Matt Stell Trades Basketball Court for Billboard Chart

CMT Hot 20 Talks to "Prayed for You" Singer

Matt Stell scored a slam dunk this year with “Prayed for You,” a love song that spent two weeks at No. 1 at Billboard’s country airplay chart. The Arkansas native spoke with CMT Hot 20 Countdown correspondent Ashley ShahAhmadi about his breakout success.

Editor’s Note: Matt Stell appears this weekend on CMT Hot 20 Countdown, which airs 9/8c on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

CMT: You had an unconventional start, I guess you could say, to get to where you are. Can you explain how you got to Nashville?

M: Yeah. I feel like everybody’s story is a little bit different, but mine’s definitely got some twists and turns. It really started when I was playing basketball in college [at Drury College in Springfield, Missouri]. As you probably know, it’s a winter sport. So you’re on campus the whole winter break. I was tired of playing PlayStation with my teammates.

So my mom got me this guitar when I was 12 and I asked her to bring it up to a home game. I sat in front of my computer screen in the dorm room, learning how to play off of tab websites, old country songs and blues songs and whatever. Southern rock, bluegrass, whatever you play on acoustic guitar. By the time I could play four chords, I started writing songs and eventually that got us here.

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