The passage of time is a common theme in the lyrics of several of Matt VanFossen’s songs. He touched upon it on his debut release several years ago but really drives the point home on the newly released I Didn’t Come Here to Lose.
“For me, (the album) is about a journey from pain and rejection to personal growth and determination. Everyone has lost someone they love, and everyone has felt that they weren’t good enough at one time or another,” he says. “This CD reflects the journey we go through in life.”
Matt currently has a regional hit with the album’s first single, “A Woman’s Words.” The single has been added to country station Froggy 103.5 in Pittsburgh and regularly hits the Top Request list. It was also listed as one of the Top 25 fan voted songs on Nashville based Internet radio station NIXA.
“A woman’s words are complicated, they’re easily misinterpreted. You really didn’t hear what you thought you heard. Will man ever understand a woman’s words?”
- “A Woman’s Words”
After one listen to the new CD, it’s clear that Matt’s music is bigger than his home state of Ohio. In fact, Nashville may have found its newest red head. Watch out Reba and Wynonna! From “Almost Stopped Dreaming” to “Leave Me,” all the way to the title track “I Didn’t Come Here to Lose; Matt tells the story of a life in transition. That’s something we can all relate to and the passionate performer easily connects to listeners.
“Remember this guy’s name because you’ll be hearing a lot more of it in the future,” says Jim Elliott of Ohio Valley’s WOVK Radio.
Matt has traveled far since his first album Any Road Will Get You There grabbed attention in late 2009. He had a regional hit with “Time Ain’t What It Used To Be.” The song made it to #76 on WOVK’s 2010 year end countdown and he was named the second most played local artist. In addition, “Are You Ever Gonna Love Me” spent seven weeks at #1 on Cashbox Independent Country Singles chart on WTCR in Ashland, Kentucky. The success of the singles led to a string of performances at Jamboree in the Hills where Matt performed to a crowd of more than 80,000 people.
“It was absolutely surreal,” Matt says of his Jamboree performances. “As an Ohio valley native, singing on that stage is a goal every vocalist dreams of.”
Unfortunately, tragedy and triumph often arrive at the same time. As Matt’s career began to take off in 2010, his beloved mother Dot passed away suddenly due to a stroke. Her death was jolting and almost caused him to give up on his dreams. He recalls feeling broken after leaving the hospital and contemplating the end to his blossoming career.
“…But then I turned on the radio and my song was playing. Then, I knew in my heart that was a sign from Mom to keep doing this,” he says.
After having that revelation, his music career became a way of honoring his mother. Matt says he’s been through a lot of changes personally since his mother’s death and the release of his first album.
“I didn’t realize how true the lyrics for “Time Ain’t What It Used to Be” were going to be for me. So, personally, I’ve learned not to take things for granted. Appreciate what you have and the people who are in your life. Time is not guaranteed,” he says.
Performing has always been in his genes. In fact, he credits his great grandmother for his love of country music. Matt fondly remembers relaxing on her porch while listening to the iconic Grand Ole Opry on the radio. He took that passion for country music to a new level when he began entering competitions such as the Colgate Country Showdown, and Wheeling Island Idol. He also auditioned for TV’s Nashville Star and became a regional finalist.
Whether he’s performing in front of 100 or 80, 0000, Matt’s live shows are a spectacle. He tends to use every bit of the space he’s given to make sure he connects with the audience. His energy is undeniable and the passion shines through.
“It’s all about having fun. Music is definitely life. It has to do with the ups and downs, bad times, and good times,” he explains. “There’s always a song or a message that comes out in any song that I do.”