty of bad news on TV and in the paper; I want to shine light on people that really work to better their community and the people in it.
2. How did you get your start?
I started way back when I took a high school class and fell in love with writing. I went through college and got a degree in journalism, but the more interesting part, I think, is what got me into writing about the different music groups in Phoenix. I moved here with my wife back when we were still engaged, and I had a special plan for our wedding day – and my fiancé had no idea. On our wedding day, in front of our closest friends and loved ones, I pulled out this guitar she didn’t even know I had, and told her that I had been taking lessons, practicing, the whole nine yards – just for her. I serenaded her with a song we both loved, in front of everyone. It was my wedding… I had to do something to show her just how much she means.
Anyway, since I had been writing for so long, and now that my love for playing also had begun to grow exponentially, I figured I would lend my storytelling talents of people making a difference to people like me in the area – people who like to make a difference through their music.
3. What inspires you?
The people who inspire me are truly passionate about what they do. They hit a special place in my heart when what they do is similar to mine, like love for music or love for writing, but anyone who strives to be better, do better – and in doing so lifts up and inspires everyone around them – they are to be recognized and applauded.
4. What do you like about AZ?
The thing I like most about Arizona is everywhere I go, it’s FULL of those kind of inspiring people. My non-profit, and probably any other non-profit for that matter, has no shortage of people I write about who give of their own time and talents to help the participants of their programs grow to their fullest. I have even asked to write on someone who is a part of that non-profit who simply blew me away with his compassion and genuine interest in people around him. And what did he say to me? He declined the article and interview. He didn’t do all this to be recognized – he did it because he is a caring, fantastic human being.
5. Where can we see your work?
Keep your eyes peeled here at YabYum for many of my articles – but YabYum and others alike are all teased on my online portfolio, Faces Behind the Stories. As for my music, I play at a local jam session as much as I can, Tuesday Bluesday with Tom Mein and the NEXT Band. All players/music lovers welcome, bring your gear or just your ears! Our jam session is currently every Tuesday night starting at 7pm at Marc’s Sports Bar and Grill, off 43rd Ave and Peoria in Glendale.
6. What would you like to accomplish before you die?
I would like to take both my writing and my music further… I want to get a full-time position at a publication, where I can keep writing, and showing the great difference so many people make in their community – both here and everywhere you look.
7. What is your mantra?
Ever since I saw Dead Poets’ Society in high school, I couldn’t shake that famous quote. I ask you the same:
We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
To quote from Whitman, ‘O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’ Answer: That you are here – that life exists, an identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.
…What will your verse be?