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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesIsland Expressions: Matt Cring

Island Expressions: Matt Cring

March 1, 2009 — Matt Cring came to St. Thomas as a music major, but his first snorkel at Coki Beach changed everything.
"I saw that and was like, 'It's marine biology for me right now,'" he says. "I can study music on my own. I'm properly trained, and I knew I could be a successful musician without more schooling."
The recent success of his indie-rock band, So High So Low, is proving him right. They have weekly gigs all around Yacht Haven and have played from Paradise Point to Hull Bay.
Cring, 23, graduated from the University of the Virgin Islands in 2008. He has played his bass guitar from Ontario to New York, Florida to the Caribbean.
Recently, while playing a pirate aboard The Pirate Harbor Tours catamaran, he heard his band's single "Marjorie" on 96.1 Pirate Radio.
"I didn't even know it was on the radio until one day I was sitting on the pirate boat and all of a sudden I hear it playing," Cring says. "That's Step One right there. An absolutely great feeling, you can't beat it."
Yes, among other things, Cring is a pirate. And he loves it.
"Being a pirate's an awesome gig," he says. "It's almost like a form of stress relief. As a pirate, I can sit there and yell at these tourists and they eat it up. That's the pirate lifestyle right there. Commanding their attention and then just absolutely going crazy, letting loose.
"It's just like music, man. You sit there in front of a bunch of people, entertain them for the entire day and that's a great feeling when you can entertain up to 600 people in a day."
Though music is his current focus, Cring still finds time to put to use his bachelor of science degree in marine biology and rescue-diving certification.
Recently he served as the marine biologist for a couple weeks aboard Juliet, the 104-foot, three-mast sailboat used for dive charts typically parked along the St. Thomas waterfront. He has also worked with Reef Check, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of tropical coral reefs, and done some research in neurophysiology at UVI.
Cring also finds time to hit the local waves.
"Much like everything else I've done, I got my start surfing down here," he says. "I had the joy of breaking my nose on a sand bar the first day I went surfing. I went back on the beach, waited for my nose to stop bleeding, and then you better believe I went right back out there."
But at the end of the day, Cring considers himself a musician. Before coming to UVI, he got accepted into the Berklee School of Music. He began learning piano at age 5 and drums at age 9. He picked up the bass guitar in ninth grade and played a show with his buddies four days later. He learned the six-string guitar just to play better with other musicians. And his favorite island memory, a gig at Hull Bay, sums up his passion for the music scene.
"The lights shining down on us," he says. "Sweat dripping down our faces. You couldn't see anybody, but you can hear them. They were digging every moment. And to have that out there, it just makes your heart skip a beat. You die for a minute there, just take it all in, and you feel that rush."
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