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Local boy's Rider tribute now YouTube sensation

A young man from Humboldt is dealing with a lot of public attention after putting his Rider Pride and his love of music on the Internet earlier this month.

A young man from Humboldt is dealing with a lot of public attention after putting his Rider Pride and his love of music on the Internet earlier this month.Twelve-year-old Matthew Sokolan of Humboldt posted a video of himself singing his own tribute to the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a Katy Perry hit on July 23.The video started gaining public attention about a week ago, and as of Monday morning, had scored 11,885 hits.Sokolan, the son of Tracy and Gary Sokolan of Humboldt, and his voice have become pretty well known in Humboldt over the past few years. He's sung at many public events like Relay for Life, hockey games, and benefit concerts. He's currently got about six other videos up on YouTube, most of him singing at public events. But none have scored as much attention as his Rider video.

"Rider fans, we're un-, we're undeniable; Rider shirts and melons on top," Sokolan sings in his video.He wrote the words to the song himself, to the tune of Katy Perry's summer hit, "California Gurls."It took him about three days in total to come up with the lyrics, he told the Journal, then he filmed the video in their backyard, with a Rider blanket as a backdrop, a few days after that.It took about a week, said Gary, for the video to take off. At first, it was just one or two people looking at it, and passing it on. Then it hit the media, he said, and the hits started to take off.In the past week, Matthew has been interviewed by many in the media about the video. On Friday, he was a guest on John Gormley's radio talk show.Did Matthew expect this kind of attention?"No," he said honestly. He put it out there for people to see, but only expected about 200 views, like his other videos."It's pretty exciting," said Gary. "We didn't expect it to go this far."He's heard that the song is even playing on the radio, though he hasn't heard it himself. The Sokolans just returned from their family vacation to Vancouver, and were away while this whole thing blew up.There have been some negative comments posted on YouTube about the video, but Matthew isn't letting them bother him.

"He just pushes them off," said Gary. Matthew is now working on another Rider song - the third song he'll have written - and this time, he's writing the tune as well. And while the Riders seem to be a good subject for songs, it's clear that for this young man, it's the music that he's into.His family has Rider season tickets, he said, and when they go to games, "I cheer for them as much as I can," but the team he really likes are the Hamilton Tiger Cats. He started liking that team just to bug his brother, Josh, he smiled, but over the years he's grown to like them for themselves.Though the Riders have proven to be a good subject for a song, it's music that has been Sokolan's main passion for a while now. "I've been just singing around the house for a long time," he said, long before he performed publicly for the first time at a school Christmas concert three years ago.And it's music he hopes will take him places in life. Right now, he's hoping to make money at music someday, in order to finance an airline business. He wants to be a pilot as well as a singer, his dad smiled. "He loves to do (it)," Gary said of music and Matthew. "He sings all the time. He has a talent for it... hopefully, he pursues it (as) it's something he likes doing."Matthew's talent is one-of-a-kind in his family right now, Gary admitted."Everyone else in the family just sings in the shower," he said.He thinks Matthew might get his love of singing and performing from a combination of genes from musician and actor ancestors on both sides.

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