Who is M Shadows?

Matthew Charles Sanders was born on 31 July 1981, in Fountain Valley, California, USA. He is a singer, musician, and songwriter, best known for performing under the stage name M Shadows, working as the lead vocalist of the band Avenged Sevenfold. He is one of the heavy metal band’s founding members, and is considered by many as one of the greatest heavy metal frontmen of all-time.

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The Net Worth of M Shadows

As of early-2020, M Shadows’ net worth is estimated to be over $25 million, earned primarily through the success of the band, Avenged Sevenfold, one of the most recognized in the heavy metal genre, making music since the 2000s.

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He’s also worked with other bands, as well as collaborating with the video game franchise “Call of Duty”.

Early Life and Career Beginnings

While M was born in Fountain Valley, his family later moved to Huntington Beach where he grew up with younger sister Amy Sanders, who is now known to play in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).  He developed an interest in music at a young age, thanks to his father who gifted him his first cassette of the band Guns N’ Roses, sparking an interest which just grew as he got older.

Eventually, he learned how to play the guitar as well as the piano, skills which would also help him learn more about tone and voice. He attended Huntington Beach High School, and during this period, he aspired to start a band. He briefly joined a punk band called Successful Failure, but it was short-lived. Afterwards he reconnected with a few friends from middle school who had the same taste in music. This led to the formation of Avenged Sevenfold, as he was joined by The Rev, Zacky Vengeance, and Matt Wendt.

M Shadows

Avenged Sevenfold

Shadows didn’t want to use his first name as he didn’t like the way it sounded as a performer. Instead, he only adopted the first letter M and added Shadows because he felt that he was the darker character within their group. They also chose to adopt nicknames because it was a popular practice among rock groups that inspired them. Over the years, the band has released music, and gained a lot of acclaim for their diversity when it comes to their portrayal of rock and metal.

They also promoted themselves through the use of dramatic imagery, which became more evident over the years.

Their debut album “Sounding the Seventh Trumpet” helped establish them on the scene, but it wasn’t until their third album “City of Evil” that the band truly took off. The group enjoyed a lot of success until 2009, when their drummer The Rev suddenly passed away. The band continued with drummer Mike Portnoy for their 2010 album “Nightmare” which reached the top of the Billboard 200. Eventually, they took in drummer Brooks Wackerman and continued to release music, with their latest being “The Stage” which debuted in fourth spot of the Billboard 200.

Solo Projects

Apart from his work with Avenged Sevenfold, M has been a guest on albums of other well-known bands. He was featured on the album “Feel the Steel” by Steel Panther, and helped produce the album “Requiem” by The Confession – he ventured to learn more about production to help Avenged Sevenfold with their album releases as well. Other music projects he’s had include working with Slash on his solo album, and making music with the band Device.

In 2012, he made his first foray into the video game world with the development of ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II”, in which he made a cameo contribution by doing motion capture and recording voice lines.

He is an avid player of the popular first-person shooter game, and has even participated in professional tournaments. One of his latest projects in video games is “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” in which he became a playable character thanks to the help of a close friend who works for its developer Treyarch. He can be selected as a part of the game’s battle royale mode, which sees numerous players fight against each other in a large but shrinking map.

Vocal Ability and Style

Shadows’ vocal ability has been praised numerous times, not only for his range and versatility but also its evolution throughout his career with Avenged Sevenfold.

Posted by M.Shadows on Monday, June 15, 2015

At the beginning of his career, he had a harsher voice filled with growls reminiscent of metalcore bands. Since 2003 he’s been more inclined towards melodic lines, but still retains his love for screams and growls. After signing with a major record label, his style changed even further, focusing more on his voice and melody as opposed to the screaming. He took numerous lessons to improve his style, working with Ron Anderson who is known for his collaborations with Audioslave and Guns N’ Roses.

The band also contributed, with each member becoming a part of the vocal whole as opposed to Shadows taking the brunt of the work.

This led to rumors going around that he had lost his ability to scream, as a result of having throat surgery after damaging his voice sometime in 2003. Other musicians defended him, stating that he has indicated a desire to be more of a singer than a screamer with his music. He is also a big advocate in protecting his voice, and prefers hitting the notes rather than going for raspy sounds that could damage his throat again.

Personal Life

M married Valary DiBenedetto in 2009 and they have two children together. His bandmate Synyster Gates married Valary’s twin sister Michelle which makes the two band members brothers-in-law as well. He spends a lot of his free time, learning more about music, working on new music, and playing video games. He also spends a lot of his time learning more about preserving his voice and prioritizes resting his voice when not working with the band.

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