Not everything’s going to be perfect. There are days where I still go back and think to myself “oh it would have been really cool if this instrument was here or if we did this in the video instead of that.” Sometimes realizing that not everything’s going to be perfect brings peace and it allows you to do your absolute best and then leave the rest to other things.
As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Matt Cooper.
For viral country sensation Matt Cooper, music has always been a prominent part of the singer’s upbringing. While adapting a cutting-edge marketing technique, the 20-year-old Jacksonville, Florida native’s popularity has skyrocketed over the last year. Following a string of multiple viral videos on the social platform Tik Tok, Cooper has used that momentum to drive his streaming numbers, with over 7.6 million streams on Spotify and an additional 2.7 million plays on Apple Music. The success stems from the self-penned viral anthem “Ain’t Met Us Yet” which blew up on Tik Tok, reaching a combined 22 million views. The result was a snowball effect, with the full song’s release hitting №1 on the iTunes all-genre chart upon its initial release. The official video for the track has also been viewed on Vevo an impressive 1.5 million times. It’s safe to say that the sky’s the limit for Cooper, who has even more surprises in-store, plus an engaging fanbase that continues to grow.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Sure thing. So I grew up really into sports and continued playing sports up until college, and for me, sports was really my entire life. Especially baseball, I remember days just going out to the ball field to go play catch with my dad sometimes, it was awesome. It wasn’t until probably middle school when I started actually getting into music. One day I remember my mom playing the piano at my grandma’s house and I just sort of got really intrigued and I remember going home that day and trying to learn a bunch of songs on the piano. Everything from Ed Sheeran to James Blunt to Shawn Mendes. Because obviously, my tactic was that if I can sing Shawn Mendes for the middle school girls, I would be the coolest kid in school hands down, haha. But anyway, I just started learning more and more piano and eventually got into the acoustic guitar, and that became like 2nd nature to me, I just remember staying up hours and hours playing my guitar and singing songs with just 4 chords, it was crazy. And now I look back and I’m so blessed that I had the opportunity to pursue music and actually start learning it because it brought me to the place where I am today.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Of course. So really I started writing songs my freshman year of college. I remember just sitting in my college dorm one night and I think I wrote five or six songs in like three hours and I was like, “what the heck did I just do.” I had never written so much in my life or stayed up as late as I did that night. I’m an early sleeper so you can imagine what was going through my mind. But anyway, I started singing back these songs the next few days and I started realizing that these songs were actually pretty good, so I managed to save enough money to finally take a trip to Nashville to get these songs recorded. And I’m telling you as soon as I stepped into that studio with my mom and dad, I just knew that this was something I wanted to make a part of my life and hopefully my full-time job. Since that Nashville trip, I’ve probably written about 60 songs and am still working on some more.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Probably the coolest thing that’s happened so far was waking up on April 23rd of this year and seeing my song at №1 on the iTunes charts. It was an absolutely crazy feeling that really stemmed from a viral Tik Tok that I made just in my car singing my song. It is amazing how Tik Tok is helping a lot of music artists and I’ve been super blessed to be a part of that small piece.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Haha. Okay so let me first say that I have made a BUNCH of mistakes so far but it’s definitely helped me learn a lot. I remember the very first song that I released was a song called “Make You Mine.” Now keep in mind, I thought that when I released this song that it was just going to blow up and I was going to become the next Shawn Mendes. Turns out, it really doesn’t work like that. There is indeed a huge business behind each and every song that people really don’t see behind the scenes. So in order to save money, I ended up trying to produce and mix and master all my songs myself, which wasn’t probably the best idea since I really didn’t know what I was doing at the time. But hey, it saved me money. So I ended up releasing an entire EP with songs that I produced from my bedroom and let me just say, they were terrible! If I had to do it again, I would have waited to get them professionally sounding. But the cool part is that I’ve noticed that with every new song I release, each song is getting better and better, and my producing is also getting better and better as well, which is a cool thing to see.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Well, I’m really not supposed to say much but I can say this. We are in the midst of coming out with another beautiful wedding song that I’m really proud of. And the music video is really cool as well. I had to learn a full dance routine for this next video coming out, and boy was it tough to learn. But I think it turned out really well and I’m excited to share it with the world. We are also working on something pretty exciting and extravagant that has some viral potential. It is an upbeat song that resonates with a very particular fan base, and that is all I’m going to say, haha.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Diversity is so crucial in any work environment but especially in entertainment as well, because everything you’re trying to share creatively has one goal, to touch your audience in some way, whether it be emotionally, spiritually, etc. And the truth is that you really can’t do it by yourself, you need to have different minds to come up with new ideas, see new angles, etc. So to answer your question I would say 3 reasons why diversity is important is: 1.) New Ideas/ Angles 2.) You can’t do it alone 3.) To integrate some sort of emotion with your audience. All those things are super important when putting together and displaying a project.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Don’t compare yourself to other people. Especially in the music industry, it is so easy to see someone else my age having success and me trying to constantly catch up to them, it’s exhausting. Being able to understand that there is a time for everything is valuable.
- 10000 hours. You really have to put in the work and be constantly working on your craft, whether that be writing a song everyday or practicing guitar. The more and more you practice, the better you’ll become.
- Be nice to your parents. My mom and dad are my rock stars and they support me in everything that I do. Whether you have a good or bad relationship with your parents, it doesn’t take any extra effort to be kind and thank them from time to time.
- Not everything’s going to be perfect. There are days where I still go back and think to myself “oh it would have been really cool if this instrument was here or if we did this in the video instead of that.” Sometimes realizing that not everything’s going to be perfect brings peace and it allows you to do your absolute best and then leave the rest to other things.
- Have fun. This business is VERY stressful and demanding. I’ll be in my room sometimes just overthinking about everything, trying to write a new song, and just be pacing back and forth trying to think of a concept. Have fun. It’s a lot more fun when you do what you love with the people you love also, so surround yourself with good people too.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
It’s okay to take breaks, appreciate the little things, and surround yourself with good people. If you do those things, you won’t ever burn out because you’ll be doing what you love everyday.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Wow. What a great question. I think simply put, just learn to love each and every person. You never know how much a compliment means to someone. And once you start showing love to one person and pouring everything you got into them, they are going to do the same for others, and it will eventually create this chain reaction of a world filled with unconditional love for one another. I think that would be pretty cool.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are a lot of people I’m super thankful for but I’d be a fool not to say that I really do believe that I have God to thank for where I am. And not to get too preachy here, but I do believe He has a plan for every single person and that everything that happens in my life and other’s lives happens for a reason and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. Trust me, It’s not all sunshine and rainbows all the time, but knowing that I have a friend to help guide me along the way is sort of reassuring.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I have a lot of life lesson quotes but something really cool that I like to think about whenever I’m shooting a video or writing a song is this… If somehow, someway, this song or video can touch someone’s heart in a way that it changes their life for the better, then it will all be worth it. I say that to my team every time we begin a shoot or begin a write and just having that mindset leads the way into some really cool and inspiring things.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Hands down Ed Sheeran. I think Ed just seems like the most humble guy with all the success that he has had. I think our minds think alike in the way that we work hard and really do try and put our all in everything we write. I also think a lot of my music is influenced by me growing up and listening to all of his stuff so I think it would be pretty cool to pick his brain a bit.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can follow me on all the social media platforms by searching for my username, @realmattcooper . I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, youtube, Tik Tok, all of them. Also be on the lookout for the “Ain’t Met Us Yet Digital Experience” which is now available!
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!
Thanks so much for having me!