Matt Henry is best known for his multi award winning portrayal of Lola in London's West End hit show, Kinky Boots. Matt's Lola is a tour de force, a truly breathtaking and awe inspiring performance which has garnered Matt well deserved praise, recognition and awards. Last year Matt won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical, along with a WhatsOnStage Award and most recently was nominated for a Grammy! Alongside all of this somehow he managed to tour the UK with his excellent debut album, Red Flare and supported Cyndi Lauper on her UK Tour. He is a marvel, sheer talent and one of the nicest people I know.
You may also recognise Matt from the W&W Lookbook...we worked together a million years ago on a theatre job that was an adventure in it's own, very unique way. Matt & I became friends for life, along with two other wonderful actors, as together we all travelled back & forth from London to Northampton. During every journey we talked, about our ambitions and plans and I knitted. Each day and every train ride, the guys held my yarn and watched my creations grow and develop. Years later Wool & Water was born and Matt has been one of my most ardent supporters. It is my absolute pleasure to share this very special Curious Interview.
The Curious Interview with Matt Henry
What are you most curious about?
Communication. I am so curious about how we communicate with each other, in particular when it comes to speaking different languages. I am learning Italian right now and when I am with people speaking both English and Italian, it is fascinating to me. The ability to be able to switch between the two. I have a curiosity about that, about how that works. I find that exciting.
We [Matt & his husband Joe] bought a house in Italy and I don't want to just go to the country and expect people to speak English to us. I want to learn about the people, the culture, the language and everything that comes with that.
It's a way of leaving what we know and breaking that barrier and learning how to express yourself and with more people.
How does your curiosity serve your creativity?
With anything that I do, whether that is acting, music or screen writing, I want to communicate a story. More specifically someone's story in what I do, however I can do it.
What inspires you?
People's passion, their lust for life and their drive. I get inspiration from being around people who are creative of course but also being around people who have very different careers to me and are succeeding. For example, a family friend is an anaesthetist and listening to his stories, the power he has in that job and the risks that come with it, it inspires you to, just be good at what you do and invest in yourself.
I am so inspired by driven people.
How would you describe your style?
I love fashion. My personal style is about always having a signature piece, something that stands out. If it's a black suit but you have red socks on - boom. I wore this beautiful gold leaf jacket to the Grammys. That was the piece, the rest was black, that detailing was the stand out.
For the Olivier's I thought, again, the jacket has to be the statement piece, jacquard, velvet lapel. I envisaged what I wanted and saw it...in a magazine but it was Dolce & Gabbana and incredibly expensive... In fact a stylist contacted me on Instagram and asked to dress me for the Oliviers. He then takes me, without any prompting from me, straight to D&G and pointed out the exact same suit and said. "That is what I want you to wear". They loaned me the whole suit. Then when I won, they said keep it!
I'm talking about big events here but even in my everyday life, I may wear a black coat, jeans, trainers, all black but my hat is yellow. I love colour. I am a man of colour.
My style has definitely developed, I have had some hit and miss moments, it's a process. In life you have these moments, where people are watching and you want to get it right for yourself. I want to feel like I own my moment, I am representing myself in the best way.
What do you particularly like about Wool & Water?
I like the colour choices. I love that I have known where W&W started from, I know there is a lot of love and passion that has gone into it. It's hard to separate aspects because I like it all. I was there from the start of the journey, from the embryo to 3 years on, it's not crawling anymore, it's a full toddler.
You have inspired me because you have the ability to pick up something that was a passion and make it into something. You can never under estimate what you've done, over the time I've known you. I think it's inspiring.
"When I wear my Wool & Water Skinny Tie I... feel fly."
Matt's Wool & Water piece of choice is the Mustard Skinny Tie
Download & dance to Matt's debut album, Red Flare from iTunes here & follow him on Facebook and Instagram/Twitter @mrmatthenry
Music: Red Flare performed by Matt Henry
With thanks to Photographer & Promo Film Director @samohmahony