Matthew Olson is combining music and giving back to the community with his new project, Shirtless Violinist.
Olson, who is openly gay, came up with the idea for the Shirtless Violinist during a conversation with his boyfriend and Shirtless Violinist producer Paul Castle. The couple decided to use the video project as a means to raise awareness of homelessness, mental illness and substance abuse, and to spark motivation in others to give back to their communities.
Olson is a professionally trained violinist who has played on stage with singers such as Andrea Bocelli and Josh Groban. He is also part of a musical trio Two Hits and a Miss with his two siblings who are also both professionally trained violinists.
For his first video, Olson performs a violin cover of “Rise” by Katy Perry shot in scenic locations throughout the West Coast such as Napa Valley, Portland International Airport and the Golden Gate Bridge. Of course, the performance is filmed with Olson completely shirtless.
Olson encourages viewers at the end of the video to post a picture of themselves giving to a local charity with the hashtag #ShirtOffMyBack on social media for a chance to be featured in an upcoming music video.
Shirtless Violinist plans to release two or more music videos every month at other locations to continue to promote the #ShirtOffMyBack campaign.
Check it out below.