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Articles Home » Music Talk » Interview with SteelHeart Vocalist Miljenko Matijevic By Thomas Amoriello Jr.
Interview with SteelHeart Vocalist Miljenko Matijevic By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

Never Lose Heart

Interview with SteelHeart Vocalist Miljenko Matijevic

By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

Boston Rock Radio

Since its inception, the strength of SteelHeart has been built around the vocal range and songwriting skills of Mili Matijevic.  The 2020 version of the band that Matijevic has assembled to deliver the "hits" and current repertoire includes bassist Marten Andersson, guitarist Joe Pessia and drummer Mike Humbert.  The monster ballad approved "I'll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes)" was the most recognizable number the original lineup provided during the promotional campaign of the eponymous release reaching #23 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1990. Fans of the 2001 film Rock Star starring Mark Walberg would also recognize the Matijevic penned and sung, "We All Die Young" as the dramatic centerpiece scene which the Chris Cole/Izzy character lip-synced to pass the Steel Dragon studio audition to get the gig!  Since then SteelHeart has released live and studio recordings, toured, and appeared at festivals with various members to help Matijevic deliver his vision.  Boston Rock Radio would like to thank Mili Matijevic for this exclusive Boston Rock Radio interview.

 

If you would like to tell Boston Rock Radio readers about  the "Trust in Love" project that you are currently producing?

I wrote this song before the pandemic started.   I felt the world could use a little love and to help us come together again.  I felt a new world coming for years and the time is now.  A new world is here and we are all learning how to adapt to it.  I have asked the fans and anyone who would like to join me on this journey to sing on the chorus with me.  I have received an overwhelming amount of vocals from fans all over the world, which made me very happy.  It's not about how great you can sing or not, It's about the energy, the love and the souls that come through their voice.  This is so powerful and it will show in the song.   I am truly honored to present this song to the world.  I hope you all enjoy it and feel the energy it beholds.   

 

In many of the live clips including the "Good 2 Be Alive" Colorado mountainside, you are wielding an Ovation acoustic.  Please talk about how you came to favor these guitars? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dl-I1ql3O_A

I do use the Ovation guitars quite a bit.  I connected with the company years ago and they just have been with me ever since.  The guitars have been my work horses on the road as well as in the studio.  I have been using a 12 string Ovation for all my live performances. I have beat the hell out of them and dragged them through the cargo bins throughout the world and always worked great when I plugged them in.

Though not a successful movie dollars and cents wise at the box office, the movie Rock Star is a cult classic among rockers and metal fans. Obviously "We All Die Young" was a climactic moment in the film.  What was that experience like for you at the time?

The best way to describe the experience is “fun."  We had no choice but to enjoy the process of creating history together.  The band, the producer, the engineers, and everyone who was involved with the project were amazing and a pleasure to work with.  We ate, drank, and rocked like "Rock Stars" every day we worked on the album.  There was no shortage of fun.  One day when we were in rehearsal the music director came in and asked if we had any songs from any of our previous albums or had written something recently that may work in the movie.  The first time I played them “We All Die Young” they all immediately wanted to add the song in the movie. That made my day! The original version of that song is on my album called WAIT.  Some really great songs on that album, you should give it a spin! There is a lot more to come from that movie, I can't talk about it right now but I am certain you will hear about it soon.

 

SteelHeart has been extremely successful in Japan and Hong Kong, what are your thoughts on why the Asian market appreciated your art more than in other places in the world?

SteelHeart basically started in Japan in 1990 and quickly spread throughout the rest of Asia.  The song “She’s Gone” was an instant connection with them.  The first time Masa Itoan influential Deejay in Japan, played the song on the radio he received thousands of calls to the station to find out who was the band.  Till this day “She’s Gone” is still the number one karaoke song in Korea since it was released in 1989.  Also one of the top pop songs ever in Korea and many Asian countries.   This is and has been absolutely amazing!   I am truly honored to have written a song that has touched so many souls.  SteelHeart is still touring Asia on a regular basis.  

 

What is your approach to songwriting?  Do songs come naturally and spontaneously to you?  Do you keep lyric journals, go through the editing process and rearranging of ideas?

I DON’T KNOW WHERE OR HOW BUT IT COMES TO ME! When they call on me I have to respect and listen to what is being sent to me.  There have been many times I have woken in the middle of the night with a lyric or a melody and I would immediately jump out of bed and write it down or sing it into my phone or some kind of a recorder.  It was told to me years ago, I cannot be lazy.  When they call on me, I have to be ready no matter where I am, what time or place. The new song “Trust in Love” was written just like that.  I had a friend from England visiting me and we were on our way out for a beer.  Our driver just arrived and he proceeded downstairs as I was shutting the lights off.  Just as I was going out the door something pulled me back to the piano.  I sat down and out of nowhere I played the main riff of the chorus.  It was magic!  I had to play it several times not to forget it and immediately recorded it on my phone.  Time stops for me in those moments.  They are surreal but very real.  This is the agreement I made with myself and the spirits when I agreed to be an artist.  I jumped in the car all excited and played the piano I just wrote.  By the time we got to our destination, I wrote the melody and lyrics to the chorus.  

There have been various lineup changes of the years to the group.  Please talk about the dynamic in the current version with Marten on bass, Mike on drums and Joe on guitar?  

The Gents that are with me now are a pleasure to work with. The best way to describe it is “respect." They are all truly easy to work with and we are all respectful to each other.  No drama, no anger, frustration, no demands!  Just a bunch of good people traveling together and doing what they love to do.  No one steps on anyone's toes and it's literally always a laugh and a pleasure to see them.  

 

What are the latest plans for SteelHeart going into 2021?

There will be a lot of touring throughout the world and the focus is on another SteelHeart album.  There is so much I want to do, I just don’t know if a lifetime is enough time.  Thank you all for your love and support that has given me the strength to keep me going all these years.  I hope I have given you back the same. lv. Ya All!!  


Official SteelHeart Website

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Boston Rock Radio Music Journalist Thomas Amoriello Jr. is a heavy metal guitarist, children's picture book author, educator and recording artist who resides in Lambertville, New Jersey, USA. You can learn more about Tom at https://thomasamoriello.com

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