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The Musicmen

Two Men, One Passion

Article by Aubrey Sewell

Photography by Submitted by M. Jollie & S. Farst

Originally published in Fort Myers Lifestyle

Tom Petty once said that “Music is probably the only real magic” and with how the world has unfolded this year, magic is just what we have all hoped for, sought after, and needed a dose of. Two of our incredibly talented local musicians, Matty Jollie and Steve Farst, have a passion for music that flows through them to reach, inspire, affect, and move everyone who has the privilege to experience their magic.

Matt Jollie was born with music in his genes as his father, Bill Jollie, was a musician. From the time he could walk, he watched his father perform and before the age of five, Mattie, propped up on a barstool, had his stage debut singing “Stand By Me” during one of his dad’s shows and received a standing ovation. With that positive response and watching the effect his father’s music had on people as he grew up, Matty knew he wanted to follow in those footsteps. He finds his inspiration, motivation and joy in supporting his friends in the music industry and discovering unknown artists, here in SWFL or in his travels across the country, solo or with his band, Powerhouse: Next Generation.

His music reflects his many facets. His cover songs showcase him as the ultimate entertainer and he loves belting out sing-a-long classics. As a songwriter, he is a lyrical storyteller, pulling the listener right into the song with him so they feel each word, note, and emotion as if it’s their own. With favorite songs “She Talks to Angels” and “New York State of Mind” to sing and desires to open for singer-songwriters John Mayer, Shawn Mendes, or Ed Sheeran with his guitar or croon with the infamous Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble, the width of his talent equals the depth of his passion. Stepping onto the stage both satisfies and sets his soul on fire. “It’s better than any adrenaline rush. It’s literally my life force. My absolute favorite moment is the split second before the very first note. You’re looking at the audience, they’re looking back at you. You’re the center of attention. The anticipation, anxiety, and excitement right before you start is unlike anything I’ve ever felt. When you get that first positive reaction from the crowd, it literally makes every single second of practice, and every mile traveled, totally worth it.” With the world being such a weird place lately, Matty feels like musicians are more important than ever because people need an escape. He has been streaming live acoustic performances from his “Living Room Lounge” on his Facebook account to help people through these uncertain times and he has done so in such an authentic way that his social media platform and fan base is growing beyond the scope of his imagination. 

Steve Farst was 15 years old when he stepped into a music store and had his eyes land on an electric guitar.  He wasn’t very good at sports, and honestly wasn’t into music as piano and keyboards bored him, but he had been searching for something to connect with and the guitar was his answer.  It didn’t matter if it was rock, metal, country, or blues, the guitar became an extension of him.  Loving this instrument and growing up in the 80’s, with rock and roll and complex guitar shreds, was the perfect pairing.  It wasn’t until later in his music career that Steve started singing, but that was a perfect fit as well and rounded him out as an artist.

Stepping onto the stage is like coming home for Steve.  Whatever has been on his mind just disappears and nothing else matters.  There’s no filter, no pretense; it’s just raw expression.  His music is his own.  As a younger artist, he attempted to sound just like the original singer of whatever song he was performing, but as he has come into his own, his focus has shifted to putting his “fingerprint” on each arrangement to make it uniquely his. 

Steve loves that Ft. Myers is his musical home base. Instead of him traveling around to reach different audiences, he performs in his own community to audiences that come to him from all over the country and the world.  He has done his share of traveling, though, and in doing so has had the privilege of opening for “Night Ranger” and joining “Winger” on stage; now he’s just waiting for the day he gets to open for John Mayer.   

With the current health crisis, Steve’s business has suffered greatly as events have been rescheduled, put on hold or cancelled all together.  Steve has also taken to online shows through his Facebook page. This format is a new frontier, proving its value not only to those watching, but to Steve’s own sanity and feeling of purpose. The support from his existing friends and fans is humbling and the new fans he’s reaching is astounding. His positivity, shout-outs to those tuned in “Live,” and playing people’s requests as they come in is the breath of fresh air his followers need, his new fans are seeking, and everyone keeps returning to.