I spent years in a trailer, driving all around the South and Midwest playing this music. But Matt’s road to Prayed For You” is not the one most traveled. Last weekend I saw Kelsea Ballerini on the Graffiti U World Tour at Mohegan Sun.
matt stell prayed for you live – Matt Stell Scores First No. 1 Single With Prayed For You”
Matt Stell’s star is on the rise, i think his new song “Prayed for You” resonates with a a country fanbase and really speaks to anyyone who searching to find someone special, but doesn’t yet know who that person might be. The six-foot-seven former college basketball player found out Monday night – in front of a capacity crowd at the impromptu Nashville tradition known as Whiskey Jam – that his breakthrough hit, Prayed for You,” has been certified gold.
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.
Matt Stell is coming to Star-B-Q this August 28 at the Salem Farmers Market – all six feet seven inches of him. The Arkansas native not only has a breakout hit in Prayed For You” but he also was a former college basketball player at Drury University.
There’s some lines in Everywhere But On” that are super autobiographical. I spent years in a trailer, driving all around the South and Midwest playing this music. There’s a line in that song, My mail’s still going to mama’s house,” and to this day I have mail that goes to my mom’s house that she has to bring to me. That’s super true. The second verse talking about all the different jobs that I’ve done, especially when I moved to town and I couldn’t tour as much. I was having to do other things to make money besides music so there’s a lot of truth in that song.
I grew up in a place nothing like here, at all, and it amazes me that so many people love country music and I think it’s a real testament to country music, that it speaks to us all,” he said to the audience. In honor of playing above Madison Square Garden, Stell worked up his own version of Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind”. The acoustic guitar puts an entirely new spin on the classic tune.
After teaching himself to play guitar in college, he moonlighted at local venues under a fake name after basketball practice. Tapping a diverse love of artists like Randy Travis, Bonnie Raitt and the Drive-By Truckers, to name a few, Stell’s own lyrics began making waves, with songs like Whiskey Baby” and Small Town Love” hitting Number One on the Texas Radio charts.
Pictured during the on-stage presentation (above, left to right): Liz Cost, Sr. Director Marketing, SMN, Keith Gale, Good Company Entertainment, Ash Bowers, Wide Open Music, Barry Weiss, RECORDS, David Enriquez, RECORDS, Brendan Rich, Wide Open Music, Matt Stell, Josh Easler, VP Promotion Arista Nashville; Jamice Jennings, GCE Promotion, and Laurent Thomas, Director National Promotion, SMN.
When I meet a new artist for the first time, one of the questions I always ask is, What’s a song you wish you’d written?” It helps me gauge the artist’s roots, and tells me whether or not we will be the same page.
Keeping the music going, New York City artist and local Nash Next winner, Jessica Rose entertained the crowd next, closing out the afternoon. She performed her songs One of The Boys”, Rose Tattoo” and even covered Gretchen Wilson’s Redneck Woman”. The perfect weather along with the high-energy performances, it was the ultimate way to kick off the weekend.
The “Prayed for You” music video has 4.5 million views on YouTube. Click here to watch. I love playing songs that matter to people because that’s the strongest connection you can make between artists and listeners.
The result is a track that can speak to everyone who yearns to find someone special, but doesn’t yet know who that person might be. Read on to learn more about how “Prayed for You” was written, in Stell’s own words.
Still, he was slow to try writing or playing himself. Stell was around 12 when his mother gave him his first guitar, which he promptly stowed in a closet and forgot about for eight years or so. Instead, he threw himself into basketball, getting good enough to earn an athletic scholarship and pave the way toward earning his bachelor’s degree at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri and his masters in communication at the University of Arkansas.
Nashville Noise sat down with Stell, who opened up about teaching himself to play guitar when he was still in college. Because he couldn’t go home during breaks (since he was playing college ball), he had to keep himself busy somehow. He sat down with the guitar and the rest is history. Long story short: he is not afraid of hard work.
Matt Stell’s debut single, Prayed for You,” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart this week. Walk us through your time after college leading up to deciding to move to Nashville.
Penned by Matt, Ash Bowers and Allison Veltz, Prayed For You” takes on the all too relatable story of a guy praying for that special someone before he’s even met her.
After moving to Nashville in 2014, Stell got busy performing at writers’ rounds around town, which led to deals with publishing company Wide Open Music and veteran record executive Barry Weiss’ RECORDS label, with promotion from Good Company Entertainment. His debut single, “Prayed For You,” written by Stell, Ash Bowers, and Allison Veltz, is climbing the charts and has amassed more than 30 million streams. Its accompanying video, which features reality TV star Savannah Chrisley and pro hockey player Nic Kerdiles, has garnered more than three and a half million view. Stell will release a new EP in May, which follows 2018’s “Last Of The Best” EP. He’ll be on the road this summer performing at festivals, including Country LakeShake in Chicago and Watershed in George, WA.
The song has already had more than 40 million streams and it’s the lead single from his EP Everywhere But On, which is released on Friday. Stell almost pursued a career in basketball but the call to make music proved too strong.
Stell’s Everywhere But On EP is out now, with Prayed for You” joining six other tracks including a collaboration with Jimmie Allen on Home In a Hometown.” He’ll be on Chris Young ‘s Raised on Country World Tour 2019 from September 26 through November 23.
A life of twists and turns has led Stell to follow more than a few callings – and he’s done so with excellence each time. But with his Everywhere But On EP, the tangled paths of his background converge at a new destination.
Allison (one of the co-writers) had met what turned out to be her husband maybe a week before, so she was riding pretty high from that. So that was our point of departure, and then Ash other co- writer, and I tried to inject our own experiences into the song. We came out with a guy that’s a lot like me, who’s way luckier than he deserves in most aspects of his life.
I’m so excited about the Opry debut, I can’t wait. I have so many fond memories. My dad passed away a little over a year ago but before that he and my stepmom along with two of their friends came to Nashville to visit me. We went to the Opry and watched Will Hoge and Luke Combs that night. It was really great. It’s a memory I cherish from that time. I remember thinking that night what it might be like to step on that Opry stage and step in circle, and I get a chance to do it. I’m just beyond excited. I got a bunch of friends and family coming to town for it as well so it’s going to be really special.
Meanwhile, Reason Why” presents Stell’s expressive vocal inside a moody anthem to rolling the dice on love once more, Last Habit” goes down smooth as an intoxicating can’t-help-myself jam and the gritty Better I Drink” pairs a swamp-rock beat with a bluesy, talk-rapping bridge.
Among the first songs I ever wrote, I wrote a song called Sheepskin Road.” I wrote it from the perspective of my great uncle and where I’m from. That was one of the first songs I wrote. It’s a song that I still play from time to time. That was followed by a bunch of songs that I do not play.
In this first video Matt shares where he calls home” and his childhood. He reveals some of his early influences and talks about going to college to play basketball. Matt reveals when he was bitten by the music big, how he taught himself to play guitar and what his what his Plan B” might have been if music didn’t work out.
I’d love to do something cross-genre. I love a lot of rap music. It’d be fun to do some kind of collaboration with some of my favorite rap artists, like, 2 Chainz or Kendrick Lamar. It’d be cool to do something with a pop diva like Katy Perry or Christina Aguilera. Right now I’d love to do something with Lizzo. Anything that’s different that you feel like 1 +1 might equal 3 with, I’m interested in that kind of thing.
It would’ve been the college apartments or frat house things at my college. I remember one of the first shows I ever played, there was a venue that opened up near my school that catered to Red Dirt or Texas country music. I think that was the first show that I ever had playing out live at a writers round type of thing playing original music. I remember that pretty vividly. It was pretty great, and I was hooked at that point.
You could say 2019 has treated Matt Stell pretty stellar so far. Not bad for a guy who didn’t even pick up a guitar until he was 20 and who almost convinced himself music was just meant to be a hobby. Because Matt thought he had other plans. First there was sports. and then there was medicine. But it was the offer of his dream publishing deal that lead this former basketball player turned pre med student down the path that would eventually take him to the revered Opry circle”.
Country newcomer Matt Stell has received continued praise for his breakout single, Prayed For You”. The love song was not only picked up on all three of Spotify’s leading country music playlists including Hot Country, Wild Country & New Boots, but was also included in NYCountry Swag’s What We’re Listening To: September Picks” playlist.
Walker will be joined by one of the most exciting acts in country music, up-and-coming country duo High Valley. The brothers’ 2016 album Dear Life spurred their rise to fame with hit songs Dear Life,” She’s With Me,” and Make You Mine.” Their new project’s debut Single Man” is a hit in the making.
On the contrary, just before the release of his EP, Stell premiered the heartbreaking title track. The singer-songwriter shows off his knack for creating catchy hooks and choruses and tugging at the listener’s heartstrings. Everywhere But On” is Stell’s take on dealing with heartbreak, and struggling to move on, exclaiming I’ve moved everywhere, but on.” The intriguing wordplay mixed with the entertainer’s raspy undertones is the perfect combination for this break-up song.
Stell recently released his Prayed for You,” and the song is climbing the charts. It’s a track he wrote with two of his best music friends — Allison Veltz and Ash Bowers. Although it’s about a relationship, it’s ultimately about more than that.
Singer-songwriter Matt Stell, whose single Prayed for You” is currently climbing charts, has announced details for his new EP. Titled Everywhere but On, the seven-track collection will be released via Sony Music Nashville on May 24th.
Packing in radio visits with folks that have a passion for music is going to be a lot of my summer and fall. I get to jump on tour with a few of my artists buddies. I can’t really say much about that yet but that’s going to be fun. Playing these festivals is going to be a blast. Hopefully watching my song hit new folks’ ears and seeing how they respond to that is going to be really exciting as well. I’m just taking it as it comes now because it’s kind of a whirlwind.
Matt Stell recently joined the Golic & Wingo show on ESPN 2 and ESPN Radio to talk all things music and the 2019 NBA Draft. For more information on Matt, including his tour schedule, check out at and find him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube @MattStellMusic.
Though inspired by time he spent as a student on a medical mission to Haiti, Stell realized when he reached that crossroads that music was the path he was destined to follow. He made the move to Music City around 2014, rented a room from a friend for a while, started playing writer rounds and eventually was signed with Wide Open Music. Headed by songwriters Ash Bowers and Steve Williams, the management firm guided and supported Stell as he stepped decisively down the road — the right road — toward what he now knows he always really wanted.
The episode will feature a performances of his song Prayed for You,” which has been streamed more than 23 million times on Spotify. Matt is the fist artist to reach No. 1 with a debut single since Jimmie Allen’s Best Shot” in November 2018.