Singer’s Cafe Interview Series Featuring Matthew Lincoln-Bugg!

I am very excited to start a new series on the blog! The Singer’s Café Interview series will allow you to get to know fellow performers who are currently workin’ it in the industry. There are so many opportunities throughout the United States and the world that these amazing singers are doing! I am so thrilled to share their experiences and wisdom with you!

This first interviewee is particularly special because he is incredibly talented, determined, humble, and one of my greatest friends. Matthew Lincoln-Bugg took some time out of his busy performing schedule at Disney to talk with me 🙂

5 Fun Facts About You:

  • What is your favorite musical?

My favorite musical at the moment is Hamilton. I love the creative nature of the story and how the characters switch roles within the show.

  • What’s your favorite job or role you’ve had so far?

Soldier Ancestor from The Addams Family Musical. I played the role a few summers ago at Shenandoah Summer Music Theatere. I also loved teaching at Adventure Theatre.

  • What role do you want to play next?

My dream role is to play Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The song “Out There” is one of my favorites. The transformation into Quasimodo is amazing. He signs throughout the whole show.

  • If you could perform a gender-bender song, what would it be?

“Defying Gravity.” (YASSSSS)

  • Coffee or Tea?

Definitely, tea.

What are you currently doing right now?

I am currently a Dapper Dan at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney. It is very challenging. I sing baritone in the barbershop and have to sing more than an octave range in every song. Sometimes I have to sing above the lead and below the bass. I work full time at Disney, which is 4 days a week from 9:00 am-6:00 pm with 10:00 am sets everyday.

Matt as a Dapper Dan (in the green).

What is your daily routine? Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Well, I have to be at Magic Kingdom at 9:00 am. I warm-up in the shower, grab a banana usually or something else light to eat. I also make sure to check-in with the fellow Dapper Dans to see how they are doing and feeling that day. We catch up while getting dressed in our costumes for the day. Then we hop on the trolley to greet the people at the park.

What made you decide to pursue music as a career? What is the most rewarding and fun part of being a professional singer?

I’ve always known I was going to have music in my life. I originally went to school for music education, but found it wasn’t my passion. I discovered I wanted to teach through performing. I use show experiences and clips of me performing to help teach students and inspire them. While in school at George Mason University and teaching at Adventure Theatre MTC in Maryland, I realized I could do both: educate and perform.

I am singing with barbershop gold medalists. There is a huge underground world for barbershop music. There are barbershop standards that everyone knows and certain polecats that guests will request and sing with us. I never knew that. It is so fun. Working at Disney is so rewarding. I love seeing the faces of children and visitors that are amazed and engaged in the magic. I am a part of that magic.

How did you get your start in the biz?

I feel like my start was really with the Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre. It proved to me that I could perform professionally. Every time I get a contract, it reminds me that I am performing in this beautiful career. I think “I can actually do this. I AM doing it.”

What has been your greatest obstacle so far?

Hmmm. Auditioning when you’re sick, especially with bronchitis. I had to do that and it’s not fun. You have to stay well and most of the auditions are in the fall…of course, that is when I get sick the most. Actually, I remember someone told me that there’s only one performance in your life where you feel 100%. You just have to work with what you have.

What has been your greatest triumph?

 Getting a contract with Disney on the second try! I auditioned for the Voices of Liberty Choir for the Candlelight Processional at Epcot. There were 150 people who auditioned and 16 were called back. I didn’t end up getting the gig, but later I auditioned at UPTA (United Professional Theatre Auditions) and Disney World and Disneyland were both there. They remembered me and told me to attend the Dapper Dan auditions. It started with 50-70 guys and then narrowed it down to 5-7 guys. I got a call a month later saying I got it!

Matt on his way to UPTA with friend, Courtney.

How do you stay focused and determined?

Always have an open mind. I remind myself to keep an open mind. I know that there are people who look up to me. I want to be able to talk about my life experiences and inspire people, especially now when kids are able to see a black man singing on a street that is set in 1910. I want kids of color to see that and think “I can do that.”

If you could have a coffee date with one singer, who would it be and why?

Ben Vereen. He was my inspiration growing up. I saw him in Pippin. He was the lead and he was black. I thought if he can do that, why can’t I do that. I also admire his life’s work. He teaches too and he worked closely with Bob Fosse, who is one of my favorite choreographers. I could listen to him for hours, while sipping my tea. Hahaha.

What are your words of wisdom for aspiring performers?

First, “be like a duck and let the water roll off your back.” My mother has told me that since I was a kid. Secondly, remember that everyone you meet in life is going to have an influence on you whether you like it or not. Think of life as a tree where friends and acquaintances are like leaves and during a storm some leaves fly away and during the changing of the seasons, some leaves changes their colors. Don’t hold on too tight to the leaves, as some leave for a little bit and some friends and people are meant to be there only for a moment.

Our delightful FaceTime coffee (and tea) date.

Thank you, Matt! We are in this performing community together and we can all learn from each other. I am truly inspired by Matt’s unwavering joy and ambition to be in the “magical” world of performing.

Keep an eye out for future interviews! And if you are in the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, FL, say hello to Matt!



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