Matt Austin – Detroit, Michigan native and Nashville Country Recording Artist. Emerging national act, with recent debut single “Summer I’ll Always Remember” to national country radio, reaching #23 on the New Music Weekly country main chart! Released new EP ‘The Island’ in February 2015. The first/title single release from the project, ‘The Island’ is currently available at major digital retailers. Extensive touring history of the Great Lakes region. Prior direct support for Lee Brice, Brantley Gilbert, Chase Rice, Sam Hunt, Jon Pardi, Uncle Kracker, Aaron Lewis, Charlie Worsham, The Cadillac Three, and more. Signed by Arrow Entertainment of Nashville/Seattle in January of 2015 for ongoing artist management. International touring and promotion of new EP in US, Ireland, UK, and Europe under development.
“After all of my music story, I have now grown in to the artist that best fits who I am,” says Matt Austin, “and it is good to do music that can touch your soul and raise the hairs on your arms, because that is what I grew up on, and why I fell in love with music in the first place.”
Matt Austin grew up with musical influences of Classic Rock, Southern Rock, and Blues, from artists such as Lynard Skynard, Eric Clapton, Jimmi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. His music journey includes being the former lead guitar player of the Paper Street Saints, a major Detroit Rock headliner, regularly packing houses throughout the metro area and opening for national acts as large as Bon Jovi with 20,000 fans in a sold out arena. Matt went on to form the self-titled Matt Austin Band. Again opening for national acts (this time Def Leppard, Styx and Tesla), a change in path altered Matt’s itinerary to the world of music.
In the summer of 2011, he discovered the New Age Country genre. He was immediately attracted to music with the likes of Dierks Bentley, Brantley Gilbert, Jason Aldean, The Zac Brown Band, and more. The sound and songwriting was so overwhelming to him, it reminded him of that same feeling when he was young. He was hooked – this was his comfort zone!
Matt’s evolution from Blues to Rock to New Age Country has been a road of discovery. Now it’s your turn to discover this talented singer, songwriter and musician.
INTERVIEW WITH MATT AUSTIN
(CMW) Hi Matt! Before we get into all the amazing things you have going on right now, let’s start from the beginning! you grew up in Detroit, Michigan , can you tell us what growing up there was like for you as a kid and was music a strong influence in your family? How did you come upon your interest to be a musician?
(Matt) Well, I grew up in the Metro Detroit area, in a city called Woodhaven that is about 20 minutes south of Detroit. It was cool growing up there, it wasn’t a big city, but it wasn’t rural either and if you wanted find the country roads, we didn’t have to go very far.
Music was a strong influence in my family. My Dad played guitar as a hobby and really loved music. My mom was the singer though. My Dad gave singing a good effort but it was my mom that had the voice.
Then my Uncle Gary moved in with us when I was 9 years old and he showed me this Stevie Ray Vaughan album, “Texas Flood,” and I was hooked, by the sounds and asked my parents for a guitar for Christmas.
They got me one that Christmas and everything started when I was 10 years old!
(CMW) You have a fascinating list of musicians that have influenced your path in music. Artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lynard Skynard, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. Such a variety of styles of music! you can definitely hear the rock roots in your music , what was it about these artists that captivated your interest to follow their direction in music?
(Matt) I have to give credit here to my Dad again. We would rock out these artists when I was growing up. I think Country Music now has a lot of these influences in it today!
I will also add to that and say with such an influence of these Rock Icons in your music , it’s no wonder you have such a rich, solid sound that is all your own!
(CMW) What some people may not know is that your actually the frontman for a rock band The Paper Street Saints in your early performing years, opening in Detroit area for such heavyweight acts such as Bon Jovi , Def Leppard, Styx and Tesla! those are some pretty great bands to share the stage with! What was it like to perform with these artists? you must have some memorable moments to share with us of those times.
(Matt) Well, I wasn’t the front man in this band. I was the lead guitar player and I sang backing vocals. It wasn’t until after I left this band that I started to develop my own solo career as an artist.
When I opened for Bon Jovi it was at The Palace in Auburn Hills MI with Paper Street Saints and it was incredible to look out to 20,000 fans while we were playing. My Dad roadied for us when we were eating in the catering room, I nearly spilled my drink all over the table when Bon Jovi walked in the room.
When I opened for Def Leppard and Styx I was with the Matt Austin Band and this was at DTE Energy Music Theatre, formally know as Pine Knob.
This was another incredible moment for me to step on that stage to perform. My Dad used to take me to concerts here and I always wanted to perform on that stage!
(CMW) It’s hard to imagine a hard rocker as you listen to your current playlist today, what were you doing the day the emerging new country sound caught your ear and you made the decision to turn the dial to country? This direction has proven to be highly successful transition for Canadian Country artist Dallas Smith, who has found tremendous success as a country artist .
(Matt) I actually had taken a little break from the music business and was going to college for a Nursing Degree and my wife had seen Brantley Gilbert’s music video on CMT. She woke me up and told me that she thought I would be good at this type of music. I started posting some covers of me and an acoustic on YouTube and ended up getting a better response than I had ever had and it felt more natural to me than anything I’ve ever done.
(CMW) Your music reflects feel good lyrics and catchy – crank up the volume – and thinking of your favorite memory kind of songs, are these drawn from your own personal experiences? what do you like to do when your not performing?
(Matt) Some of my songs that I’ve written do reflect on my own personal experiences, and some of my songs are from songwriters out of Nashville.
It’s all about the song for me.
I was an athlete before I got in to music, so I love to try and keep my youth and stay in shape by working out, and playing basketball. I love to watch football and movies as well.
(CMW) How does a lyric typically trigger an idea for a song? Where does the inspiration usually hit you?
(Matt) There is really no specific answer for this. Song lyrics and inspirations have come from all different angles. It could be something I see on a TV show or a movie, or something a friend is doing or dealing with, or something in my life.
(CMW) What can you tell any new listeners what to expect from one of your shows? From what I see you are definitely in your element onstage , the energy from you and your band is very infectious and the fans are truly having a great time!
(Matt) Haha. Yup. You pretty much explained it all in a nut shell there. It’s hard to explain, but when we get on the stage we lay it all out on the table. There is definitely an energy in the room and the crowd can feel it too!
We just want everyone to feel good and have a great time while we are performing. More than just being a good singer, and have great songs, being able to perform and entertain is a key element to all of this!
(CMW) Tell us some of the great Country acts you have worked with or shared the stage with in the past or upcoming shows
(Matt) We have been super fortunate over the last couple of years to be able to share the stage with Lee Brice, Sam Hunt, Chase Rice, Brantley Gilbert and many more, including performing at some of the largest country music festivals with artist’s like Cole Swindell, Parmalee, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan and more!
We are currently working on tour dates for 2016 to support the our sophomore single at national country radio. Hopefully fans will be able to catch us out on the road with one of these artist’s!
(CMW) What is your favorite song to perform live at your concerts? one of my favorites is Cold One Tonight, such a great tune! but your whole playlist is fantastic!
(Matt) Awe thanks so much! Ya, that’s a fun one! It’s funny because when we perform that song, even people who haven’t heard it before are singing the tag line by the end of it. I’m not sure if I have a favorite one though. I love them all in a different way.
(CMW) You had a pretty exciting 2015 with your recent signing with Arrow Entertainment of Nashville/Seattle and a new EP being released, what were some other highlights of the year for you
(Matt) 2015 we have ended with a bang. We released our debut single, “Summer I’ll Always Remember,’ to country radio and it just hit #9 on the New Music Weekly Country Main Chart and close to 60 radio stations across the country have added it to rotation. We are super excited to release our next single, “Bad Feelin,” to country radio in January!
(CMW) Your brand new EP “The Island presale is now going on with some cool intensives when you purchase , Tell us a little more about that and when the album officially becomes available in digital stores,
(Matt) Ya, this is pretty cool. So the pre-release is available now on iTunes and Google Play for just $3.99 and you will get 3 songs instantly. The EP then comes out on Christmas Day, and you will get the remaining 4 songs automatically on Christmas Day! The first 250 people to get the presale and post a screen shot on social media with the hash tag #TheIslandEP get an autographed copy of my debut self-titled EP and they are entered for a chance to win a personal skype acoustic performance from me!
(CMW) From The Island album has already released two great singles, ” The Island” and “Summer I’ll always Remember” give us a hint of what we will find when listening to the rest of the album?
(Matt) For me, the hardest thing to do with this album was to pick which songs we would release as singles. Honestly, they are all so good. If you like the singles we release from it, don’t be surprised if you like the other songs on the EP even better. They literally could all be singles.
Well thanks Matt for taking the time to chat with us! We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from us here at Country Music Weekly!
Thank you so much for chatting with me! We wish you and all your families at Country Music Weekly a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year as well!
Here is a great intro video to get to know Mat a bit more.