Chase Matthew: The Journey From Cruising Jason Aldean's Bar In A Truck Bed To Touring With His Hero

Chase Matthew's six-song EP, "We All Grow Up," is out now. He'll tour with Jason Aldean this year.

Chase Matthew's life has played out in scenes as if he were starring in an after-school special about perseverance, chasing dreams and redemption.

A Nashville-area native, Matthew grew up in a family of preachers who would have been thrilled had he fallen in line behind them. But he made poor choices as a teen. His situation got dire when Matthew's best friend was murdered. He dropped out of school, dabbled in rap music, developed a drug problem and was homeless by the time he was 19 years old.

About eight years later, Matthew has accumulated 930 million streams, is signed to a major label record deal at Warner Music Nashville, was named "One to Watch" by HITS, is a member of MusicRow's Next Big Thing Class of 2024 and is part of Opry Nextstage Class of 2024. He released his sophomore album, the 25-song strong "Come Get Your Memory" in 2023. The collection is home to his current Top 20 single "Love You Again," and Matthew recently released his new six-song EP "We All Grow Up." He just extended his headlining tour and is about to play shows with Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan.

"Because of my background, I just can't even believe I'm getting these opportunities," Matthew says.

It's a big jump for the 26 year old who remembers wearing a stuffed panda head as a teenager, climbing in a truck bed and cruising Lower Broadway directly in front of the buildings that now house Aldean's bar and restaurant and Bryan's 32 Bridge.

"It was one of the big heads like you'd see Chuck E. Cheese," he recalls, laughing. "We were riding down Broadway, and I was vibing in a panda head. Everyone was pointing and taking pictures of me as a panda. It was so funny!

Matthew and his friends weren't old enough to get into bars so he says  they wanted to "raise Hell in our straight pipe trucks."

"It was fun, for sure," he says. "Now we're on signs in front of those buildings. It's kinda crazy."

Last week, he drove by to take pictures of his name on the sign in front of Aldean's bar.

Aldean's Highway Desperado Tour launches in May with Matthew as support along with Lauren Alaina, Hailey Whitters, Austin Snell and DJ Silver. Matthew calls the tour opportunity "a dream come true."

It's a far cry from the truck bed – or the young 20-something in jeans and a t-shirt who ambled into ONErpm in 2021 with his independent record label heads from Holler Boy Records to solidify a collaborative business deal. Matthew had 65,000 followers on social media, about 4 million streams and far less than 1 million views on YouTube. Independent country artist Ryan Upchurch fronted Holler Boy Records, and Upchurch swaggered to the couch boasting about his fast cars and exploits with women. When Upchurch's stories wound down, the men posed for a contract signing photo, and Matthew's six-song EP, "County Line," came out later that month.

One year later, "County Line" became Matthew's first gold record. His partnership with Warner Music Nashville was announced a few weeks later. By that time, the singer had collected 360 million streams.

"Chase's mix of rebellion and reverence is what drew us to him," Cris Lacy, co-president of Warner Music Nashville, said at the time. "The impact he has on his mass of loyal fans comes from music and messages that are unapologetically redemptive and put him squarely in the center of this format's most authentic storytellers."

Matthew co-wrote four of the six songs on his "We All Grow Up" and 18 of the 25 songs on "Come Get Your Memory."

When he bought his first house, Matthew was inspired to write "We All Grow Up." He wanted to put a studio in the home immediately and quickly started renovations. He says it is "an old house built in the '90s" and explains that it even had carpet in the bathrooms. He left the carpet intact to focus on the music studio, and as soon as his creative space was half finished, Matthew co-wrote "We All Grow Up."

"It talks about how some of us went left, some of us went right, some of us went north and some of us definitely went south," he says. "Life is what you make of it. And I believe that what you take, the things you do growing up, you take with you, and it makes you who you are today. That's what that song's about."

Matthew co-wrote "Dirt Road Does" with Brock Berryhill, Jaxson Free, Dylan Marlowe and Taylor Phillips. They were supposed to write a different song that day, but Phillips called and shared the idea. The men pounced on it immediately.

"I was like, 'Oh my God, we got to write it right now,'" Matthew says. "He pulls up, and in 20 minutes, we wrote the whole song."

Matthew even thinks Aldean had it on hold for a while but admits he "might be wrong about that."

He wrote "Makin' You Miss Me" with Alex Maxwell on Matthew's tour bus and penned "Darlin'" with Maxwell, Hunter Huff and Ciaran Wilkie when they were in a casino in the Midwest.

He co-penned his current Top 20 hit, "Love You Again," with Phillips and Casey Brown. Matthew describes the song as "provocative" and explains that it "talks about something we've all done." But he doesn't want to say the three-letter s word.

"My mama wouldn't like me to do that," he says.

Regardless, he believes it "feels like an anthem.

 "The fans are definitely finding their favorite lines in the song to just sing as loud as they can," he says.  "Everybody leaves remembering that song. It's definitely a party."

Matthew is the man who never forgets a name and is always quick with a hug and a thank you. He has an easy, wide smile and the determination of a young person who hopes he has already lived the hardest days of his life. Before this tour, he always told people Aldean was his dream collaboration. He says that to get the call that he was going to tour with Aldean was more than he could process.

"You find yourself in a daze sometimes in your day-to-day life," Matthew says. "And then you have to snap out and look around and realize what you're doing, where you're at. I'm in a daze all the time ever since, and it feels like a dream. It's definitely a good feeling, and the closer we get to it, the more the butterflies start churning up in my stomach."

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