An everyday Aussie mastering big feats in the worldwide fitness industry!

“I  love  the  business  but  some  days  I  just  turn  off  my  phone  and  read  a  book”  Matt  says  shyly,  running  a  hand  along  his  tanned  forearms,  navy  blue  shirt  sleeves  pushed  up  to  his  elbows.  We  are  sitting  in  the  Los  Angeles  airport,  after  being  drawn  to  meet  each  other  through  our  familiar  accents,  while  the  boy  from  the  bush  is  reminiscing  about  the  days  growing  up  on  the  outskirts  of  Coonabarabran,  NSW,  on  a  little  property  with  his  Mother  and  younger  Brother.  “Small  town,  no  traffic  jams,  I  do  miss  that  place  sometimes.”  He  smiles.  Even  though  24-year-old  Schooner  is  now  one  of  the  most  sought  after  male  fitness  models  in  Australia  and  overseas,  it’s  easy  to  see  why  he  needs  his  peace  and  quiet  from  time  to  time.  And  you  wonder  why  I  stopped  to  talk  to  him?

How  it  all  began…
Being  raised  by  a  single  devoted  Mother,  working  two  jobs,  he  was  encouraged.  “My  Mum  is  my  inspiration”,  he  says  solemnly.  “She  worked  constantly  to  make  sure  we  had  a  roof  over  our  heads  and  food  on  the  table”.  High  school  was  the  starting  point to  his  career,  when  all  the  other  kids  were  either  studying  for  a  specific  job  or playing  sport  to  get  into  the  top  leagues,  he  would  go  to  the  gym  during  lunch  time  and  then  again  in  the  afternoon.  “It  was  my  way  to  escape  the  stressfulness  of  school.  Once  I  put  those  earphones  in,  my  whole  attitude  changed  and  I  would  become  relaxed  and  energised.”  After  a  few  months  of  doing  his  routine,  a  man  approached  him  offering  advice  and  mentorship.  “Joe  Douglas;  the  owner  of  the  gym,  explained  to  me  that  he  had  been  watching  my  progress  over  the  past  few  months.  He  saw  my  dedication  and  offered  me  guidance  about  a  career  in  fitness.  I  never  really  knew  anything  about  so  Joe  assisted  me  in  learning  about  the  industry,  along  with  different  routines  and  eating  plans.”

Over  the  next  few  years  of  training  together,  Matt  began  competing  in  male  fitness comps  across  Australia.  These  competitions  are  a  new  high  class  sport  across  the  world  where  winners  can  make  an  amount  of  up  to  $500,000!  Thousands  of  athletes  compete  with  many  competitions  held  yearly.  Matt  competed  in  the  South  Coast  Physique  Championships  in  2012  at  the  age  of  20,  getting  placed  in  the  top  10  males.  Once  he  had  a  taste  of  his  first  competition,  he  craved  it.  He  attended  many more  competitions  over  the  next  years  such  as  the  Virus  Fitness  Mania  Gala  Competition  in  Victoria,  until  he  won  his  position  at  Australia’s  NSW  Championships in  2015.  “I  was  speechless  when  I  heard  them  call  my  name  out  amongst  all  the  other  5  finalists”,  he  laughs.  “I  have  to  keep  pinching  myself  to  believe  that  it  I  really  won.”

After  this  competition,  he  was  asked  to  come  on  board  with  many  different  modelling  agencies  such  as  the  AEFM  Australia’s  Elite  Fitness  Models  and  ANB  Australian  Natural  Bodybuilding.  Through  these  agencies,  he  has  gained  numerous  modelling  positions  for  Australian  magazines  such  as  Men’s  Fitness  and  Men’s  Health.

What  now?
He  claims  that  his  whole  career  started  by  dreaming  about  doing  something  big  with  his  life.  “Travel  was  always  on  my  mind  growing  up”,  he  stops  and  pauses.  “If  it  wasn’t  for  my  trainer  Jo,  and  the  dedication  my  Mother  showed  me,  I  don’t  think  any  of  this  would  have  been  possible.”  He  added  some  very  exciting  news  saying  that  his  younger  brother;  Brad  Schooner  is  beginning  to  walk  in  his  footsteps.  They both  train  together  daily,  while  residing  in  the  Gold  Coast,  so  be  sure  to  keep  an  eye  out  for  the  upcoming  brother  duo.  He’s  not  just  focused  on  family  though,  as  he  encourages  others  who  are  interested  in  fitness  and  don’t  know  where  to  start  to  contact  him  via  social  media  platforms  to  ask  him  any  questions  or  advice  they  may  need.  Things  are  only  going  to  grow  from  here  for  the  champion  fitness  model.

After  a  lot  of  sweat,  blood  and  tears,  literally,  Matt  Schooner  has  now  broken  into  the  male  fitness  modelling  profession,  being  a  highly  sought  after  man  for  competitions,  modelling,  fitness  advertisements,  fitness  fashion  shows,  sports  advertisements,  supplement  advertisements  and  magazine  spreads.  “The  decision  to  create  a  profession  out  of  such  an  industry  is  one  that  involves  constant  dedication,  self-discipline  and  plenty  of  perfect  practice  to  master!”  Meeting  Schooner  just  proves  that  an  everyday  Aussie  can  achieve  his  biggest  dreams  through  determination  and  persistence.

Follow  Matt:
Website;  www.MattSchooner.com,  Facebook;  Matt Schooner,  Twitter;  @MattSchooner,  Instagram;  Matt_Schooner

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Sami’s Canadian tour comes to an end…

Good afternoon everybody, (Well it’s afternoon here in LA)

We have now arrived at the LAX airport awaiting our next flight at midnight through to Brisbane then onto Canberra. It is unbelievable to think that a whole six weeks ago my Canadian tour began. The time has flown by so quickly. This tour has been one of my most memorable experiences and I feel so blessed to have been able to perform in such an amazing country. From the moment I stepped off my home soil, I knew I was headed to another country, yet I felt right at home. Everyone completely welcomed us into their lives and country with open arms. I met some incredible people and musicians that I will be anxious to meet up with in ten months time when I return for my second Canadian tour in June 2017.

This tour commenced on the 26th June 2016 and finished on the 3rd August, when we began our journey home. Throughout our time there, my manager and I visited many towns across Alberta and British Columbia, with me performing 12 shows at; Didsbury, Calgary, Balzac, Banff, Radium Springs, Kamloops and Aldergrove.

So what has this tour actually done for my music career?

PERSONALLY: Well not only did it help me by being able to visit another country and experience that side of life… BUT it has helped me understand my own words when I say; ‘You can never dream too big’ and that ‘I perform music because I love it’. I do live by those words but it just helped remind myself how lucky I am to be living my life. I couldn’t have asked for a better life to be able to do the one thing in the universe I LOVE for a living, travel, write about it and meet/share with other people doing what I do.

CAREER WISE: Before I left for Canada, my co-written song with Sydney musician Steve Deal hit number 5 on the world wide iTunes Country Charts thanks to all of you for purchasing it. You can still purchase the song; “I Just Want To Love You’ for $1.69 on iTunes and request it on CMC Country Music Charts AND watch the film clip on YouTube.

Since then, the song has hit number 18 on the Australia’s radio most played songs which is again amazing so thank you to every radio presenter who played it for their support. You can still help me out by requesting any SAMI song at your local radio station.

While touring Canada, it introduced my music to people who had never heard of me- which is the entire point of touring. By coming to Canada, my bookings for my return tour in 2017 has doubled including new venues due to good reputation.

Not to be vain but it does also give me the title of an ‘International Touring Artist’ which helps a lot!

IN OTHER NEWS…

While being in Canada, I have had my fun too… I flogged a few canucks (Canadians) in pool, i confused the hell of out some by using Aussie slang and scared others by stories about Aussie animals (Those funnel webs will chase ya and watch out for drop bears) haha

I also encouraged many to visit our beautiful country and explained to them about how large Australian truly is. Now with the Aussie dollar dropping so low, I’m sure a few more Canadians will pop over sometime soon.

I have loved Canada but now going back to my beautiful country to continue my touring at home.

Photo taken at the Columbian Icefields, Alberta.DSC04452.JPG

WHITE CLIFFS NSW

I am writing to you this morning from a peaceful spot at the back of the White Cliffs Hotel in NSW. White Cliffs has a population of 100 people, which includes the 50 people who live in town and the other 50 who live on the stations which range out hours either side of the town. It is a completely different world out here from where I grew up and live.

I performed at the hotel on the Saturday night and have been welcomed into the town by the locals since then. Yesterday the publican took myself and Mum for a flight in his plane to sight see the town of White Cliffs, and to have lunch on one of the many stations out this way, which holds one hundred and eighteen thousand acres.

What an unbelievable view it was! White Cliffs is known for its opal mining so when we were in the air, I felt as though I was on the moon due to all the mines. Houses out this way are also dug into the ground to help keep that cool temperature during the horrendous heat in the summer. Besides the mines and the hotel, there is not much else out this way besides a vast land of red dirt, kangaroos, emus and feral goats. Australia is such a large country so it is very interesting to see how the land changes quite quickly from green grass and crops to red dirt with salt bush.

From growing up in Young and living in Canberra, it is amazing to talk to people and see how they live here. It is usually populated either by holiday miners or workers on stations.

The Australian opals they find here are stunning; usually white with purple and blue opal veins streaming throughout the stone. One miner spoke to me about what they commonly find and what they are aiming for. The usual discovery is a small stone with a coloured opal vein running through it. Once they find that, they continue to dig to attempt to find either a flat opal vein in a larger rock; which they would slice open to find opal throughout, or they would hope to find a pineapple opal. A pineapple opal is a rock the size of a pineapple that is completely made of opal. These are rare to find but once they do, they can sell for prices that start at $3000.

It is all about luck out here though. From the early 1800’s, people have been testing their luck mining so now it’s all about location and depth. I asked another miner about how they know where to start and he simply answered that they don’t know, they just start digging and hope to find something good. People come from all over the country to spend weeks to months testing their luck.

White Cliffs should be one place that’s on your bucket list to visit. It is an extraordinary place that will make you see how wonderful our country is.

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2016 Tamworth Country Music Festival

TAMWORTH COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL 2016

On the 16th January, I ventured out yet again in my tour bus to attend my fifth Tamworth Country Music Festival. Since kicking off my yearly tradition of performing at this festival in 2011, I have (on average) performed between twenty to thirty solo shows, showcases and/or guest appearances during the ten days each year.

Due to working on radio at Young’s local community station 2yyy 92.3fm while I was in high school, for the past three years, I have co-hosted and run my own shows on the Tamworth festival radio during the event. I also was given the opportunity to interview and report on the Golden Guitar Awards and write up a story each year for the Young Witness newspaper. In March last year, I began studying Professional Writing and Editing which has assisted me in continuing to report on each festival.

This year, I performed 26 shows, including three of my usual three hour stints, being the host of showcases and again reporting for the newspaper at the Golden Guitar Awards.

Since finishing school at Young High School in 2013, I have toured the Eastern side of Australia, performing over one hundred solo shows yearly. This year, I was very honoured to be nominated by the people as Female Artist of the year in the Australian People’s Choice Awards, showing that my hard work has been recognised. It was a big encouragement as I was up against industry favourites such as Amber Lawrence, Beccy Cole and Kasey Chambers. Amber deservingly won but it was still such an award in itself to be up against those talents.

However, it is always nice to walk away with an award so I was thrilled to be presented by Leonie Mclure the 2RRR 88.5fm and AAAmusiclinx.com Award. This is now hanging in my cabinet. 

For my third year, I have been part of the Tamworth Festival Cavalcade parade. Each year, I try something new so this time I stood in a trailer which was connected to my tour bus. Everything was going well; the balloons had not popped, my New Zealand, Australian and Canadian flags were hung up and flowing but once the parade started, down came the rain. If you have been to Tamworth during the festival, you would know that the weather usually starts with fires and ends the festival with floods so this rain was not light. A lot of people got into their cars or pulled off under shelter but I was having too much fun so myself, and my crew all got drenched. We drove to the very end of the street and I can honestly say that it was the most fun I had in the parade.

The Golden Guitar Awards, as usual, was still the highlight of the festival. I had such a great time interviewing a lot of my friends who were up for the awards. If you’d like to see these interviews, you can head to my YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/coyote921996/videos and view the videos. All photos from the night have been uploaded to my music page www.Facebook.com/SAMI.official.music. It’s always special to be able to celebrate the end of the festival at the Golden Guitar after party with all the other musicians.

As a musician performing at the festival, it is one of the most enjoyable and exhausting places to be but it’s all about advertising, meeting new people, making contacts and trying to get noticed- Just like everybody else. This industry is such an amazing one as with my job, I can never stop learning. Every show is different; every audience is unpredictable and every musician you work with, teaches you something new. To me, it is like every day is a new adventure; no matter how corny that sounds!

2016 has and will continue to be a big year for me due to the Tamworth Country Music Festival and my two international tours; New Zealand and Canada.

All of this is due to the guidence of Samittar Management and Promotions.

Just daydreaming…

Love is such a beautiful and wonderful feeling…It should be the most easiest thing you should ever have to do. It’s a strange feeling too as it can make you do crazy/erotic things for that one person. It has the impact to change your every thought about people and things… but the best part is, someone feels exactly the same way as you- so you’re not alone. Now believe me, I am no relationship guru, but when it comes to love, I am the most hopeless romantic.

Firsts are the best. Whether it’s the first kiss, first dance, first time you hold hands, first time you wear his shirt, first time you meet the family, the first time he sees you in the morning (scary), your first date, or even your first argument, they are all incredible moments as you get to share them with him. Just remember, every time you have a first, even if you did the same thing with someone else, it’s going to be so different. These are the most important moments as you get to know so much about each other through your firsts together.

I’ve been with my gorgeous man for nearly six months now and there is not one moment that I would want to change. Well maybe the distance…. 27 hours apart is a little unfortunate but we’re both crazy enough about each other to have made it work. Even though we’ve been together for a while now, I am still freaking out about what to wear each time I see him- Not that he would even care if I rocked up in trackies and thongs.  That’s love!

I hope you all have a wonderful day and don’t forget to tell the ones you love how you feel. ❤

Narooma

I’m feeling a little nerdy as I am sitting here wearing my glasses while doing my second part of my Professional Writing and Editing assessment haha. I’m enjoying studying this course… Only another 17 months and I will have completed this, meaning that I will apply to all different newspapers and magazines (In Australia and overseas) as a freelance writer- writing about traveling Australia and touring.

Today I will be going to Bermagui with Mum to get a guided tour with one of our friends Kirsty Lee. It’s such a beautiful area so I am looking forward to it.
I went for a big run right around Narooma yesterday afternoon and I think my face and arms regret that as I am as bright red as a ripe tomato! I guess I didn’t think that I would get burnt but I also did not know that Narooma was just made up of hills…. very steep hills! I don’t know if I walked most of it or ran.

Mum and I made friends with a very content seal yesterday morning, while we were walking around the wharf. He was just relaxing in the warm sun and the glistering water. I think he was quite used to the attention as he floated and flopped around in the current, in front of an intrigued audience.

I had the experience of a lifetime after we saw the seal… We walked over to the other side of the wharf, to where a man was cutting up his fish after fishing. There were around four meter long sting rays hanging around, waiting for the left over fish and telling the birds who’s boss. The man asked me if I would like to feed a stingray. Of course I would! I jumped down and nervously flapped the fish carcass around in the water. I accidentally dropped the first one but gained enough courage to do it right the second time. It was amazing. I was standing right next to a HUGE stingray, and it sucked the fish from my hand, to it’s mouth underneath- then it swam away. This continued for quite a while and I felt amazing!
What an experience.

Relaxation

Three shows done and dusted- 10 hours of singing in three days…

Monday was my ‘Saturday’ so I went for a sight see around Narooma with Mum, grabbed an ice block, then watched a few eps of ‘How I met your Mother’. I completed the seasons last year but started again as it’s such a good show!

I went for a big run right around one side of the town, up the big hills and all… It was so hot that I jumped right into the pool without hesitation  afterwards. I then regretted it as the water was freezing haha. I came back to the caravan to see my bright red reflection… How attractive.

Later, while laying in my bed, in the caravan, I wrote this post which distracted me from studying. Thanks social media!