By David Perry
Matt Pavolaitis ’95 thought his own good fortune might sink him. Not many folks get nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award, let alone two. In the same year. In the same category, Outstanding Original Song for a Drama Series.
The UMass Lowell Sound Recording Technology graduate had two of the five nods, as composer of the songs “Lost in Time” and “Love’s Masterpiece” from the CBS daytime drama “The Bold and the Beautiful.”
He figured his votes would be split.
“And when they called my name,” said Pavolaitis by phone from his Orange County home recently, “it was shocking. Completely shocking. But a lot of fun.” “Lost in Time” won.
His agent helps find the work, but Pavolaitis credits his time at UMass Lowell for his breadth of knowledge and career direction. He also says the university played another important role in his life: It’s where he met his wife, Colleen Rourke ’97 (music business). The couple work (often together) among legions of aspiring singers, songwriters and producers in L.A.’s hotbed of music and television.
Their latest scoring work, “Cloudstreet: Soaring the American West,” is a made-for-IMAX journey from the perspective of a glider pilot.
Rourke’s name isn’t on the Daytime Emmy award, but Pavolaitis credits her as a “silent partner” in the winning song’s production.
Competition can be fierce, the couple says, and they hope to leverage the Emmy win for future work.
They are busy as it is, and they work when the jobs are available.
“It can be seven to 10 very long days in a row,” then quiet, says Pavolaitis. He had just worked two 16-hour days on the sound for a trailer for the forthcoming Star Trek film.
Rourke is a solo recording artist with a few albums under her belt, her songs used in “The Art of Getting By” and “The To-Do List” feature films. Her ethereal style lends itself well to TV shows, and her work has been used in nearly two dozen of them, including “Cold Case” and “Army Wives.”
Hailing from Lynn, she headed for UMass Lowell on the recommendation of her high school music teacher, also an alum.
Pavolaitis is originally from Methuen, and was already a veteran of playing Boston clubs before he legally could, in a Doors tribute band. A music teacher also recommended he look into UMass Lowell.
Berklee College of Music had name appeal but when Pavolaitis visited UMass Lowell, he learned it was a fraction of the cost. And it had Prof. William Moylan, who ushered the SRT program into existence and was a foremost author on sound recording. He assured Pavolaitis’ parents the major wasn’t a vacation of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Far from it.
“I loved it there, it was a challenge and I learned so much,” Pavolaitis says.
In his final semester, he spotted a bulletin board post in Durgin Hall saying the composer and producer Hans Zimmer was looking for an assistant. He landed the job.
“The day I graduated, I flew to California.” He later worked for the bands Incubus and 30 Seconds to Mars, whose lead singer is actor Jared Leto.
“I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t read that post on working for Hans Zimmer outside Room 213,” says Pavolaitis. “But probably not where I am now.”