Written By Kelly Holm
For Matthew Sainvil, known solely by his last name, the musical odyssey has been a continuous journey of reinvention. Born to a Haitian immigrant mother and raised in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood, Sainvil grew up acting in plays and taking influences from a variety of sounds that permeated the cultural melting pot of his home.
“After I made the first song that I actually liked, [music] became more of an obsession than a hobby,” Sainvil says of his early years. “Since then I’ve been hooked, and can’t imagine doing anything else.”
After his father’s death and a move north, Sainvil became increasingly engrossed in music, taking influence from artists like Michael Jackson, Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z and eventually self-recording original songs and posting them to MySpace.
“Luckily, I had a different name back then, so I’m sure it’s lost to the world,” he says of his early catalogue.
Sainvil kept adapting and reinventing himself in order to make his mark on the musical scene. He went by the name Villz for a period of time before landing on his current moniker. After releasing a pair of 7-track EPs last year— In Bad Shape and the amusingly-titled 2020 Was Hijacked — he’s now been sporadically dropping singles, including the recent “Oouu,” in preparation for a new release called They’re All Goblins, which promises to be his most personal project yet.
“They’re All Goblins is about the state of self, versus ‘2020 Was Hijacked’ was about the state of the world,” he says. “[My favorite song on the EP] honestly depends on the day, not just saying this, but I love them all.”
Recorded in Very Special Studios of Los Angeles, the performance video for “Oouu” hit YouTube on August 11, and racked up nearly 40K views in its first five days. Sainvil was assisted by an 8-person crew to help put the project together, including director Tharith Petera and producer Matthew Reyes. Days after the release of the live performance, the official music video for the single premiered exclusively on Elicit.
“I lock in with my guys and we create,” he says of the dynamic during the EP’s production process.
“Oouu,” however, is decidedly lyrically devoted to a special girl, with the titular onomatopoeia pervading throughout the track’s three minutes as an expression of affection.
“This song is just about being addicted to her, and doing anything for her,” Sainvil says.
His creative juices show no indications of running dry anytime soon, as he continues to regularly release new bops, assuring fans that they’ll receive “something new and different every time.”
“My motivation is trying to supply a soundtrack for the moments my supporters make, art for the ones who appreciate it, and a career to lift my family,” he says, adding that he hopes to purchase a new house for his family by the end of the year. He is determined to not let praise get to his head, in order to remain constantly focused on the goal of self-improvement. Above all, he seeks to go with his gut and stay true to himself in order to propel his trajectory to the highest possible heights.
“I honestly think I’ll only be satisfied with a 15-plus year run,” he says of his career. “People appreciating the art matters the most to me.”