Matt Zarley will be in D.C. for “Paint the Town for Trevor,” the third annual D.C. Pride fundraiser event for the Trevor Project at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) on June 6 at 6:30 p.m.
Zarley has been involved with the Trevor Project for about six years. His cover of Pat Benetar’s 1984 hit “We Belong” was inspired by his work with the organization.
“I think [bullying] has always been a problem, we’re just more aware of it now, and I think that they’ve been instrumental in really bringing it to the forefront of the mainstream,” Zarley says of the organization. “What I was really attracted to was the work that they do and what they stand for. I just think it’s really invaluable.”
Zarley, a beefy openly gay dance/inspirational singer based in Los Angeles, has enjoyed recent fame in a series of video singles that show off his sense of humor. Last year’s “WTF” was full of cheeky humor and elaborate design work. Current single/video “Trust Me” imagines him as a U.S. presidential candidate trapped in a gay sex scandal.
His family started the Zarley Family Foundation to lend their support to causes that they, as individuals and collectively as a family, are passionate about and the foundation has previously given money to the Trevor Project.
The foundation has also given money to the Starkey Hearing Foundation, Casa Pacifica, Boys Town, the Boys & Girls Club and Broadway Cares.
Zarley sort of grew up in the show business world, debuting on Broadway in “A Chorus Line” while still a teenager. He has also appeared in “Cats,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Chicago,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “The Who’s Tommy.”
Zarley will also be closing the Broadway Bares Beach Burlesque show with his latest single at Fire Island on Saturday. For more information, visit broadwaybares.com.
“I think its important for all of us to support one another. It’s such a niche market and I think the more we support one another and reach out … the more we’ll become a main stream commodity,” Zarley says. “I think we need to embrace each other.”
Zarley is in the midst of a busy summer. He’ll also be appearing at various Prides including San Deigo, Vegas and Reno as well as Chicago’s Market Days, an event he’s always wanted to be a part of.
Zarley has also appeared on television in Disney’s “Cinderella,” “Annie,” “Geppetto” and “Fame.” He can also be heard on the NBC’s musical “Smash.”
He has worked with artists such as Chaka Khan, Josh Groban, Reba McIntire and more. His debut album, “Debut,” was released in 2002. His sophomore album, “Here I Am” had its title track chosen as a top 20 finalist in the 2008 “American Idol” songwriter competition. His latest album, “Change Begins With Me” was released last summer.
In 2002, Zarley was the first openly gay bachelor to be named in “People Magazine’s” “Hottest Bachelors” issue.
“People always ask me, ‘Do you feel like you’re taking a risk?'” Zarley says about being an openly gay artist. “It is what it is and we are who we are.”
Tickets to “Paint the Town” range from $50 to $150 and can be purchased online at thetrevorproject.org. The Trevor Project is a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT youth. For more information on Zarley, visit his official website mattzarley.com.