With his dark curly locks, easygoing friendly manner, and welcoming smile, it’s difficult to even imagine Matt Wynn in such a wrenchingly painful state like the one in his achingly honest song, "When It’s Gone” -- a tune he wrote with one of his heroes, Phil Vassar, and producer Cliff Downs. Even more so when you listen to the Missouri native launch into the yet-to-be released song, wringing every ounce of emotion out of each well-turned phrase as he recalls the aftermath of a love gone impossibly wrong.
But spend a few moments with the driven young singer, and it’s clear that he’s not merely your run-of-the-mill, basic country artist. Maybe it’s the years he spent riding around with his dad, singing every word to songs by 90’s country staples like Aaron Tippin, Darryl Worley and others. Or the copies of the albums from the Beatles, Tim McGraw, Motown, Phil Collins, Frank Sinatra, and many others he pilfered from his dad’s record collection early on that he devoured, intently soaking up the words to every single cut. Or even the years he spent singing in church growing up, where he learned you could free your soul directly through your voice if you just let it soar. But Matt Wynn definitely figured out early on he had something to say. “I just fell in love with songwriting right away," recalls Matt. "The songs mattered, and they led the way.”
As a kid growing up in Flint Hill, MO, a tiny town of 600, Matt enjoyed creative writing in school, but it was the time spent in church that really laid the foundation for his love of singing. It also instilled in him a steadfast faith that has guided him through and can be found in many of the songs he writes.
“In grade school and middle school growing up we had no music program, but we would go to church and sing in church all the time,” recalls Matt. “And I fell in love with being able to sing and move people and watch them react to the emotion. In church there’s no filter -- soul singing just lets the spirit move you, and I learned my voice a lot in church during that period. There’s a spiritual element to me and to my writing and people often ask why I didn’t pursue a career in Christian music, but I feel my heart is in country music.
“I always thought country music represented Jesus. Christian music is great, but it speaks to the people already in the pews, the people going to church every Sunday and the people who are trying to listen to God. But Jesus went out to folks and met the people where they were -- He talked in parables, He brought God to people without them knowing. And that’s what I think country music does in a sense.”
Matt’s eyes light up as he talks about his faith and it’s easy to see he shares the same passion for the Good Book as he does for the Country Top 40. During school he picked up several instruments and became comfortable on the stage in choirs and musical theater and even acapella groups, and by the time he was ready to graduate he wrestled with the decision of college or music career. An audition for a national TV talent competition swayed his vote and he headed to Hollywood for a bit when the scouts took note of his talent and pushed him through.
Though he didn’t place in the competition, that experience was invaluable because it became the catalyst that drove him to ultimately head to Nashville and really pursue his dreams full time. He moved to Music City and dove headfirst into the experience, making the rounds, performing at writers’ nights, and meeting everyone he could who might help him get into the business and make his dreams come true. At an industry party with some friends one night, he fortuitously met a soft drink exec who was impressed with his talent and offered him some opening gigs on some major corporate shows, which opened even more doors for the up-and-coming artist. That relationship eventually also led him to the execs at Given Entertainment, who instantly recognized the Missouri native’s drive and unending passion for the music and signed him to a deal at the company. They were immediately taken with Matt’s maturity beyond his years and undeniable work ethic even before signing him, but it was really his soulful voice that pulled them in and they knew he needed to be heard.
Since signing with Given Matt has spent the last year plus passionately churning out songs in mostly two-a-day writing sessions at the company, carving out his own unique style and laying the foundation to make his mark in today’s country. He’s had the opportunity to meet and write with several of his country heroes like Phil Vassar, Aaron Tippin, Billy Dean and Andy Griggs and feels blessed to be at this point in his burgeoning career.
“All those guys are my heroes, and they are the soundtrack of my life growing up,” says Matt, “and now it’s crazy that I get to be friends with them and write with them. It’s amazing – it makes me think that manifestation is a real thing in the sense that you can work your butt off and chase your dream and keep hammering the nail until it goes into the ground.”
A seasoned performer who played over 200 shows across the country in 2019 pre-pandemic opening for Luke Combs, Maren Morris, Brother Osborne, Sam Hunt, Brantley Gilbert, Chris Janson, Russell Dickerson, and more, Matt feeds off the energy from packed crowds and enjoys connecting with his audiences the most. And with the pandemic sidelining concerts for a year and keeping us apart, he's definitely grateful to be returning to the stage and performing much of the new music he’s been hard at work on for the past few years and doing what he really loves best – playing live.
“Performing live is like the entertainer’s rush,” Matt admits. “I love recording, I love being in the studio, I love bringing that song to life. But there’s nothing like going out and playing live for people and feeling a crowd. An artist's job is to portray emotion, whether it’s through a guitar solo like Keith Urban, Eric Clapton or John Mayer does, or through the way someone sings with a uniqueness like a Reba, Willie Nelson or Bob Dylan does, or just being an unbelievable emotional singer like Chris Stapleton. I’m not made just to write, or just to sing, I’m made to do both. I’m one of those guys I’m not fully complete without one or the other. Playing live - it’s the thing that gives you purpose, it makes you feel like this is what I do and this is what I offer the world and this is what my job is.”