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M. Shadows (born Matthew Charles Sanders on July 31, 1981), is the vocalist/lead singer for the American hard rock/metalcore band Avenged Sevenfold. He is from Huntington Beach, California but presently lives elsewhere in Orange County. Before this though, he started his career as a lounge musician under the name of Soulful Charlie Sanders
When Shadows was younger he was in a few other punk bands with Avenged Sevenfold's rhythm guitarist Zacky Vengeance. There was a rumor circulating since a Revolver Magazine interview that Shadows had done damage to vocal cords, forcing the band to change their style of music. M. Shadows claimed he had burst blood vessels in his throat, and was told that if he kept on his path, he would be a mute in under 5 years. But as stated in the band's recent DVD, All Excess,He is better at screaming than he has ever been and it had been decided several years before the making of City Of Evil that it would be an all singing album.]] He had made it clear to their producer, Mudrock, that the album they were working on at the time (Waking the Fallen) would be half sing, half screaming and that the next would be all singing.
Some of his biggest musical influences are Guns N' Roses, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, and Pantera. Philip Anselmo of Pantera is his screaming inspiration. He was formerly a member of a punk band, called 'Successful Failure'. While in this band he penned the song Streets, which would later be recorded after Avenged Sevenfold was formed, and released on their first album, Sounding the Seventh Trumpet.
Sanders feels a strong support for the troops serving the United States, having very close friends who are currently in service. The song "M.I.A." ("Missing in Action") was written in tribute to these friends. Before he performed the song at most shows, however, Shadows stresses that Avenged Sevenfold is not a political band and that they do not intend to become one.
On the A7X DVD, while all of the members were talking about how they got their stage names, M. Shadows said that he got his name because when he attended El Modena High School, and the band was just starting out, he was a darker kid (hence the name "Shadows") but he also wanted to incorporate his name, Matt, into his stage name. Matt was reduced to M. since he didn't like the sound of it, and since has been known as M. Shadows.
Shadows is now engaged to long time girlfriend, Valary DiBenedetto. She can be heard on the album, Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, and appears in the music videos for Seize the Day and Warmness on the Soul.
Shadows cut his hair to a mohawk, which is seen in the music video for "Almost Easy", and in a recent performance at the 2007 Scream Awards.
Shadows has since decided to cut his hair completely off for their next music video Afterlife, due for release in late January/early February 2008.