Music Man

Kingwood Park alum Matt Daspit chases his dreams in Nashville.

Kingwood Park alum Matt Daspit plays the keyboard during a performance with Nina Baumer at John’s Hopkins University.

Jacob Valcarce, Staff Writer

Receptionist Criss Daspit and her friends were at a playdate for their children when her 2-year-old son Matt started playing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” on his little keyboard. He had no music to look at and no one was helping him.
“We knew something was different when he did that,” Daspit said. “He must have heard it on either ‘Little Bear,’ or ‘Sesame Street,’ or those types of programs that we used to watch when he was a little guy.”

Matt Daspit at age 4 welcomes guests while playing the keyboard at a Christmas show at the Houston Symphony. He received a small wooden keyboard when he was 2. Soon after, he started playing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” after hearing the song on TV. “Hey, how did he figure that out?” Criss Daspit asked her husband. “I didn’t know, my husband didn’t know. I knew I would never forget that.” (Submitted by Matt Daspit)

The natural gift carried him from Kingwood Park to the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Now, Matt Daspit is an aspiring musician in Nashville.
“I always played classical music for him when I was pregnant with him, and he was exposed to that early,” Criss Daspit said.
By the time Matt was 4, his mom tried to sign him up for piano lessons at Kingwood Music School. He had to go through a special interview process because he was so young.
“She asked him to play several little tunes, and he knew them just by the gift of ear that he had,” Criss Daspit said. “She said, ‘I will take him.’”
He started lessons there at the age of 4 and continued with the same teacher until his junior year.
As a teen, Matt was on the football team, in the band and in student council. He was athletic, but his passion was music. He attended Lone Star College after graduating from Kingwood Park in 2012 and eventually auditioned and was accepted into the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.
“In some of my classrooms, my desk was a piano,” he said. “The whole class was just playing and listening. There was no writing or books involved. I mean, there was sheet music, but no lectures. It was mostly just taking turns playing or playing as a group.”
His experiences in Boston were vast. His band Redwood Honey toured with Eddie Money before he passed away. His Berklee graduation included appearances by celebrities such as Justin Timberlake and Missy Elliott.
“I learned how to protect myself as a musician in a world where a lot of people are trying to take advantage of you and your talents,” Daspit said. “It was a lot more than just playing my instrument and going to Berklee.”

Now, Matt Daspit is trying to establish himself in the music scene in Nashville. He bartends at Justin Timberlake’s bar and has performed up and down Broadway Street at various bars, including those owned by Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean.
“They call Nashville a 10-year town,” Matt Daspit said. “So basically, you live here and then in 10 years, you see where you’re at and then you kind of reevaluate. If you’re not really doing what you want to be doing, you try something new or try it a different way or move to another city.”
The vision for Matt Daspit in 10 years is clear. He wants to be married to his girlfriend, have kids and a house with a home studio. He wants to make a name for himself in Nashville.
“I’m on good track to do that,” he said. “I have full confidence in myself. It’s just going to take some time and due diligence and hard work, but I think I can accomplish that for sure.”
Some of his musical inspirations include Robert Glasper, Bill Withers, and Silk Sonic’s Anderson Paak. He hopes that someday he gets to tour with artists like them.
Matt Daspit said he has already seen how influential music is and how it can change people. That remains his constant motivation.
“Being able to put a smile on somebody’s face at the end of the day is the goal for bands and musicians,” Matt Daspit said. “Music is a beautiful thing. If you have a passion for it or a hunger to learn, I highly recommend it. Just work hard, stay true to yourself and be kind.”