I love country music, and any time MTS Management Group introduces me to a musician, I pay attention. A few weeks ago Michael Stover reached out to me about scheduling an interview with Matt Westin, a country music artist. Matt left a successful career as an engineer to pursue music, and recently released his debut single “Our Redneck Of The Woods.” His vocals are great, his songwriting is on point, and I always love listening to quality country music. Matt has a full album coming out soon and I can’t wait to hear. In the meantime, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Matt Westin.
I LOVE country music. A lot of the modern day country music isn’t really country… It’s pop. But you sound like you sing actual country music! What are your thoughts on today’s country music scene?
I have to agree with you. I’ve actually said the same thing in other interviews. I love country, too, especially classic and outlaw country, as well as country with a rock edge to it. A lot of modern country borders on pop music, but I wanted to stay true to myself and to country music with my album Legacy.
Where are you originally from?
I’m from a middle class suburb of Pittsburgh, PA called West Mifflin. Born and raised.
I know this must be hard to talk about, but you lost your father in April 2016. You don’t have to go into too much detail, but tell me more about that and how that helped inspire you to become a musician.
I was living in Los Angeles pursuing acting when he initially got sick. I came back to visit in November of 2015, when he was diagnosed with Leukemia, and I ended up spending most of my time back in Pittsburgh after that, until I ultimately moved back home after he passed away 5 months later. I can’t really put into words what it did to me, but I was in a dark place, broken, lost, angry, and not easy to be around. I was destroyed, down to the core of me. I easily could have become self-destructive, and I did a little bit of that, but I knew in my heart that I had to keep living my life. I didn’t know what life was going to look like without my dad, and I had to rebuild myself from scratch. It was almost a spiritual experience deciding to finally pursue music as a career. I just knew deep in my heart and soul that I had to do it, without really thinking. My dad had always encouraged my pursuit of music, and this was a way for me to build a future for myself, to heal, and to honor him. I hate that his death was what drove me to pursue this passion of my heart, but it’s also strangely beautiful. Life is strange like that sometimes.
Tell me more about your hit single “Our Redneck Of The Woods.”
This song really represents everything I love about country music. I get asked this question a lot. It’s great because it celebrates God, country, family, hard work, pride in your roots, and standing up for your beliefs. It has an outlaw country vibe and the message is one that my dad would have loved. I love this song, and I’m glad we chose it as my single, because it really represents what I’m all about as a man and an artist. Plus, it just rocks!
You have a debut album coming soon. When can fans expect you to release that? Any idea how many songs?
My album Legacy will be released on January 29th! It has ten songs on it, all of which are special to me for different reasons.
Tell me more about your relationship with MTS Management Group.
I was introduced to MTS through my producer, Bryan Cole. He’s known Michael Stover at MTS for most of his life, and I knew I’d be in good hands if I were to work with them. They have been getting me some great exposure with lots of interviews and with distribution of my album. We are all excited for this album release and 2018 is going to be a good year for us.
Country musicians like to drink. What are some of your favorite adult beverages?
No wonder country music is my thing! I am mainly a whiskey guy, straight up, with maybe an ice cube. And I love beer as well, and a little red wine. But to be honest, unless it’s a sugary girly drink, if you put it in front of me I’ll probably drink it.
There are a lot of big names out there. I like guys like Gary Allen, Darius Rucker, Luke Bryan… The list goes on. Who are some of your favorite country musicians?
I can usually find something to like about anyone. But my favorites are Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr., Garth Brooks, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Randy Houser, Brantley Gilbert, etc. so on and so forth. I can’t keep naming people or this would just get ridiculous.
Tell me more about Tonic Recording Studios.
Over the past year creating my Legacy album, Tonic Recording Studios was like another home for me. Doug Kasper, the owner and engineer, runs a great studio with amazing sound and production quality. The environment is great, the people are fantastic, and I can’t say enough good things about that place. I absolutely plan to record there in the future.
What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?
It’s funny, but the one that always sticks out to me is Rob Zombie! That particular venue allowed the audience to get so close, and he actually was in the crowd right next to me at one point. The stage production was awesome, with flames and lasers and giant monster creatures walking around. It was a spectacle, not just a concert. I had a great time!
Tell me more about your relationship with Bryan Cole.
Bryan started out as just my producer, but that quickly became so much more. He believed in me and agreed to work with me, which is why I’m able to talk with you today. He was the gatekeeper. But as we worked on my album, he quickly became a coach, a mentor, and a trusted friend. He’s an incredible musician, songwriter, producer, and human being. I can’t say enough about the guy’s talent and heart, and his sense of humor kept us going in the studio when things were grueling. Bryan Cole is a hell of a guy.
What can fans expect from a live performance? Any plans for a tour in 2018?
We’re currently working on getting this show on the road! I can’t wait to get out there and perform for the fans. It’s all in the works and all that information will be available on my website as soon as we get it all ironed out! It’s going to be fun!
Do you ever make a mistake while performing?
Sure, that happens. I’m only human. But usually it’s nothing big and the show just keeps rolling. The audience usually doesn’t even notice, not nearly as much as the people performing the music. So I don’t really worry about it.
What is your songwriting process like? Do you sit down to write a song, or do they just come to you?
I don’t have a set process. I’ve written songs in a hotel room, on a beach, at a desk, and while driving my car and speaking into my phone. I don’t think I can control when or where the inspiration comes from. But when it’s flowing, it’s flowing, and I just have to go with it. Some songs write themselves, some take a long time and you have to come back to it. You just have to be open to inspiration when it hits you.
What’s next for Matt Westin?
I’m staying busy doing everything I can to move forward as an artist. I have interviews lined up all the way into June already, and I’ll be focused on promoting my album and getting out there to perform for the people. That’s what it’s all about for me. I want to affect people with my music. By the end of summer, Bryan Cole and I will be working on ideas for a second album too!
Thank you for doing this. In all of the interviews I do, I always give the artist the last word. Go.
Thank you for your time. I really appreciate the interview. To the readers, thank you for your time as well. Please check out my music at www.mattwestin.com, where you can find links to my social media pages, information about me and links to my music on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and more! Stay tuned for tour dates and merchandise, coming soon! Thanks again!
Connect with Matt Westin: