Mat Kearney quotes and sayings
December 1, 1978
I'm a '90s music kid.
There's this song called 'Brad Chester,' which is like the depths of my family. It comes from a very personal place.
I can't help but do things my own way.
Songs really tend to connect.
The criticism people could have of my music maybe is that it's somewhat schizophrenic at times. And if you don't like that, it could bother you.
I think my faith is a huge part of my music. But for me, it didn't make sense to be in any specific market. I write songs for a lot of different kinds of people.
You write these songs which are really dear to you about your family or friends, loved ones, and then you get this call, and they say, 'It's perfect for two vampires making out in the back of a car.' It's some random TV show, and so I say, 'Oh, yeah, perfect - that's what I meant it for.'.
It's silly to throw things out or label things. You know, is U2 a Christian band, or was Johnny Cash a Christian country singer? I don't know, but they're pretty open about their faith.
Life's too short to stay where we are.
I do know great books help shape who I am and how I look at life.
I played soccer. I was really known as an athlete. It was a shock to people that I was doing music. They thought it was really odd.
I never wanted to be on an exclusively Christian label.
I love to play the songs that got me to where I am. I like to take a little bit from all of my records and mix it up.
My goal is to try to avoid a genre.
I had the lyric 'Chip Don't Go' and a few words, and my wife came in and said that it sounded like a good song. I thought I'd finish writing it up and posting it to YouTube. I didn't realize it was going to take off like it did.
If you make people think they're thinking they'll like you, but if you make people actually think, then watch out, you're not going to be popular.
When we tour, there's always this unique quality to every town you visit... Touring, you get a sense of a collective identity for different cities. That's one of the things I love about my job.
I've always sought to get after something that's foundational in people. That comes through my faith, through my belief in life, through trying to hit something that's true every time. I think that's really where you move people, when you touch on something that's true, that's not based on fluff or based on a moment or a movement.
Growing up in Eugene, Oregon, there was everything from The Notorious B.I.G. to Weezer playing in my car.
I was always into poetry and writing. So the urgency of spoken word is something that really has always appealed to me.
I would sit in my dorm room and write songs. I loved it. I was learning to sing and play guitar. I was becoming a musician. I was the beginner who somehow could write a song.
The first record blew up and sold really well. 'City of Black & White' didn't sell as well, and that's when you wonder, 'Did I peak already?'.
With 'City of Black & White,' I wanted a record that would make you feel good, that would sort of take you up in its hand and sweep you along.
Generally, the songs that are the scariest ones are the ones that people connect to.
Being from Oregon, it's part of who I am.
For my father, he didn't know what 'Grey's Anatomy' was. He didn't know who John Mayer was. But when I showed up on the 'Law & Order' TNT promo spot, he thought, 'Wow, my son has made it.'.
I grew up in Oregon, so there was always a lot of that folksy, Bob Marley stuff. There was a mural of Bob Marley on a wall at my high school.
It's a job, and it's challenging. But I love music and creating. That's why I got into music.
The first year I moved to Nashville, I started playing these songwriter nights with people like Nickel Creek, Duncan Sheik, and even Ryan Adams... That was the first place I really started playing music, and I had to really step up my game. Really quick. Or get kicked off the stage.
I've had moments in my career when I've made more money and had more success than at other times, but I've realized being happy has very little to do with any of that.
I love Bruce Springsteen's writing, but I grew up on '90s hip hop, like Tribe Called Quest.
I am not an evangelist. I am not a preacher. I am a musician. That is what I know how to do. I know how to write songs. I know how to write things that relate to my heart. I feel that I talk about God in every song, in everything I do - all of it! I really do not know how to respond. I do not relate to that.
When I barely got into college, the one thing I could do was write, so I became an English major.
It's been awesome going indie. I don't need to be on a major label. I love not having to walk into a specific radio person's office to try to convince someone to play my songs. At the end of the day, it's more work, but I've discovered that I like to get my hands dirty.
The stories that are too personally vulnerable to write are the ones that must be told.
Ultimately, when you write from a vantage point of faith, humility, and openness to the world around you, people have to respond because those same truths are instilled in them.
I've never been one to learn scales and do exercises. Maybe I'm lazy, but I just don't take to that kind of thing. Learning other people's songs is enjoyable, and my fingers tend to go to new places because I'm not playing my music, the stuff that comes naturally to me.
I think I have always made really beat-driven pop-rock records.
Hopefully, reading and being around great literature inspires me to write songs, but I'm not sure about that.
'City Of Black And White' was me trying to do something more mature, more adult contemporary.
My songs have a layer of melancholy.
Owl City is exactly as you'd imagine him. It's hard to have much on him. He's like a frightened bunny. I feel like if you yelled at him, he'd just dart to a corner of the room.
I read about two reviews early on when my first record came out, and it just freaked me out, good and bad, so I've never really kept up with that side of it.
I think you can hear all my hip hop influences in 'Just Kids.'.
There's a truth to the fact that it's hard to be real. It's easy to be indulgent. It's easy to be bubble gum, but it's hard to find a real thing that really makes your soul tick. It's painful and honest. It can be more challenging than just a sad song.
I think one of the things that I carry, and just my goals in life, is just encourage people and make them feel joy and celebrated and they leave feeling like maybe there was stuff talked about that was difficult, but then there was a voice of redemption and grace in the middle of that.
My artistic goal was to write something that's one hundred percent real and true to me and to this world. I tried to touch on truths that really connect with people from every avenue of life. Ultimately, when you write from a vantage point of faith, humility and openness to the world around you, people have to respond because those same truths are instilled in them. Honestly, I don't have any agenda other than being sincere, real, and passionate about these songs and the music I make.
I guess we're all one phone call from our knees.
From my experience, I've been honest about who I am and what I believe and the motivation behind my music. But I've played it in arenas that are for all people. I've pretty much stuck to that model my whole career.
I never play all new stuff, because you got to "dance with the girl that brought you" what is that saying? You got to play the songs that got you there, so I love playing the songs from my very first record.
You go to a Springsteen show, and half of the people are there to party and forget about their cares, and they're being drawn to this visceral experience. And then the other half, you know, has lived and died with his 'Nebraska' album and considers him one of the greatest poets.
More than any other instrument, the relationship between an acoustic guitar and a microphone is super-important. The kind of mics that you use and your placement of the mics to the guitar can radically alter your sound.
Well, I never made a record to be in the Christian market. So when I made my record it was to exist in all of the markets. I grew up not really listening to tons of Christian music and if I did it was in the context of all the other music I listened to. So when I made the record I definitely had plans and visions and dreams.
When I was in college, I wanted to study film. My first passion was to be a cinematographer. So maybe there's something innate in my music where it partners well with images.
Somehow, my music really suits doctors making out in the syringe room.
I started as a writer. I didn't play music until late in life.
I love what I do. I love playing music.
'Young Love' is about falling in love and dealing with your past so you can move forward. I wanted it to be a clear record.
I started writing music in a season of my life where people were telling me I wasn't defined by mistakes, and God really loved me and was fighting for me, and there was a journey to be had with that. And I don't know of a more important message.
When my first record came out, it was in the middle of the real Muse, Keane, British thing, and that beat-driven thing wasn't really that cool at the moment.
Songs like 'Learn To Love Again' and 'Rochester' and some of the more gut-wrenching ones deal with the pain of the younger times of your life... trying to make sense of some the stuff we probably all went through.
Even on tour, where I perform songs from 'City Of Black And White,' I still do songs from 'Nothing Left To Lose.' I never turned my back on that material. On some albums, you change - that's all. The trick is to follow your heart and do what feels right.
I enjoy changing; I think it's more fun to try something different than to just do what you did last time. As an artist, you just want to keep creating, keep finding a place that really inspires you that feels fresh and new, and keep it exciting.
It's not the circumstances that determine who you're gonna be but how you deal with these problems and pains that come your way.
God found me when I was at my lowest point. That was the first time in my life when I really felt like I understood who Jesus was - it was more than just knowing about Him: I felt like He met me in that time and place.
Trying to find a heart that's not walking away.
I think, in a lot of ways, hip-hop is interesting to me because it's like the modern-day folk music.
I've never shaped or crafted my music for any specific group of people. Whoever connects with it is fine with me. I don't care where they come from.
'Nothing Left to Lose' was an album that I wrote in my bedroom, and you don't know who is listening or who cares.
I don't think, to be a traveler, you have to reject setting roots up.
Getting married and really digging in with another human being can point out your greatest strengths and your greatest weaknesses.
I'm really influenced by '90s hip hop. A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul were my heroes growing up.
I thought my second record was good, but it didn't have that smash hit we did on the first one that somehow found its way onto tons of formats of radio stations.
Just because you've written a song doesn't mean that you have pulled through. There are definitely songs where I embodied someone else's pain and that was purely to serve the listener because I knew they needed to hear something. But most of the good stuff comes from my life.
I love creating. I am addicted to the drug of creation and creating things. I get a little depressed when I am struggling to find what I know is locked inside. If it's a lyric or something that is challenging me, I can be very depressed, but when it's like heaven opens up and it gives you a song, it's amazing. There's nothing else that I enjoy more probably.
There are people I love in Nashville and would not want to go a day without talking to, but I want to see the world.
My dad was a scratch golfer growing up. When I'm on the road, I always bring my clubs with me.
As my uncle always says, 'If your vibe outweighs your substance, you're destined to be a novelty.' I think that is true in all art.
I didn't start writing music until I was a sophomore in college. I would steal my roommate's guitar and sit on the front porch and kind of blend this weird spoken word and these little melodies over simple chords; that really started my whole journey as a musician.
Don't apologize for all the tears you've cried, you've been way too strong now for all your life.
I am a micromanager, and I love being involved in every detail of my life, but in the big picture, you realize how little control you have. 'Air I Breathe' is about those moments of surrender where you get to something that is bigger than you, and you don't have answers for it.
All of my acoustic playing came from my songwriting. All of the chords I've learned and all of the voicings I play them in are a direct result of composing.
Minneapolis has always been a very special place for me.
I think coming from the Northwest is something that's born in your blood. On my mom's side, I'm, like, a sixth-generation Oregonian. My family came over in the covered wagons, 'Oregon Trail'-video-game style. Maybe the pioneer mentality runs in my blood because they were all pioneers.
When I set out to write, I want to write something that will rip your heart out and connect with you. Great songs connect beyond genre and style.
The first album was literally the first 12 songs I've ever written.
I think the way I love talking about my faith is through my story because I think that's all we have to work with sometimes. I think it's the most moving way to share your story, too - is what you know, what you've seen and heard and tasted and felt.
Julie Anne Peters
Roy Jones Jr.
Robert W. Service
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