He's an acoustic singer-songwriter. He's hip-hop spoken word. He sings like Coldplay's Chris Martin and is reminiscent of Johnny Cash. Mat Kearney may be a lot of things, but bored at life, that he is not.
Ask singer-songwriter Mat Kearney why he only has one "T" in his name and he'll probably tell you that his mom was on drugs when she named him. He's joking of course, his mother is a children's pastor; she would never do something like that, shame on you for even thinking it. One thing that is for sure though, despite his name's missing letter, Mat lacks nothing when it comes to making good music.
Growing up in Eugene, Oregon, Mat never dreamed of being a musician. It wasn't until his early years at Chico State University in California that he first picked up a guitar, his roommates' actually, and cautiously taught himself to play in secret. Combining his new musical abilities and innate love for written words, he soon was creating his own unique style of music.
"I used to sneak into the school of music at Chico State and they used to have this piano that sat up on this stage and I knew where the light was," Mat explains. "So I'd go in at 2 in the morning and play piano for hours and teach myself songs. So I'm not a very amazing piano player, but I learned how to write songs on the piano."
And write songs he did. Good songs in fact. Following what almost seemed like a pre-destined path set before him, Mat soon ended up in Nashville where he was given a number of label offers. Humbly he turned them down though, not because he was arrogant, but because he didn't feel he was ready for it yet. Instead, he wrote and co-produced his first album, Bullet, independently which allowed him to continue to grow as a songwriter, something that was very important to him. "My uncle told me," Mat says, "If your vibe ever outweighs your substance you're destined to be a novelty."
Eventually, as though the planets aligned and all signs finally pointed to 'yes,' he signed with Aware/Columbia, and released his first major label album Nothing Left To Lose. The album can be described as a Britpop inspired, hip-hop influenced, singer-songwriter folkish collection of melodies. His songs have been used in TV shows such as Grey's Anatomy and Friday Night Lights, and he's appeared on AOL Music's Artist Spotlight. Recently he appeared at the Media Club in Vancouver and has been sharing the stage with such acts as The Fray, John Mayer and Sheryl Crow as well as headlining his own share of tour dates across North America.
"The hardest thing about being on the road is being away from people that love and support you," he says. "You get really good at building relationships over the phone." Despite his whirlwind of his current lifestyle, he wouldn't have it any other way.
"To think of my life without music would be strange."
For more information please visit www.matkearney.com.
Writer: Sarah Shandl