Matt sings his own swansong

Published: 09 January 2017

Matt signs copies of his album for fans

A mighty legacy to battle brain cancer

Matt signs copies of his album for fans
Image © 2017 The Project

In late 2015, aged 28, Matt Hirst was on the verge of an international opera career, preparing to take his glorious baritone voice to Europe.

But his memory was giving him problems. He was having difficulty remembering his lines – not to mention the names of those around him.

His mum Joanne Price was concerned.

“Initially I noticed that there was a vagueness when you were having a conversation with him,” Joanne says. “There would be a glazed look about him which I didn’t think was normal.”

She pressed for Matt to visit a doctor, but the results shocked them both: brain cancer.

The doctor diagnosed stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme, and gave him just three months to live – or with surgery, a year.

So Matt committed to the surgery – and to make every moment he had left count.

“It’s really hard to deal with initially,” Matt says, “but it’s liberating because it gives you this peace aspect. Like, OK, well if that’s my end date, what am I going to achieve within that period?”

Matt decided to record an album to raise money for brain cancer research, The resulting record Mighty Steps wasn’t an opera record – but instead one of jazz standards like You’ll Never Work Alone and Moon River.

And it’s already made a huge impact, making it to number 4 on the iTunes charts.

“I wanted to have a memory of Matthew singing,” Joanne adds, “so for me it was very important, but to be able to use his gift to be able to help cure for brain cancer, it was very important to us.”

And Matt has at least one more thing he’s planning to do this month.

“I turn 30 in January and I’ve decided I’m going to have a massive birthday bash for it. It’s going to be lovely. Spending time with family and friends and colleagues is the plan… it will be lovely just to say hello to everyone.”

For more information, and to purchase Mighty Steps, visit
https://www.curebraincancer.org.au/page/234/help-support-our-research-funding