Matt Stell accomplishes a rare feat this week, arriving at number one on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart with his debut single, “Prayed for You.”
Take one look at the six-foot-seven Arkansas native and it’s no surprise he played college basketball. In fact, were it not for his time on the court for Drury University, Matt might have never launched his country career.
“When you’re playing college basketball, you have to stay on campus for the whole winter break,” he explains. “There’s no school. Nobody’s on campus. And if you’re not traveling at an away game, all you do is practice, and that leaves lots of other hours.”
“I got tired of playing PlayStation with my teammates,” he recalls, “and my mom had got[ten] me this guitar when I was like twelve, and she brought it up to a home game when I asked her to.”
From there, Matt got right to mastering the acoustic.
“I just sat in front of my computer and started learning old country songs, kinda to pass the time, in a way. And I started writing songs just pretty quickly after I could mash four chords together. And it did something special for me,” he tells ABC Audio.
The Everywhere But On singer sees more similarities between hoops and harmony than you might expect.
“Working hard and being motivated to get good at a craft is definitely something I identify with,” Matt says. “Playing in a band is a lot like being on a team, and the travel is very similar. And just dealing with folks and performing under a spotlight [are] definitely some parallels.”
Just ask Sam Hunt, Chase Rice, Chris Lane, Jake Owen, or Garth Brooks and they’ll likely agree. They all come from sports backgrounds as well.
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