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INTERVIEW: Matt Westin

How would you classify your music?

I’ve always enjoyed classic and outlaw country, more so than a lot of the modern country, which borders on pop music. I aimed to have some of those influences in my music, but still be modern enough to fit in with contemporary country. With the song choices and the production, I think we’ve accomplished that. 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

Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?

I enjoy almost every genre of music, but for my singing style and sound, I’d have to go with Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Toby Keith and Garth Brooks.

What do you want fans to take from your music?

The songs on this album are very much me. I personally identify with each one for a different reason. So, at the very least, I want my fans to enjoy listening to my music, but hopefully it’s deeper than that. If my music affects people in a way that makes them dance, or laugh, or cry, then I’ve done my job. Everyone has a soundtrack to their lives, and I’d be honored to be a part of it.

How’s the music scene in your locale?

I think the music scene in Pittsburgh is really growing, and has been for quite a while. There are multiple concert venues in and around the city, and more and more local businesses are having musical acts or open mics. There’s really something for everyone here, and there’s a lot of talent in and around Pittsburgh.

What is the best concert you have been to? What do you like most about playing live?

Believe it or not, the best concert I’ve been to was Rob Zombie. It was more of a spectacle than just a concert with all the animatronics and flames and lasers. And at that particular venue, you can get very close to the stage. I was literally within arm’s length of the man himself when he came into the crowd. It was just a lot of fun. I am a fan of so much music, and each concert is great in its own right, but this one just stood out to me.

My favorite part about playing live is the energy. It’s just so gratifying. Seeing people react to my music and enjoying themselves, that makes it all worth it.

Is there a song on your latest CD release here that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?

I have a hard time picking a favorite, because each song means something to me. But if you’re forcing me to choose, I would pick Redneck of the Woods. It’s got that outlaw country vibe to it, with a rock edge, and the message is everything that I stand for as an American. God, family, red, white, and blue, working hard, helping others, and standing up for your beliefs. It’s a great song.

How have you evolved as an artist over the last year?

I’ve grown so much that it’s hard to explain. My experience in the recording studio over the last year was absolutely incredible and honestly, life changing. I really learned a lot about myself as a man and as an artist, but I’ve really just begun to come into my own.

If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, have a drink with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?

I’m going to cheat and go with The Highwaymen. That way I can meet some of my country music heroes all at once!

What’s next for you?  

I am releasing my first single (Redneck of the Woods) at the end of December, then the full album will follow later in January. So, I’m going to be pretty busy promoting this and getting out there in front of people. But I’m hoping to collaborate with some other artists soon and I’m writing some new songs now for my next album.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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