In memory of Cola Boyy

Suzanne Bull MBE, Founder of Attitude is Everything, reflects on the passing of Matthew Urango AKA Cola Boyy.

It’s with a heavy heart that I bring very sad news from the US. The California singer-songwriter Matthew Urango AKA Cola Boyy, self-described Disabled Disco Innovator, passed away in his sleep on 17th March.

Matthew was introduced to us by our former Club Attitude promoter, Dan Harding. Dan became Matthew’s UK and Europe artist manager and promoter for many years. 

As well as being a great musician, and collaborating with rock band MGMT and Indie pop group the Avalanches, he campaigned for better rights for disabled artists and was a social activist. He campaigned for the community in his hometown Oxnard, California to alleviate the effects of poverty, poor housing, extortionate rents, and subpar healthcare. He did this with power – not with a huge ego, but with a gentle kindness, authenticity, integrity, and a dry sense of humour. I often looked to Matt as a role model, not least because he had the same impairment as me, but because of the way he conducted himself.

I’ve never, ever seen a disabled artist own the stage like Matt did. I don’t think he knew how talented he was. Over the years he talked about how much he benefitted from our Next Stage programme. He was one of our strongest advocates, spreading knowledge of our work in the US and France, the two countries where he was mostly based.

I’ll leave you with the first song of his that I heard back in 2018/19. It’s my all-time favourite.

Suzanne Bull MBE, Founder of Attitude is Everything

Image credit: Scott Dudelson / Getty Images for Getty

Cola Boyy performing at Coachella festival in 2019. Scott Dudelson / Getty Images for Getty