At one point in his life, Matt Goss was one of the most famous men on the planet, with a string of hit singles and playing some of the biggest venues in the world. Alongside twin brother Luke, Matt’s trademark blonde quiff made him instantly recognisable as one third of boy band Bros, and as one of the biggest heartthrobs of the late 80s.
Fast forward some twenty years and the quiff has long gone, and whilst Matt’s fame may have lessened, it most definitely has not diminished. He’s now got a residency at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, no less, with a tribute to the Rat Pack.
“The style of the Rat Pack moved me a lot,” he explains. “I think when you’re a young man, you don’t have the courage to really wear exactly what you want – you go with trends and that’s what I did when I was young. But the Rat Pack fashion-wise – Cary Grant, David Niven – David Niven was an incredibly dressed man.”
Clothing, it seems, or more specifically style, is something that Matt is particularly passionate about. “I love clothes,” he enthuses. “My favourite brands are Pal Zileri, Vivienne Westwood and Tom Ford.” But, advises Matt, having a sense of style is not the same as following fashion fads: “I think that one thing for me that’s really important about menswear is that you shouldn’t be obsessed with trends, you should be obsessed with style and I think, guys? You should have the courage to maybe find a suit and then go and buy a vintage tie or a vintage pair of braces or something so that it belongs to you, just you. You can go to a vintage store and buy a tie and there’s only one of those ties.” Uniqueness, then, is the key to Matt’s current tailored look. “Most people, they see something from top to bottom and buy that outfit, but it’s more fun going to find something there’s only one of.” So, is there anything else style-wise that he’s a fan of? “I’m a watch freak – I love my watches! I wear Patek Philippe a lot. I love the workmanship. I think most guys love a watch. There’s something very, very intense about a watch. Under this serene face, it’s working its heart out. And an automatic watch never stops. I don’t think I will ever be satisfied when it comes to watches – there’s always a watch that I want.”
It’s not all that Matt wants right now. “I always want to stay in Vegas. I always want to have a show,” he smiles. “Right now, I have my own show room and my own bar. I’m proud of being at Caesar’s.” Rightly so – it seems Londoner Matt may have finally found somewhere to call home, which is an odd thing to say about a Brit living in the US. “Do I feel British when I’m in Vegas?” he muses. “I’d feel British on the moon! I’m an Englishman through and through. I’m very, very proud and very worldly – I’ve lived in Italy, I’ve lived in America, I’ve lived all over the world, travelled all over the world. I love culture and I love different traditions and I truly respect everyone’s faith. I have a saying, ‘only a fool knows everything,’ so when you go and you travel, you learn something every day. I think travel is truly the only real wealth left. Take away the money, and memories and travel is such a wealth. I actually do think memories might be one of the few things we can take with us.”
He certainly hasn’t abandoned his pride in his roots, and he’s very philosophical about it. “When I get off the plane and I go into central London or west London, the architecture is something that makes me incredibly proud because the buildings look back at you. They make you feel like you’ve only been here for a minute cos they’ve been here for hundreds of years and they’re going to continue to be here, God willing, for hundreds of years so there’s something very humbling about the architecture in London, not to mention how beautiful it is. Also, I’m a Royalist so I love the Queen. I go past Buckingham Palace every time I come back to London. I call her Lovely Liz,” he says, laughing. So, what does he miss most about his homeland? Probably not what you’d expect. “Quite honestly, I just miss the fact that people know me here – I’ll be on the street and a black cab driver will say, ‘hello Matt,’ and I’m like, ‘hello mate,’ and it feels like home, you know? I love it.”
For now, though, Matt has no immediate plans to return to live in the UK, but he’s more than happy to come back over to support a cause very close to his heart – The Amy Winehouse Foundation. “She was one of the first singers in a long time that really, really moved me,” he explains. “When I first heard her voice come out of the speakers, I didn’t know who she was, but I was like, that is a world-class voice – it’s so honest and organic. When I found out she’d died, it just broke my heart. I was truly sad. I was in Vegas when I found out and I was actually emotional. Then I found out Mitch was on his way to New York to do a show, only he didn’t, he had to turn around and deal with the tragic loss of his daughter, as did Janice, her lovely mum, so I decided just to call up Mitch. I didn’t know him, but I got his cell phone number and I called up Mitch and said, do you want to open up the show at the Royal Albert Hall and he said he’d love to, and my fans were really beautiful to him. Then from there, we became friends.”
Suddenly, Matt’s billing at the first annual Amy Winehouse Foundation Ball becomes clear. “Mitch asked if I would help him celebrate the evening, and really try and warm up the room – and we really did. Amy’s mum sat with my mum and they exchanged stories cos we both put our mums through a lot, you know, travelling for so many years and doing so many shows and being away from home.” But far from talking solely about the Ball, Matt is quick to point out the good work the Foundation is doing. “The cause of the charity is education about drugs and about homelessness and really in a sub heading, knowledge – anything that creates more knowledge around something so dark. As Mitch says, drug addiction is not a very sexy subject, but if you can create knowledge so when somebody hears about a drug, they know exactly what it is and why not to take it, then it’s better education, so that’s why I want to be involved.”
Matt’s philanthropic nature makes him very humble, but it isn’t just reserved for his work for the Foundation; it’s a principle he applies to his whole life. “Every time I think we’ve done something extraordinary, even for The Amy Winehouse Foundation, it never ceases to amaze me and I try and urge my band and the people around me to always remember to be humble enough to be excited about the little things, not just the big shows. The girl in the wheelchair you saw? I was asked to go and visit her nine years ago because she was very, very ill. But I had a chat with her and she’s still here at my show last night. To me, that’s a blessing. How do you explain that to somebody who thinks that your life is just glamorous and about singing? When I can see her face, I can sing better cos she’s still on this earth. So I have somebody who will come to this show that’s not well and they leave, and then they send me an e-mail and say, ‘I haven’t been in pain since I left your show and I feel amazing.’ There are things that are really not very sexy subjects but life can be pretty amazing. It’s not just about being glamorous; it’s about the things that touch your heart, and touch your spirit.”
Matt is clearly in a good place right now, a marked contrast from the fallout from when he was cheated out of his Bros millions by his former manager. “I wish I’d known a little bit more about the business when I first started out,” he reflects. “When an artist is young, I think it’s the duty of a manager to look after young talent but that’s not always the way, so I wish I’d known more about the business. I was only seventeen when I recorded my first album.” He remains steadfastly philosophical, however. “I still feel incredibly young, I still feel very excited about the future. To me, that’s a blessing. I’m still a contender, haha! To quote – who said that? Marlon Brando, I think. Yeah, I’m still a contender.”
So, as a contender, where does Matt see himself in ten year’s time? “People have asked me that for twenty years,” he says with a wry smile. “I just always say the same thing – I just want to keep singing. That’s the thing; I just want to continue to do what I love to do.” Not only does Matt have his Vegas residency to keep him busy, but he gets booked for other shows as well, often across the globe. Last New Year’s Eve saw him performing on a $600 million yacht to an audience of household names. “I’m lucky,” he acknowledges.
Speaking of lucky, what is his favourite luxury? Matt bursts out into infectious laughter. “Errrr, where do I start? I’m a Brit, so my favourite car that I drive is an Aston Martin. I think cars, clothes and watches – and very pretty women,” he adds, fixing us with his intense, blue eyes. “My favourite colour is when a woman blushes,” he grins. “That’s my favourite colour.”
Grateful, humble and impossibly charming – Matt Goss is perfectly poised to garner himself more fans second time round. Good things really do come to those who wait.