Matt Stell, our Swag Spotlight for the week was born in Central Arkansas and now lives in Nashville. His passion is writing and performing, but it wasn’t always the obvious choice for his career path. After moving to Nashville and trying his hand at being a professional songwriter and artist, he had taken a medical missions trip to Haiti and saw how the doctors and nurses were able to change people’s lives drastically. After returning home, Stell decided to turn down a pre-medical program acceptance at Harvard Law to stay in Nashville and change people’s lives with his music. We discussed how that trip changed his life in so many ways. “Well, you can’t go there without having that place have a profound effect on your life,” Stell says. “It took only a few hours to get there and it may as well have been on a different planet.” He came home with a serious gratitude for the way we are able to live and for the ability to make a living doing what he loves.
Stell recalls listening to traditional country music with his Granddad growing up, like Johnny Cash and Ernest Tubbs while his mother was a big fan of Allison Krauss and Bonnie Raitt. “My generation has access to music in a different way than generations before us, so I’ve always had an affinity for all different kinds of music, for rock music, rap music, you name it,” he tells us. He brings those influences into his music today.
The latest project Stell released back in March is a six-song EP titled The Last of the Best and he either co-wrote or wrote by himself each of the tracks on the project. “I enjoy the writing, I get to do it every day. I love playing and writing music and I don’t know which one I love more,” he says. When picking songs for the album, Stell explains he is so glad to have a team around him who understands his goals for his music. “We keep the live show in mind quite a bit, I wanted to make sure that if someone heard the EP, they would want to come to see me perform those songs live.”
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