Matt Westin - Music Interview
Hailing from Pittsburgh, PA, Matt Westin’s debut album, “Legacy” is dedicated to the memory of his late father. Matt gave up a promising career as an engineer to be a country musician and actor. Matt’s first single, “Our Redneck of the Woods” reached the IndieWorld Country chart and the European Country Music Association charts. Matt was also on the Top 200 International Country Artists chart. Follow up singles, “Farm Town”and “You Leave Me No Choice” also received international airplay and charting. His last two singles, “Stomp On” and “Hey Bro” are from his forthcoming EP, to be released on MTS Records. Both singles reached the Top 100 Airplay Today country chart, while “Stomp On” reached the iTunes country sales Top 40. He will star as Johnny Cash in an upcoming film production. Matt is the 2018 International Music and Entertainment Association Male Country Artist of the Year. He recently appeared in the October 10, 2018 issue of Billboard Magazine as an Emerging Artist.
What got you into music?
I have always loved music, and I played in the school band and orchestra as a child. I fell in love with singing when I was in my late teens, and that quickly became a hobby of mine. Long story short, after losing my dad to leukemia, I was completely lost and nearly destroyed. My previous career of engineering was long gone, and my pursuit of acting was put on hiatus as I moved back home to Pittsburgh to be with my family. I had no idea what my life was going to be at that point. My father had really enjoyed and encouraged my singing, so I decided to pursue music and dedicated my debut album to his memory. Through the tragedy of losing my dad, music became a new purpose for me and a huge part of my healing process.
What is your favorite part about being an artist? Is it songwriting, performing, recording, something else?) Tell us why.
They are all tied together under an umbrella of a feeling of fulfillment. Writing a song is exciting and gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling when I'm proud of what I've accomplished and poured my soul into. Performing is such a thrill and a rush and is instant gratification. Recording is fascinating and fun and the feeling of something new being created is incredible. It's really hard to choose. They are all fulfilling in their own way. But ok, I'll choose....performing is a blast!
Can you tell us what being in the recording studio is like for you?
When I'm in the studio, it's honestly a humbling experience. I get to work with incredibly talented people, and it makes me want to better myself. It's so much fun and so interesting, and I get a buzz from it, but it's also a lot of pressure. I just want everything to go smoothly and I want to perform at the peak of my ability. I feel the pressure of not wanting to let anyone down, including myself. Overall, it's a beautiful experience that I enjoy immensely, but it's also a chance to grow, while fulfilling a vision. It is very fulfilling as an artist.
As a songwriter or musician, are there any obstacles you have had to overcome or obstacles that you are facing right now in your career?
Obstacles present themselves all the time. Sometimes I don't bring my "A game", sometimes things don't go as smoothly as they should, and sometimes it's overwhelming to think about everything that has to come together for it to work out well. For instance, I recorded a debut album on a very tight budget and with absolutely zero experience in a studio. But we made it happen, and it just won the 2019 IMEA Country Album of the Year. Obstacles are always present, but they are also opportunities to grow.
Who do you admire most in the music scene today and why?
I admire the guys that have been doing it for decades. For instance, Willie Nelson is 86 years old and is still performing, touring, and recording. He's a living legend, he's seen and done it all, he's influenced generations of people, and he's still out there just being Willie Nelson. Amazing.
To date, what do you think your best song is? Can you describe the song for us?
It's really difficult to describe what "best" means. So far, when you look at YouTube views and Spotify streams, I believe my most successful song is "Hey Bro", but does that make it the best? I do absolutely love this song, how it sounds and what it stands for. A rockin' tune that makes you tap your feet and celebrates the bond of brotherhood between people who go through life's struggles together. But, I also love that it will forever be tied emotionally to my family and the near tragic loss of my cousin last year, which gave the song a deeper meaning to me personally than it originally had. A meaning deeper than the majority of people who hear it will understand. I suppose "Hey Bro" is a good candidate for my "best" song, but it's honestly like choosing between children!
Are you working on any new material right now or what's in the works for the upcoming year?
I'm in the final stages of production on my new single "Thin Blue Line." This song is dedicated to the men and women in blue who serve our communities and risk their lives every day for us. It's a tribute to their sacrifice. Look for that one to be released sometime in the February/March time frame. 2020 is going to be a great year all around, as I'm working on getting my band off and running, I'll be working on a new album, and I'll be spending a lot of time in Nashville writing with some amazing people. I'm also extremely excited to be portraying Johnny Cash in the upcoming film "116 MacDougal."
Tell us where fans can access your music.
All my music is on Amazon, Apple Music, Spotify, AMI jukeboxes, and just about every digital platform out there. My website is currently being upgraded and updated, and it will soon have every link to my music and all things Matt Westin.