From a blue-collar upbringing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Matt Westin had a passion for the arts. Music and acting are what called to him most. Now he is putting it all out there for the world to enjoy. His debut record has just been released and it has been a truly personal journey.
We caught up with Matt Westin to learn about how he got to this point and what the future will hold. Enjoy the interview here:
We learned that you had many passions from a young age. What continues to draw you to creating music?
It’s true, I’ve always had many passions. From the time I was young, music was always at least an interest of mine. But it seems the older I get, the more of a passion it keeps becoming. Maybe it’s because more life experience makes me appreciate and relate to the songs on a deeper level. I don’t know. I do know that I have a lot more to say and express now than compared to when I was a kid, and I think that trend will continue forever. But there’s just something magical about music that really touches me on a deep level and it just gets more fun and more important to me as the years roll on. I enjoy the hell out of it and being able to affect other people with such a wonderful feeling is a real thrill for me.
How would you describe your unique sound?
Well, I’ve always enjoyed traditional and outlaw country, more so than a lot of today’s modern country, which to me sounds like pop music. I have some of those traditional influences in my music, but it’s still modern enough to fit in with contemporary country. It’s country music that I would want to listen to, and I think it has something for everyone, whether they are into modern or classic country, or even rock. I’m sure my sound will evolve as time goes on, and I really look forward to incorporating more of my tastes for rock and blues into my music, but I will remain true to country.
Who would you say are your biggest influences?
I enjoy so many types of music, but the most influential artists in my life are probably Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and Toby Keith. A long time ago, Sinatra and Elvis were who I emulated when I was just learning how to sing. My dad gave me an Elvis cassette when I was about 3 years old, and I cherished that thing. But as a country artist, Johnny Cash will always be special to me. His voice and his persona just always had some kind of aura around it that I was drawn to. He was one of a kind and I love his music and his story. But I began singing a lot of Toby Keith’s music around bars in Pittsburgh, and I’ve always enjoyed his upbeat country-rock style. His music has some testosterone and I just relate to it more as a man, much more so than the pop-oriented country music that’s so popular today.
You really decided to go for it with this debut record. Tell us about the process?
Unfortunately, it started with my father’s passing. We were very close, and watching him fight and suffer and fight and lose, that trauma put me in a very dark and dangerous mindset and I was not easy to be around. I was not even close to being myself anymore, and I was utterly lost and depressed. I needed something to focus on so that I wouldn’t just simply self-destruct. In what I can only describe as a spiritual experience, I just one day knew in my heart and soul that I had to do this album. My father loved my singing and always encouraged me to continue pursuing music. So, I dedicated my album “Legacy” to him. It became a huge part of my healing process and I learned so much about myself in the process. Bryan Cole, my producer, understood what this project meant, and from day one we were on a mission to honor my father with the best debut album we could put together. He pulled in some incredible musicians and we went to work. It was a long process, a learning process, a growing process, but it was beautiful. Long hours in the studio and many tears went into this album, but I feel like it was blessed from the beginning. I’m so proud to share it with the world.
What do you hope listeners will take away from a Matt Westin song?
A song can mean something different to different people, but as long as it touches them in some way, then I did my job. There’s nothing more gratifying and humbling that when someone reacts to a song, whether it’s with tears, or dancing, or just tapping their foot. But hopefully my music will affect people on a much deeper level as well because that’s where this album came from.
What advice would you give to other artists willing to put in the hard work needed to build a music career?
I’d tell them to stay true to themselves, surround themselves with good people who believe in them, and take some risks. It’s important for anyone to stay true to who they are, but it’s especially crucial for artists because that’s what makes you unique and helps you stand out from the rest. It’s definitely a struggle, so having good people around you is important to help you stay focused and be a support system, in my experience. Pursuing music is a risk in itself, but once you’re on the path, it’s important to put yourself out there and let the world see you for who you are as an artist. It’s a scary thing, but that’s what makes it all worth it in the end. I guess it comes back to just being true to yourself.
What is next for Matt Westin?
2018 has already been a crazy year for me. My debut album “Legacy” was released in January, and I continue to have interviews with people all over the planet. I’m a solo artist, so I’m currently building my band to get out on the road and play for the fans and hopefully make some new ones. I plan on getting down to Nashville this year to write a little bit and meet some incredible people that I’ve been blessed to associate with in creating my album. I plan to start working on my second album later this year as well. Ultimately, it’s all in God’s hands, but I’m just doing what I can do with what I have. The sky’s the limit.
Keep up with more from Matt Westin HERE.