Hello everyone. My name is Matt Mangano and I play the bass. I'm honored to be the newest member of Zac Brown Band. Having been the director of Southern Ground Studios, I've been around the gang for a few years, so it already feels like home. Since you may not know me yet, I'll share a little bit about myself.
I was born May 12, 1976 in Visalia, CA, the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. My parents raised my two sisters and I well, and have always been supportive of my musical journey. At a young age, I was exposed to my dad's Martin guitar and my grandmother's baby grand piano, both of which I now have in my home. When I was 10 years old, I learned to play the saxophone and the guitar. As a freshman in high school, in order to join the school's Jazz Band, I learned to play the bass. I'm thankful for my years in the high school band. Our instructor, Mr. Dennis Bettencourt, provided a safe and nurturing environment for us to explore our musical abilities. I feel that music education is very important and should be promoted in schools.
After high school, and a brief stint at Visalia's College of the Sequoias, I enrolled in the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. It was here that I met many important people in my musical life, including Clay Cook, John Mayer, fiddle-virtuoso Casey Driessen, and bassist Mark Kelley. I engaged in a variety of studies, from music theory to audio production. But it was what I did out of the classroom that had a real impact on me. In my dorm-room "recording studio," I helped my friends record their songs. Among these was John Mayer's "Comfortable," which is a trademark song from his early years.
I graduated from Berklee and moved to Atlanta, GA, where I began playing the local bar scene. Soon after, I was hired for my first real tour as the bassist for Michelle Malone. It was also around this time when I met Zac Brown. I began occasionally playing with Zac at bars around West Georgia. In 2001, I had the opportunity to tour as a guitarist with John Mayer on his Room For Squares tour. I got to see, firsthand, the making of a pop music sensation, and learned about the crazy inner-workings of the music business.
Once in a while, when you're young, you can get carried away with the way you live your life. In 2002, I decided to leave John's band and move to Nashville, TN, return to life as a bass player, and hone my skills in recording music. I became immersed in the bluegrass and singer/songwriter scene. I found myself playing bass for some fantastic songwriters such as Darrell Scott, Dave Barnes, Matt Wertz, and Shawn Mullins.
In 2008, Zac and I reconnected when he asked me to help him work on the three records that would be the foundation of Southern Ground Artists. That job led to a full-time position working for SGA, recording and producing music. In early 2012, I helped Zac with the founding of Southern Ground Nashville, one of Nashville's finest recording facilities.
On a personal level, I love spending my free time with my wife Emily and our son Elliott. I enjoy gardening, cooking, and Wikipedia surfing. I don't follow any sports, but enjoy watching a game from time to time. I'm fascinated by autonomous motion and electricity, and I'm just beginning a pocket watch collection.
Thanks for reading, and always ENJOY MUSIC.
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