Mat Kearney Interview - Making Pop Music Matter &Raquo; Snapshot7

This chat with Mat was pure joy!

Listen & subscribe on iTunes … on Spotify … or anywhere else

My guest today wasn’t a musician or songwriter in high school – he was a soccer player ! But in mid-college, he experienced a major paradigm shift in his life, stopped some pretty hard partying and started playing… guitar. Unable to play cover songs well, he began to write his own. That was 1.6 million albums sold and 2.5 billion streams ago. Woah…How did that happen? Listen up as I chat with the one and only Mat Kearney!

Things we talked about:

  • His early life as a skater, soccer player and making up songs to rap tracks
  • Experimenting with a friend’s guitar, college with a major in literature
  • How that early life informed what would become his unique musical style
  • His first vocal lessons with me
  • The difference focusing on lyric-to-heart made in Mat’s singing
  • The green sticker (that I couldn’t find!)
  • How his style morphed from free style rap to folk/pop in a great pocket
  • The core job of an artist
  • A story of creating hit song ‘Closer To Love’
  • The pressure of a hit career numbing out joy; rediscovering that joy in reconnecting to vocal
  • Streaming as a financial boon for the recordings he owns
  • His kids discovering his music lessons
  • Writing ‘THE’ song for Oregon; playing his hometown

Here’s his video for”Closer To Love” 

More About Mat

Mat Kearny was born in Eugene, Oregon. He went to California State University (Chico) on an athletic scholarship, but majored in literature. He traveled with his friend al debut album Bullet in 2004.. When Mat showed up at our first vocal lesson, he was a brilliant free-style rapper, writing hip-hop lyrics with healing messages informed by his journey and experiences along the way. But along with words and grooves, there were melodies in his mind, so he wanted to grow his ability to sing instead of just rap. And he was serious!

After a couple of years of vocal training, Mat was signed to a very rare dual deal… on both pop and Christian labels (InPop and Aware?). His first major label release was the album Nothing Left To Lose, which contained some re-worked songs from his debut album (still on repeat for me) ‘Bullet’. A single titled ‘Undeniable’… was at the time the fastest added single in the history of Christian Hit Radio. 

VH1 kept ‘Nothing Left To Lose’ in rotation for 45 weeks, and he headlined the channel’s first ‘You Ought To Know’ tour.

Besides headlining tours of his own, Mat has toured with John Mayer, Sheryl Crow, Train, Keane Owl City, The Fray, Jason Mraz, Vedera Newsboys, MUTEMATH, Meiko, Cary Brothers, The Helio Sequence and many more. He has performed in uber major venues including Madison Square Garden and TV show stages including Letterman.

Now on his 6th studio album, Mat has become a multi-platinum selling artist and imho is one of the best live performers out there. His most recent release is the album ‘January Flowers’, his latest greatest co-production with his wife, is a brand new little human!

Mat’s Links:

Want help with YOUR voice? 

  • Check out all the ways I can help you at my website. Be sure and download my (free) 9-page report on vocal health!
  • You can also comment on this blogpost… I’d love to know your questions and thoughts!

Originally Published on

Judy Rodman Vocal Coach

I'm an award-winning vocal coach, recording artist, live performer, public speaker, published author, songwriter, musician, studio producer, blogger, podcaster and vocal consultant with over 50 years of success in the music and voice industry.

As vocal coach online globally, I help develop, maximize and protect voices of singers & speakers who seek to make the world better with their messages and artistic influence. My students and recording clients have appeared on The Today Show, Letterman, Ellen DeGeneres, The Voice, American Idol, America's Got Talent, Grammys, CMA, ACM & MTV Awards Shows, New York Times Best Seller list. They include major and indie recording artists and labels, artist development companies, touring and studio background singers, national public speakers, radio & TV personnel, teachers and voiceover actors.

My career credits include being voted ‘Best Vocal Coach' by Nashville Music Pros, 'Vocal Coach in Residence' by TC Helicon's VoiceCouncil Magazine, #1 and other top-10 Billboard singles as artist on MTM Records, winner of Billboard's and ACM's 'New Female Vocalist' award, BMI 'Million Air' award.

I'm a published author with several vocal training packages on disc and as online video courses. My blog and podcast ‘All Things Vocal’ have received over 2 million views and plays.

With thousands of studio credits, I produce country, pop, rock, singer/songwriter and r&b projects, working in the studio online and in-person. I also specialize as vocal producer on teams headed by other studio producers, and create arrangements and sing background vocals.
Member of SAG-AFTRA, BMI, AFM Local 257, ACM, NATS, I'm based in Nashville, Tennessee.

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