If you’re a fan of NBC’s "The Voice," it should come as no surprise to you that 20-year-old gospel singer and Yardley, PA-native Matthew Schuler is the son of a minister, especially after his soulful and moving rendition of “Hallelujah,” which skyrocketed to No. 1 on iTunes shortly after he performed it live during the Nov. 11 show.
What may come as a surprise to you, however, is that Schuler’s chops have some pretty close ties to the produce industry.
His father — the minister and man half-responsible for his son’s incredible voice — just so happens to be Donald M. Schuler, development team member for the Produce for Better Health Foundation, based in Newark, DE.
“Watching our little boy perform — for a dad it’s like, ‘Look at my son. He’s standing tall. He’s belting out these notes. He’s doing something that is moving so many people. He’s doing it, and he feels good about it. He likes to sing, and he likes to make people feel happy,” Donald Schuler told The Produce News on Monday, Nov. 18, before that night’s live show.
This journey, which began back in February when Donald Schuler’s wife (a gospel singer herself, and the other person half-responsible for Matthew’s voice), took their son to New York City’s Madison Square Garden to audition along with 9,000 other hopefuls for a chance to land a spot on the popular NBC show that gives contestants the opportunity to be mentored by celebrity judges Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green. Out of those 9,000 people, three were chosen to move on, with Matthew being one of them.
“He really wants to sing music that makes people feel good,” Donald Schuler said. “The response we’ve gotten back on Facebook and Twitter, and all these other social media sites, is that people are feeling good when he sings, so he’s achieving his goal.”
Matthew certainly had people, especially the ladies, feeling good during his performance on the Nov. 18 live show, when he took on the Labrinth (featuring Emeli Sande) love ballad, “See Beneath Your Beautiful,” even earning a few extra “awes” from audience members when he dedicated the song to his (hypothetical) “future wife.”
And from what Donald Schuler told The Produce News, this move was definitely not out of character for the former high school football player who, according to his father, never missed an opportunity to wish a female friend happy birthday by singing to her.
But what Donald Schuler is most proud of is how his son has stayed true to himself, his family and his faith.
“The [performance] that was most satisfying was ‘Hallelujah,’” he said of his son’s time on the show so far. “That means the highest praise to God, and that’s just a good feeling as a pastor to hear your son even want to sing something like that because so many pastors' kids aren’t. They’re going in the opposite direction, and Matthew’s not.”
"The Voice" is down to its Top 10 performers, and Matthew is still in the running. To watch him perform on the show (and see a few cameos from his parents in the audience), tune into NBC Monday at 8/7c and Tuesday 9/8c.
“We’d like to ask everybody in the produce industry to vote for Matthew because… he’s my boy!” Donald proudly added.
For more information on The Voice and how to vote, visit www.nbc.com/the-voice.