Nashville Music Guide’s Artists to Watch 2024

Artists to Watch #3

At times, an artist may seem anachronistically placed, as though their creative essence would have been better suited to a bygone epoch, or conversely, they may appear to have been destined to pioneer future artistic landscapes. Such is the case with Warner Music Nashville’s latest signee, Matt Schuster. A social media sensation turned major-label artist, Schuster embodies the zeitgeist with his innovative artistic direction. His fervor is directed towards the overlooked intersections of genres, blending emotive songwriting with the revered resonance of classic rock, and intertwining it with the grandeur and vigor of contemporary pop. His compositions breathe new life into a sound and aesthetic that have largely been neglected in Nashville and elsewhere—a situation that is anticipated to be short-lived.

Schuster’s style—a synthesis of sincerity and electrifying dynamism—is what he dubs the new school of “country rock”. Although it may appear slightly asynchronous, Schuster is convinced that his position in the musical sphere is both deliberate and timely. With a foundation of online followers and a succession of digital successes, Schuster ventures into the music industry with a fearless approach to his unique form of sonic artistry. His works are as introspective as they are dynamic; he is a purveyor of high-octane vocals and intricate lyrical narratives that weave cinematic stories rooted in the grit of the American heartland.

Hailing from a quintessential small town in Southern Illinois, Schuster found ample inspiration in his surroundings. His close-knit community presented a dichotomy of carefree youth and the stark realities of rural life, experiences that would later infuse his compelling, self-composed tracks that explore the complexities of the human condition in all its disordered splendor.

Schuster’s familial lineage contributed significantly to his musical development. His grandmother, an opera vocalist, imparted her flair for vocal drama, while his grandfather, a virtuoso capable of playing every woodwind instrument and an educator at the University of Illinois, bestowed a classical depth to his understanding of music. When coupled with his father’s affinity for iconic rock musicians such as the Eagles, Dire Straits, Jim Croce, and Billy Joel—alongside an upbringing steeped in country music—Schuster’s artistic identity was primed for a transformative encounter with the work of Keith Urban, which captivated him from a young age.

Drawing on Urban’s innovative spirit, Schuster began his musical explorations in his high school years, integrating influences ranging from Toby Keith to Ed Sheeran, and from Shawn Mendes to Justin Bieber. His initial forays into performance quickly garnered local acclaim, and an early adoption of social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok propelled his music to a wider audience. What began with covers and lyrical snippets evolved into original compositions that resonated deeply with listeners.

At the age of 22, having barely ventured beyond his hometown, Schuster experienced a surge in online engagement, which catapulted him into discussions with industry executives. With the release of his Back Road Covers EP in 2022, Schuster demonstrated his musical range through renditions of “Vienna” by Billy Joel and “Ophelia” by the Lumineers, while also previewing the power of his vocal talent.

His debut with Warner Music Nashville heralds a collection replete with evocative narratives and robust country-rock sensibilities. The lead single “Tell Me Tennessee” exemplifies Schuster’s approach, marrying a classic romantic motif with the energy of heartland rock, fortified by compelling vocal performances.

Meanwhile, his recent co-writes like “Last Fall” and “Left Me In the Dusk” push Schuster further out into no-man’s land, mixing vivid lyrics and poetic imagery with the epic electricity powering his revived country-rock vision. The density and dynamism of his music demand attentive listening, echoing the sentiment of the esteemed songwriter Don Schlitz: “Never underestimate the listener’s intelligence.”

As he embarks on tours with notable artists like Kameron Marlowe, Dylan Scott, Ashley Cooke and Brantley Gilbert and showcases his music to an ever-expanding audience, amassing over 140 million global streams, Schuster is poised to cement his presence in the country music genre. His path has always felt predestined, and now he endeavors to demonstrate the reasons for his inevitable ascent.

Label: Warner Music Nashville
Hometown: Charleston, Illinois
Current City: Nashville, Tennessee
Hot Release(s): ” Left Me In The Dusk”; “Last Fall”; “Tell Me Tennessee”
Musical Influences:  Keith Urban, Toby Keith, Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendez, Justin Beiber
If You Like: Warren Zeiders, Kameron Marlowe, Keith Urban
KEEP UP WITH MATT SCHUSTER: Tiktok: @its.matt.schuster
Instagram: @MattSchuster
X: @itsmattschuster

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