Matt Stell

This week on the podcast, I caught up with artist Matt Stell. We talked about his new EP Better Than That, the songwriting process, his favorite bands, and so much more. See some highlights from the conversation below, and click here to listen to the full episode.
TNB – I have heard you say you are a big Drive-By Truckers fan. What kind of influence did the band have on you?

Stell – I discovered the Truckers in college. For lack of a better way to say it, I was always kinda intimidated by music that wasn’t Country music, because a lot of songs didn’t really connect with me. But I really became obsessed with lyrics after hearing those guys write about themes and characters that I identified with. There is a song off of the album Souther Rock Opera called “Zip City” that changed my life. It’s a long song, and doesn’t really have a chorus, but the character is talking about being seventeen and having one thing on your mind. The last line of that song is “I got 350 heads on a 305 engine. I get ten miles to the gallon. I ain’t got no good intentions” and I remember thinking “I know this guy!” When your from where I am from, there is so much captured in those lyrics.

TNB – Barry Weiss who runs you label RECORDS is kinda an industry icon. What’s his vibe?

Stell – He is extroverted, energetic, competent, confident, etc. He saw something in me that nobody else saw or was willing to take a chance on. It’s hard to understate how big of deal that is, for a guy to cold call my manager Ash (Bowers) and say “hey we see this independent song called ‘Prayed For You’, and we would like to make a deal.” He worked with everyone from NSYNC to Backstreet Boys to Britney Spears. Now the RECORDS side of things is mainly Hip Hop but he reached out wanting to take a chance on a Country record. He is a visionary and I think the model he has built is something people are starting to do because they are seeing it work.

TNB – Do you ever listen back to any of your music and notice any little imperfections or things that you wish you could fix?

Stell – I’ll give you a great example. In “Prayed For You”, the way I say “faith” in the chorus bothers me every time I hear it. It almost sounds like I am saying “feth”. When I sing it live, I make sure to put more emphasis on the “a”, so “faith” and “James” have more of a rhyme sound. I wish I sang it like that initially, but hey it’s rock n roll.


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