Cancer battle, pandemic spur JATK to music on new album

When Matt Jatkola received a cancer diagnosis at the start of the pandemic and was undergoing numerous treatments, he knew for sure that he wanted to make more music.  Some of the songs on his new album, “Shut up and be the Light,” reflect that journey.

 Jatkola — who records under the name JATK — is clear that, “the sentiment in the title is something that I would love to see more people actually doing.” His mantra for life these days — sometimes it’s nice to not take part in the chatter, noise and negativity out there and quietly do good on your own.

With a digital release on April 15, it is the most collaborative of his work. Every song is recorded with a different band with more than 20 collaborators on the album, but at the same time, they are his songs and he produced them.  A power-pop’ artist, Jatkola has been making music since high school in Ashburnham and at Fitchburg State. While his main instrument is the guitar, he dabbled in all sorts of stuff for the album — keyboard, bass and synth. “I’ve been saying that I am multi-instrumental for a lot of stuff but my guitar is best and I would never call myself a keyboard player, for example.”

Anita Shire

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