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, starring Baywatch’s Donna D’Errico (116 MacDougal.)
Matt is a two-time International Music and Entertainment Association Male Country Artist of the Year. He appeared in the October 10, 2018 issue of Billboard Magazine as an Emerging Artist. His newest single “Thin Blue Line” released February 26th, 2021.
Hey, very happy to welcome you to the Radio Show and Podcast community. Tell us a little bit more about yourself. Introduce yourself to the community.
Hi, thank you for having me. My name is Matt Westin. I was born and raised in a blue-collar, middle class suburb of Pittsburgh, PA. Music has always been a part of my life, since I was a child in the school band and orchestra, but more-so just as a hobby or pastime. I fell in love with singing in college, where I taught myself how to sing, mostly by annoying my neighbors by singing too loudly in the shower! But, after a bad experience being an engineer for 6 years, I walked away from a promising career in engineering to pursue things that made me happy, where I could truly be myself. I ended up moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting seriously, since I had been dabbling with it for years. Tragically, after a bravely fought battle with leukemia, in April 2016 my father succumbed to complications with his chemotherapy. I was completely devastated and struggled day to day with the reality of my dad’s death. After months of depression and anger, not knowing what to do with my life anymore, I moved back to Pittsburgh from Los Angeles to try to heal and get through losing my dad without self-destructing. Almost suddenly, like an epiphany as they say, I decided to honor my dad’s memory by finally pursuing a music career, as he had encouraged. So, in 2018 I released my award winning debut album, “Legacy”, with 3 subsequent singles being released internationally on MTS Records.
One thing that I’m always interested in, when I sit down and chat with artists is, what their defining moment was that they knew that they wanted to be in music… What was that moment in time for you?
As I mentioned before, the decision to pursue music really just became apparent to me out of thin air. But, it was a long time coming to that point. I had been enjoying singing and performing for years, whether it be at karaoke, or singing in my friend’s or my cousins’ bands. I needed a distraction from the pain of losing my dad, and I needed a goal, a purpose, a reason to look forward to the next day. Music has always been therapeutic to me, and it just makes sense that I ended up on this path, which helped me to rebuild myself from the lowest point in my life.
Do you mix and master yourself or do you have an engineer or a producer that works with you?
I’ve been blessed to work with some incredibly talented people. My producer Bryan Cole is top notch, and he has linked me up with some of the best engineers, musicians, mixing and mastering guys, and really helped to put me on the map as a rising artist.
What motivates you? Not just in your music but in your normal life as well.
I’ve always been very self motivated, whether in school, sports, fitness, nutrition, my faith, or music. I have a part of me that is just driven. But I think it stems originally from growing up and wanting to make my parents proud. And idolizing action heroes like Arnold, Stallone, Van Damme, Bruce Lee growing up, I was fascinated by their work ethic and willingness to go through pain and hard work to achieve their goals. As a young boy, I suppose it made an impression on me to do my best and not waste my talents or my time on this earth.
I am personally on a mission to get good music heard by everyone. What is one thing that bothers you the most about trying to come up in the music world today and, do you prefer being underground or, is the mainstream something you strive for?
I think something that bothers a lot of country artists and fans alike is the mainstream radio and how the industry has gone so pop in recent years. I personally don’t like a lot of modern country music, which makes it difficult for me as an artist to try to break into the mainstream and advance my career. I have to create a sound that I like, that I believe in, and that I still consider to be country, yet also appeals industry wide.
Who, musically, is one of your bigger influences?
I learned to sing by emulating Frank Sinatra when I was a teenager, but I sing country music now. Go figure! Other main musical influences on my personal style would be Toby Keith, Garth Brooks, and Johnny Cash. It’s quite a strange combination, but somehow the pieces fit together.
One question that I like to ask artists is, how did Covid affect your music in particular and the music scene in your area?
The pandemic shut down virtually all of the local music venues, except for maybe a couple small rebellious establishments. I had planned to record my second album in 2020, but that was cancelled due to the studios shutting down. However, it all worked out in the end. I switched gears, recorded my latest single “Thin Blue Line”, and since no one was working, I was able to put together a group of musicians and started building my own personal band. Things are open again for the most part, I have a few originals I’m getting ready to record soon, and there’s a decent chance I’ll be working with a band in the Nashville area in the coming months.
I, myself, personally think that there’s too much social media out there to keep up with. I understand why it’s necessary but there’s a ton of it out there. What are your feelings on social media and music today?
I agree with you. I’m not one to be posting online all the time, and I hate that everything is so connected to and dependent on social media influence. I understand the necessity of it, but I think it’s gotten out of hand. Social media is too big and I think it’s making people act worse towards each other and is a big part of the crumbling of our society. Times have definitely changed. On one hand, it’s helped me get some exposure, but I agree with you that there’s just too much out there.
Do you create music often? When can we expect another release?
I try to keep something coming down the pike most of the time. Currently, I have two original songs I just wrote, and possibly one from a publisher friend in Nashville that I plan to record this summer/fall.
I grew up in the 90’s, I listened to everyone from Dr. Dre, to Weezer, to Pink Floyd, Metallica, Cypress Hill and back again. I truly believe that the 90’s were one of the greatest era’s for original music. Which era of music is one of your favorites?
I listened to all of that too! I love it! I enjoy and appreciate so many genres and eras of music, each for their own reason. It’s so difficult to say what I consider my favorite era, but I’ll stick by what I’ve said in the past. If I could only listen to one kind of music for the rest of my life, and that’s all I would ever have access to, I’d choose Sinatra and that whole era. It is beautiful music, beautiful writing, storytelling, and singing. It’s classy. It’s timeless. I think the fact it’s still being played and enjoyed 60 or 70 years later is a testament to its quality.
If you could swap yourself into a different artist, who would it be?
Of the past, definitely Frank Sinatra. Surprised?! Of the current generation, I’ll stick with Matt Westin, because I want to see where this ride goes.
What tips or advice would you give someone that’s just starting out in the music game?
I always say the same thing. You have to believe in yourself, first of all. That’s the starting point. Then, surround yourself with good people who you trust and who support you, who will help encourage you through the difficult times that will inevitably come. Finally, take some risks, because playing it safe will not open doors and will only stifle your growth.
I want to thank you for this Q&A, Is there anything you want to say to everyone out there? Shout outs?
Thank you! And thank everyone for your support. I hope you enjoy the music, and please stick around, because I’ll have plenty of good stuff coming soon. You can find me and my music at http://www.mattwestin.com, as well as links to all of my social media.
Matt’s music is available on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, AMI jukeboxes, and all major digital platforms:
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