Film student juggles music, school and family

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Mat Layton, sophomore film major at California Baptist University, works to balance school, his family and a life of recording and performing original music under the alias Tru Crime.

Both of Layton’s parents come from Sicilian and Italian roots and Layton said this inspired the name Tru Crime.

“It’s like a play on the old mafia-type genres. My family is Italian and Sicilian so I wanted to incorporate that into my name,” Layton said.

Layton said he has always had a love for music, as well as acting and entertainment in general. As a child, Layton said he wrote songs about things he loved and participated in many school plays. Still, Layton’s journey has been different from most.

“I took an interesting path,” Layton said. “I did not follow the normal route. After high school, I got married and had two kids, and I put them first before I went back to school or fully concentrated on my music because I focused more on getting my kids situated, making sure they were taken care of. Since they are now in elementary school, I have been able to go back to school and work a lot more on recording and performing again.”

Layton said his childhood influenced the things he prioritized in life.

“Growing up, I only had my mom. I didn’t have a dad in my life, so I wanted to make sure I was able to provide for my family something that I didn’t have,” Layton said. “And if that meant sacrificing my college ride at first or some long-term goals, it still was important to me because that is something I always wanted as a kid.”

Layton’s current manager got him connected to a brand-new recording studio, “Crew Studios,” where Layton has recorded all of his new music. The engineer for the studio is the same engineer that works with names like Justin Credible and DJ sourMILK from the LA Leakers and has done remixes with Usher and Summer Walker.

Alban Kitlya, a close high school friend of Layton, described Layton’s personality.

“He is calm and collected. I would say he is complete with his soul searching and endeavors. Mat has a solid perspective of what he wants to do and achieve,” Alban said.

Layton talks about the unique path that has brought him to where he is today.

“It’s crazy how God puts everything on a path for you,” Layton said. “Maybe you don’t see the path at first, but as long as you stay focused you will get yourself there. That’s something I’m learning through this journey.”

Anthony Soto, the CEO for Layton’s label, said, “He is one of the best people I know – hardworking, dedicated and passionate about everything he does. Whether it’s behind the camera or a mic, he puts in the work to master his craft.”

Layton describes the music he makes as unique, more of a boom bap style of hip-hop, with experimental elements.

Layton recently finished a run of shows in LA, including a club that hosts people such as LeBron James and the rap group Migos, where he performed twice a month. He also performs at a downtown LA venue, Stage 5, as well as performing at the Open Mic Night hosted by Community Life at CBU, where he performed a song he submitted to radio stations.

Layton is currently working on his new EP, “Lost in Lust,” which talks about the culture of mistrust and struggles we deal with as a culture. The beats for the songs on this EP are being produced by the multi-platinum and Grammy-nominated producer Wishmaster. The EP will be released this summer.

“I may talk about some deep subjects, but at the end of the day I want it to be something that everyone is enjoying,” Layton said.

Layton said he also has a passion for filming, acting and directing. He said he was supposed to film for Coachella before it was postponed because of COVID-19.

“I love to be creative,” Layton said. “I look at it with the perspective that God is the ultimate creator and we are here in his image which made so much sense to me and pushes me that much more.”

His album, “The Clouds LP,” released in April 2019, has roughly 100,000 streams on Spotify. His new single “Elevator” will be released on April 24 and can be pre-saved at https://smarturl.it/elevators.

Layton’s music is available under the name Tru Crime on all platforms.

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