Matt Kennon Interview
Matt Kennon-Electric Music Magazine Interview
How much has your friends and family played a part in your career so far?
Oh, so much. My dad bought my first set of drums back in1984 and they put me in the lessons, have always been real supportive and encouraging of my music career. Through the peaks and the valleys, it’s always been family that kept me grounded.
When did you decide that a career in music was for you?
When I was about 21, 22 but it took until I was about 25-26 before I would actually act on it.
Who are your musical inspirations and why?
I would say anything from the 80s, it’s just what I grew up listening to, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Travis Tritt, Tracy Lawrence, Tim McGraw. Their music just really did it for me, I like Rock and I like Country and I think what’s different about me is even though I like to rock, my voice is really Southern and Country so it’s kind of my own little style.
Can you tell me three things about yourself that people might not already know?
Yeah, that I’m about 65 to 70 percent of my body is tattooed and has been for many many years. Let’s see..I was adopted, I think a lot of people may know that by now. I’m Native American and French. Actually, I used to work in corporate America, suit and tie.
What song of yours best describes you and why?
The Man I Used To Be, it’s a song I wrote and it was all about the things I’d been through in my life, the fact that I couldn’t be the man I am today had I not been through the things I had been through.
What has been the best gig you have done to date and why?
Man, there’s so many. There’s one I’ve been playing recently down in Vortex Springs, Florida, in Ponce de Leon, just a really cool place. It’s scuba diving, basically a landmark of a natural spring with caves. We get to entertain there we’ve done Bama Jams with 75,000 people and we opened up for Kenny Chesney, and the Grand Ole Opry, for sure.
If you could perform a gig at any venue, where would it be and why?
I would like to play a stadium, that’s something I haven’t done is play a big major stadium with a major artist. So maybe Madison Square Garden or something like that would be really cool.
What has been your best achievement to date and what would you like to achieve in the future?
I would say my debut album. Not only did I write a lot of the songs and co-write songs, I co-produced the album and it debuted at number one on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart so that was a big deal for me. I’d like to have a number one hit on Country Radio, whether I write it or not and I would like to have quite a few of them and being able to work the rest of my life playing music.
Tell me a story about backstage or after a gig?
Well I guy pulled a gun on my one time because I wouldn’t let his wife come back and hang out with the band backstage which I thought was pretty crazy. That was in Post Falls Idaho.
What do you like best about being a musician and why?
You know it’s really an outlet for me, it’s therapeutic and I think music is a way of expressing sometimes what’s going on inside of you and it’s got to come out. Music seems to be my therapy and my outlet.
If you were not in the job you are now, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be in sales of some sort. I’ve always been in sales, I like working with people and I certainly like selling some type of thing I believe in which is, I guess, why I am in music. I believe in it.
What is the best gig you’ve been to as a fan and what can you tell us about it?
I’ve been to some great concerts, from the Third Days, Survivor, in 1984 that’s what really got me fired up. You know my family and I, we’d always go to Bluegrass festivals and things like that so I just loved being around good music. Travis Tritt, Hank Jr., saw all those guys. Doug Stone is one of the best. Tim McGraw, George Strait.
What would your ideal festival line up be and why?
I’d like to bring back some of the artists that have passed on, like Lynyrd Skynyrd. I was supposed to do a show with Tim McGraw one time that might be cool to do one with him somewhere along the way. I’d like to play like the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, that’s be really cool, holds 5000-6000 people.
What would you say is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
My dad told me, you can choose your sin but not your consequences.
What things make you happy and what things annoy you?
Things that annoy me, people buying lottery tickets at the gas station, in front of me, that drives me absolutely crazy. I love spending time with family and just love anything outdoors and in Nature, anything that’s peaceful these days.
What things do you like to do when you’re away from music?
I like to get out on the water, lakes, rivers, ride my four wheeler. Spend time with my girlfriend. My little dog, Roadie and my daughter.
Do you think social media and the internet are a good thing in the music industry and how do you cope with using social media to build a profile in music?
When I first started, social media was really starting to come onto the scene and back in the day my record label handled all that for me and over the last four or five years I’ve really had to handle it all myself. I think the more I’ve got to know about it I think it evens the playing field. It really helps get your music out there and I think it’s a lot of different things. Social media brings awareness and engages your fans and helps you keep the ones that you have but at the end of the day, Country radio is still the way to reach the masses.
How important do you think your look and image is when it comes to doing music in this industry?
You know it’s funny everybody always thought I looked more like a Rock guy than a Country guy but I think that’s when I started out in 2007 and 2008 and it seems to be the norm now so I think image is important. You don’t see a lot of guys out there like the Dwight Yokems and the Marty Stuarts, the Dollys that have that image. I think in today’s climate it’s just a lot of just good ole boy singers and you don’t see too many hat acts anymore. I still think image is a big part of it, I really do.
Can you tell us about any tattoos that you have and the significance of them to you?
I have one that seems to connect and go everywhere but it’s pretty much my life story and just things that meant something to me. I knew if I was going to get a tattoo it had to be something I would never regret. Every one of them has a different meaning and they all mean something to me.
If you ran the country for a day, what would you change about it and why?
You know I would just try to spread the love. I think the world needs a little more love out there.
What would your ideal day consist of?
Get up eat breakfast, drink coffee and go sit out by the river somewhere, some restaurant on the water. Maybe go for a ride on the boat. I always liked being on the beach, eating crab legs and oysters.
Can you tell us as much as you can about any new releases, gigs or anything else coming soon?
We’ve got another song that I recorded with Paul Worley that’s coming after Love Is Stronger, called Damn Small Town and it’s more of an up tempo rocking song. I know a lot of my songs have been ballads but we’ve got a lot of rocking stuff we just haven’t got to yet. So we’ve got a lot of that coming and we’ve got songs that we even released in the past that we might re-release now.
If you could say something to your fans, what would it be and why?
Thank y’all so much, without you guys I am nothing and as long as you keep downloading and streaming and supporting us, we’ll keep making music.
How would you answer the question, who is Matt Kennon?
Matt Kennon is a guy that had a dream and probably has more guts than he does brains and actually just took off for Music City and wouldn’t take no for an answer. So here we are.
What was the first record or song that you purchased and why?
The first cassette I ever bought was Quiet Riot’s Mental Health, that just did it for me and the first album I ever had was the Eagles, In The Long Run. The second was Smoky and The Bandit soundtrack. So if you take those three and wrap them up, you’ve got my music.
What would you say to someone thinking about becoming a musician and getting into the music industry?
Don’t do it for the money, do it because you can’t see yourself doing anything else. It’s just one of those things that you really have to make a lot of sacrifices and sometimes give up a lot and you may or may not ever achieve the level of success you hope for but just being on the playing field is really all you can hope for.
If you could collaborate with one other band or singer who would you choose and why?
I’ve actually always wanted to write with Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue. I’ve been a big fan of his writing and his marketing and I think now that he’s doing a lot of opioid epidemic awareness stuff that and with our new video Love Is Stronger it might be kind of cool to collaborate with somebody like that. We’ve worked with Survivor and Mark Slaughter and several other guys.
If you could have written one song from history, which would it have been and why?
I wish I had written Live Like You Were Dying because I think that’s just such a wonderful message and I think that’s the kind of song to me that is one of those that you’re like, wow it’s so iconic multi-mega hit.
What things make you uncomfortable?
Getting old. Just going through life you know. Doing a new project, you never know how it’s going to be received and sometimes we, being close to it, are our own worst critic or we may believe in it maybe more than other people.
If you wrote a book about yourself, what would it have in it?
It would have a lot, a lot of pages! I don’t know, there’s always been a lot of trying times but I always tell people, you know I’ve made it through life and been in places and came out unscathed. Momma praying for me I guess got me through life.
What does 2019 have in store for you?
Hopefully a big ole hit on Country Radio. We’re just getting started back on Music Choice and we’re back on some radio stations out there and we have a new video. We’d like to see this song land in on the major terrestrial radio and be back putting out records every 9 to 12 months, singles. So 2019 so far has been a good year, let’s just hope 2020 and on is good to us as well.