Where Is Matt Dancing?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Matt Harding
Born September 27, 1976
Internet activity
Web alias(es) Matt
Host service(s) YouTube
Where the Hell is Matt?
Official site http://www.wherethehellismatt.com/

Matthew "Matt" Harding, (born September 27, 1976) is an American video game designer and Internet celebrity known as Dancing Matt for his viral videos that show him dancing in front of landmarks and street scenes in various international locations. Harding has since received widespread coverage of his travel exploits in major print and broadcast media outlets,[1][2][3][4][5] and was hired by Visa to star in their Travel Happy campaign.[6]

He is originally from Westport, Connecticut.[7] He began his game industry career working for a video game specialty store called Cutting Edge Entertainment. Harding later worked as an editor for GameWeek Magazine in Wilton, Connecticut, and then as a software developer for Activision in Santa Monica, California and then Brisbane, Australia.

Harding claims that a sarcastic joke about the popularity of shoot 'em up games led Pandemic Studios to develop the game Destroy All Humans!, on which he received a conceptual credit. Saying he "didn't want to spend two years of my life writing a game about killing everyone", he quit his job and began traveling, leading to the production of his first video.[8]

On 11 December 2008, Matt Harding sarcastically revealed at the Entertainment Gathering that the videos were a hoax and that he is an actor, not a game designer, and the videos were made using animatronic puppets and extensive video editing.[9] A month later, during the MacWorld convention, Matt revealed the "hoax about the hoax" and joked about the fact many people took it seriously and the outrage it caused. He also made it very clear that the videos he made were indeed 100% real.[10]

Where the Hell is Matt?
Harding was known by his friends for a particular dance, and while videorecording each other in Vietnam, his travel companion suggested he add the dance. The videos were uploaded to his website for friends and family to enjoy. Later, Harding edited together 15 dance scenes, all with him center frame, with the background music "Sweet Lullaby" by "Deep Forest". The original Song uses samples from a dying Solomon Islands language which was recorded in 1971 by a French ethnomusicologist at the Solomon Islands near Papua New Guinea. The Song, Rorogwela, was sung by a young woman named Afunakwa. According to the video "Where the Hell is Afunakwa" by Matt Harding, Afunakwa died in 1998.

The video was passed around by e-mail and eventually became viral, with his server getting 20,000 or more hits a day as it was discovered, generally country by country due to language barriers, before the launch of major video upload sites.

Harding created a second version of the video in 2006, with additional dancing scenes from subsequent travels, called "Dancing 2006". At the request of Stride, a gum brand, he accepted sponsorship[11] of this video, since he usually travels on a limited budget.

His videos are viewable on YouTube, Google Video, Vimeo and his own site wherethehellismatt.com. His second video has been watched 24,699,622 times on YouTube as of November 2, 2009 and Harding's YouTube channel is ranked "#83 - Most Subscribed (All Time) - Directors" as of March 31, 2009.[12][13] Harding released his third dancing video on June 20, 2008. The video is the product of 14 months of traveling in 42 countries. The background music/song of this video is known as "Praan" composed by Garry Schyman and sung by Palbasha Siddique, with lyrics adapted from the poem "Stream of Life," a part of the Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore.[14]

As of August 2008, Harding is represented by Creative Artists Agency.[15]

Matt's video clips have appeared on television shows including:

Matt was bumped from Good Morning America on September 8, 2005, due to coverage of Hurricane Katrina, but appeared May 31, 2006, dancing outside the GMA studio in Times Square with footage from his videos displayed on the Panasonic Astro Vision screen on One Times Square.

In November 2006, Harding was invited to lecture at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont about the experience of making the video and subsequent fame. He also was filmed dancing with students from the college.[16]

In 2007, Jawed Karim, one of the founders of YouTube, stated that Harding's video is his favorite video posted to Youtube.[17]

On July 22, 2008, NASA featured Harding's 3rd video on their APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day) website, titled "Happy People Dancing on Planet Earth", making claim of humans worldwide sharing a common love of dance. The website states that "few people are able to watch the above video without smiling".[18] Harding himself has joked that he is impressed with this, especially since the video has nothing to do with astronomy, nor is a picture.

On November 2008, Matt and the vocalist Palbasha were interviewed by KFAI radio in Minnesota.[19]. It is a behind-the-scene story about finding the musician.