Mat Kearney just released his new album Just Kids and is getting ready to embark on his biggest headlining tour, yet. As Mat says, his music is kind of in the singer-songwriter genre, kind of a hip hop and even a little rock. He also incorporates spoken word.
Mat's fans also aren't easily defined. He says they range from just kids to older adults, making it challenging to know who to market his music to. However, what makes him different makes him special. Plus, Taylor Swift is even a fan. According to Mat, she's been to his shows and even mentioned him in a New York Times article once.
We talked to Mat about creating an album that, "Paul Simon and Kanye West would make together," his upcoming tour and doing what we all do; singing along to "Blank Space" by T-Swift.
Cambio: What's your favorite track on the new album?
Mat: I really love the title track "Just Kids," because I feel like it kind of encapsulates a lot of the genres and styles that make me unique that I'm blending and I produced it. I also really like "One Black Sheep." I feel like the Paul Simon influences really come through in that song. It's just fun to play.
Cambio: What's one of your favorite cities to play in?
Mat: Boston's always been cool just because there's so much young concert energy there, like a lot of college kids. I'm playing my hometown in Nashville and I sold out The Ryman for the first which is a really special venue for me there, so that's an accomplishment I've wanted to do my whole career and we finally did it, so Nashville is on that list, too.
Cambio: What's a goal you haven't accomplished, yet?
Mat: This Just Kids Tour we're playing some rooms that I've always dreamed of playing and I was nervous because you don't want to play a room and have it be half full, like The Wiltern, some of these rooms I've always wanted to play and we're like, "Let's go for it," and we put them up on sale and they're all doing amazing and it looks like most of the tour is going to sell out. I would say that was a massive goal. I guess I'm in the middle of realizing the goal.
Cambio: What was it like filming your "Heartbeat" video with a drone?
Mat: That was a lot of fun! I selfishly just wanted to make a video with a drone and so I had this idea to do a one take video with a drone and he was like how about if we do 90s grease background dancers and I said that sounds like a lot of fun, something I've never done before and we had a blast shooting it in L.A.
Cambio: What's a story someone has told you about how there music has affected them that's stuck with you?
Mat: Just yesterday in L.A., I bumped back into a woman who her husband died the day my City of Black and White album came out and that song "Closer to Love" talks about getting that phone call that brings you to your knees. She listened to it that day and it was kinda like her way to get through it. And she brought her whole family out and we hung out and had a moment of them just sharing what that song meant to them in the middle of that thing they were going through. Those moments you're really like, "Wow, this is bigger than me and it's such a special job that I get to do."
Cambio: What advice would you give to young, struggling musicians who feel beat down or like there efforts aren't getting them where they want to go quickly enough?
Mat: I would say you've gotta find the songs that only you can write and that you bleed. I think if you start imitating other people or you try to chase something...is usually when no one cares about it, but when you find those kind of songs and the subject matters that are very you and that only you could have written that song, those tend to be the moments that people connect with.
Cambio: What's your favorite song to listen to right now?
Mat: Definitely Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" and its like the most played song in America, but for some reason I have to turn it up all 14 times I hear it a day.
Cambio: Do you sing along?
Mat: Oh yeah. t got to the point where my wife is like, "Babe, stop singing that song," because it's literally stuck in my head like a worm that won't go away. That beat is just awesome. I feel like that's kind of what I would do, with the hip hop beats. She's coming a little close to my territory. Maybe Tay needs to back off a little bit.
Get Mat's new album Just Kids on iTunes and see Mat on his upcoming tour.