Matthew James Bellamy (born 9 June 1978) is an English singer, musician, and songwriter. He is best known as the lead singer, guitarist, pianist, and primary songwriter of the rock band Muse. He is recognised for his eccentric stage persona, wide tenor vocal range and virtuoso abilities on the piano and guitar. He has also released solo compositions.
Bellamy performing with Muse in June 2018
Matthew James Bellamy
9 June 1978
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
|Partner(s)||Kate Hudson (2010–2014)|
|Relatives||George Bellamy (father)|
With Muse, Bellamy has won two Grammy Awards for Best Rock Album, for The Resistance (2009) and Drones (2015), two Brit Awards, winning Best British Live Act twice, five MTV Europe Music Awards and eight NME Awards. The band have sold over 20 million albums worldwide. In 2012, the band received the Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.
Matthew James Bellamy was born on 9 June 1978 in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire. He has an older brother named Paul. His father, George Bellamy, was the rhythm guitarist of the 1960s pop group The Tornados, who were the first British band to have a U.S. number-one song with "Telstar". His mother, Marilyn, was born in Belfast and moved to England in the 1970s. On her first day in England, she met Bellamy's father, who was working as a taxi driver in London at the time. They later moved to Cambridge and in the mid-1980s to Teignmouth, Devon. After Bellamy's parents had divorced, Matthew lived with his mother and brother. He started playing the piano at the age of six and guitar when he was 11. His first musical performance was in June 1991, aged 12, playing piano in front of his school at Teignmouth Community College.
At Teignmouth Community School, Devon, Bellamy played in a number of bands, including Carnage Mayhem and Gothic Plague with drummer Dominic Howard. When members of Gothic Plague left because of other interests, Bellamy and Howard asked bassist Chris Wolstenholme to join. In 1994, using the name Rocket Baby Dolls, they won the school's "Battle of the Bands" which led them to take the band more seriously, and changed their name to Muse.
Muse have gone on to worldwide success. Muse blends alternative, art rock, experimental rock, progressive rock, classical music, electronica and many other styles. The band is also well known for its energetic and visually dazzling live performances. On 16–17 June 2007, Muse became the first band to sell out the newly built Wembley Stadium in London.
Muse released their debut album, Showbiz, in 1999, showcasing Bellamy's falsetto and a melancholic alternative rock style. Their second album, Origin of Symmetry (2001), expanded their sound, incorporating wider instrumentation and romantic classical influences, and earned them a reputation for energetic live performances. Absolution (2003) saw further classical influence, with orchestra on tracks such as "Butterflies and Hurricanes", and became the first of five consecutive UK number-one albums.
Black Holes and Revelations (2006) incorporated electronic and pop elements, influenced by 1980s groups such as Depeche Mode, displayed in singles such as "Supermassive Black Hole". The album brought Muse wider international success. The Resistance (2009) and The 2nd Law (2012) explored themes of government oppression and civil uprising and cemented Muse as one of the world's major stadium acts. Their seventh album, Drones (2015), was a concept album about drone warfare and returned to a harder rock sound. Their eighth album, Simulation Theory, featuring a retro 1980s style, was released on 9 November 2018.
Muse have won numerous awards, including two Grammy Awards, winning the Grammys for Best Rock Album for The Resistance and Drones, two Brit Awards, winning Best British Live Act twice, five MTV Europe Music Awards and eight NME Awards. In 2012 the band received the Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. Muse have sold over 20 million albums worldwide.
Many Muse songs are recognizable by Bellamy's use of vibrato, falsetto, and melismatic phrasing, influenced by Jeff Buckley. As a guitarist, Bellamy often uses the arpeggiator and pitch-shift effects to create a more "electronic" sound, citing Jimi Hendrix and Tom Morello as influences. His guitar playing is also influenced by Latin and Spanish guitar music. Bellamy has stated that he "learnt some Spanish guitar music that opened up a world of different harmonies and making music and a different sort of passion," describing it as "very heavy music, but it hasn't got a distortion pedal".
As a pianist, Bellamy often uses arpeggios. Bellamy's compositions often suggest or quote late classical and romantic era composers such as Sergei Rachmaninov (in "Space Dementia" and "Butterflies and Hurricanes"), Camille Saint-Saëns (in "I Belong to You (Mon Coeur S'ouvre À Ta Voix)") and Frédéric Chopin (in "United States of Eurasia"). Bellamy's lyrics often incorporate political and dystopian themes. Books that have influenced lyrical themes in songs that he has written include Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins, Hyperspace by Michio Kaku, The 12th Planet by Zecharia Sitchin and Trance Formation of America by Cathy O'Brien.
Bellamy co-wrote the end credits for the 2009 film The International. He wrote the song "Soaked", which appears on Adam Lambert's debut album, For Your Entertainment. Bellamy appears as a playable character in the video game Guitar Hero 5, along with the song "Plug In Baby". Bellamy contributed to the second album by New Zealand artist Kimbra, The Golden Echo (2014).
Since September 2017, Bellamy has played bass guitar in a Beatles tribute band, the Jaded Hearts Club. Other members included singer Miles Kane, Nine Inch Nails drummer Ilan Rubin, and drummer Sean Payne. In January 2018, Bellamy was joined by Paul McCartney for a cover on "Helter Skelter".
Bellamy composed his first solo release, "Pray", for For the Throne, a compilation album of music inspired by the TV series Game of Thrones. In May 2020, Bellamy released his second solo song, "Tomorrow's World", inspired by life under lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, he released an acoustic version of the 1999 Muse song "Unintended". Bellamy said that while he might continue to release solo material online, he had no plans to get a record contract or release a solo album: "It’s just me tinkering about on my own at home."
Since the early 2000s, Bellamy has worked with Manson Guitar Works, based in Devon, to create his electric guitars, and they have released several "M-series" signature models. In 2019, Bellamy purchased a majority stake in Manson.
In 2020, Bellamy purchased the Fender Telecaster used by Jeff Buckley for his only studio album, Grace (1994). Bellamy used it to record a song with the Jaded Hearts Club, and said he plans to use it when next recording with Muse.
Bellamy was ranked No. 19 on Gigwise's list of The 50 Greatest Guitarists Ever. Total Guitar readers voted Bellamy No. 29 on a list of the Top 100 Guitarists of All Time. Bellamy's riff from "Plug in Baby" was No. 13 in Total Guitar's poll of the Top 100 Riffs of All Time.
In April 2005, Kerrang! magazine ranked him No. 28 in their "50 Sexiest People in Rock" poll. Cosmopolitan also chose him as the sexiest rocker of 2003 and 2004. NME Magazine voted him the "14th Greatest Rock 'n' roll Hero of all time", ahead of John Lennon and Bob Dylan. Bellamy also won the Sexiest Male Award at the 2007 NME Awards. He won again in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 and was nominated in 2012. Bellamy, however, declared himself "too short to be sexy" (he is 5' 7"), and said the award should have gone to Dominic Howard, Muse's drummer. Bellamy also won the "Hero of the Year" award at the 2012 NME Awards. On 26 September 2008, the University of Plymouth awarded the members of Muse an honorary doctorate degree for their work in music.
In the January 2010 edition of Total Guitar, Bellamy was named "Guitarist of the Decade" and was proclaimed to be "the Hendrix of his generation". In the Guinness Book of World Records 2010, Bellamy is credited as holding the world record for most guitars smashed on a tour. His record, 140, was set during the Absolution Tour. In April 2010, Bellamy was named the eighth best front man of all time by the readers of Q. In December 2010, MusicRadar readers voted Bellamy the 9th greatest lead singer of all time. In 2010, a BBC Radio 6 survey named Bellamy the best guitarist of the last 30 years.
He began dating American actress Kate Hudson in mid-2010. They became engaged in April 2011. Their son, Bingham Hawn Bellamy, was born in July 2011. In December 2014, it was announced that Bellamy and Hudson had ended their engagement.
In February 2015, Bellamy began dating American model Elle Evans. They announced their engagement in December 2017 and married on 10 August 2019. In February 2020, Evans announced that she and Bellamy were expecting their first child. Their daughter, Lovella Dawn Bellamy, was born in June 2020.
In an interview with Q, Bellamy stated that he is a "left-leaning libertarian". In 2006, he said that he believed the 9/11 attacks were an inside job. However, in 2009, he told Rolling Stone that he did not believe this: "There is loads of stuff on the Internet suggesting 9/11 was an inside job. But that is not my belief." On 17 September 2009, Bellamy discussed being politically influenced by reading Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins. He explains the book helped inspire the song "Uprising" and expressed his views that he feels lobbyists have undue influence on politicians as well as the political system. He stated that "when people become powerful they often have a disregard for public opinion".
- Showbiz (1999)
- Origin of Symmetry (2001)
- Absolution (2003)
- Black Holes and Revelations (2006)
- The Resistance (2009)
- The 2nd Law (2012)
- Drones (2015)
- Simulation Theory (2018)
- "End Title" (2009) (The International, soundtrack)
- "Pray (High Valyrian)" (For the Throne, soundtrack album)
- "Tomorrow's World" (2020)
- "Unintended" (Acoustic version) (2020)
- "Behold, the Glove" (2020)
- "Simulation Theory Theme" (2020)
- Guest appearances
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