This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, host Gary Scott Thomas had a fun and candid conversation with the country music singer, guitarist, and songwriter, Matt Stell. Join us as Matt shares stories from his roots in Center Ridge, Arkansas, to the bustling streets of New York City. Matt isn’t just carrying his guitar on tours; he brings along memories, aspirations, and heartfelt stories that resonate across every destination he has been to! We are sure that this podcast episode has something delightful for everyone. Tune in now!
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In this Episode:
- Discover how people from small towns like Center Ridge “round up” when explaining where they’re from.
- Get a taste of city life through Matt’s eyes and why he appreciates visiting places like New York but prefers living elsewhere.
- Learn about being a “professional traveler” as part of a singer’s job and why sometimes life gets in the way of exploring new cities.
- Gain insight into his record label experience with Sony in Manhattan and how his authentic style resonates beyond traditional boundaries.
- Pizza talk! Find out if New York really does have better pizza and what constitutes an acceptable topping, according to Matt.
- Explore destinations still on Matt’s bucket list.
- Understand the allure behind festival shows both as an artist performing for large crowds and as a fan enjoying other musicians’ sets.
- Delve into who inspired him growing up (hint: ’90s alternative bands) and who he’d love to collaborate with today.
- Peek into the creative process behind hits like “Prayed For You” starting with just one line that sparks an entire song narrative.
“The thing about New York is their bad pizza is good. You know what I mean? Like the floor is so high. You can walk into anywhere and get a slice and it’d be amazing. Uh, and quick and ready to rock.” ~ Matt Stell
“I really want to go to Japan. I want to see, I want to see, uh, Tokyo. I want to, I want to just see how other people do it.” ~ Matt Stell
“Even on the other side of the world, you know, we’ll have some things in common for sure.” ~ Matt Stell
“Well, it’s better to be lucky than good. Sometimes for sure.” ~ Matt Stell
“It’s just such a vibe when people show up to listen to the live music and I want to be there all day and you get to be a part of it. And then also I get to be a fan. You know, I get to see these bands that I’m a fan of that. I usually don’t get to see ’cause we’re on the road.” ~ Matt Stell
“It just makes you appreciate all different kinds, you know, and I always make you appreciate how, uh, a lot of people can like a lot of different things, which is, you know, variety is the spice of the spice of life.” ~ Matt Stell
“I always love to get a ball in my hand and, uh, get some shots up for sure.” ~ Matt Stell
“Most of the time you start from the chorus and kind of work your way out.” ~ Matt Stell
“When I have kids, they’re not gonna have any choice. They’re going to love those garden greens.” ~ Matt Stell
“That’s just great to see music resonate with people all over the place, man, for sure. I didn’t know that song was going to do that when I wrote it, but man, I sure love it when it does.” ~ Matt Stell
Matt Stell is an American country music singer, guitarist, and songwriter. Matt began releasing music in the early 2010s after teaching himself guitar while in college. He had a breakthrough with the streaming hit “Prayed for You” in 2018, which topped the Country Airplay charts in 2019, a position matched by “Everywhere But On” that year. After a couple of quiet years, Stell delivered the One of Us EP in February 2023.
Raised mostly in Center Ridge, Arkansas, with some time spent in Central Florida, Matt Stell grew up listening to a mix of classic country, country-rock, blues-rock, and rap while making a name for himself in basketball. He went on to play college basketball at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, where he started playing guitar between school and team obligations. As soon as he could play barre chords, he began writing songs and performing at a local bar. Music quickly became a passion, though he finished a master’s degree in communications at the University of Arkansas, made missionary trips to Haiti, and considered medical school before deciding to pursue it as a vocation.
Talking about the beginning of his career as a singer, he was the lead singer of the band “The Crashers” in the late 2000s and early 2010s. This personality released three albums independently while being involved with the said band. Those albums were The Sound & the Story, Vestibule Blues, and A River Through It. Followed it with the single “Country Love Song” in 2015. In the meantime, he opened shows for headliners including Luke Bryan and Eric Church. An offer from Wide Open Music in Nashville, Tennessee, led to the release of the single “Prayed for You” and the EP Everywhere But On in 2019. “Prayed for You” went viral, amassing over ten million streams across platforms before the end of the year. The single’s success translated to the charts: it topped Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, as did “Everywhere But On.” Another EP, Better Than That, arrived in October 2020 and included the song “Look at Me Now.” The non-LP single “That Ain’t Me No More” followed in 2021, with 2022’s “Man-Made” teasing the early 2023 release of the One of Us EP.