Matt Stell Reflects On His Journey To Nashville

Newcomer Matt Stell wasted no time putting his stamp on the country music genre. His debut single, “Prayed For You,”…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

August 1, 2019


7:44 am

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Matt Stell; Photo by Matthew Berinato

Newcomer Matt Stell wasted no time putting his stamp on the country music genre. His debut single, “Prayed For You,” is absolutely blowing up, already reaching the Top 20 at country radio and amassing 61 million digital streams (and counting!).

Surprisingly, the Arkansas native, who stands a whopping 6′ 7″, didn’t pick up the guitar until he was in college. It was at that point that he had to make a major life decision: continue his education in Cambridge, MA where he was accepted into Harvard University’s Extension School Pre-Med program or head to Nashville and try his hand at a career in country music.

He chose the latter, and now, he’s proving to be one of country music’s hottest new artists.

“I feel like, if I was being honest with myself, knew that as soon as I picked up a guitar, that that’s what I wanted to do,” Stell explains in the clip below, premiering exclusively on Country Now. “Once I kind of figured out and admitted to myself, or kind of proved to myself that I could do it, I could play, I could write, I could sing, I knew that that’s what I wanted to do. And I knew there was gonna be a real steep learning curve because I picked it up sort of later than a lot of people do; I was in college before I really started.”

Stell left his med school dreams in his rearview and put in the work, never letting fear get in his way.

“I knew I was gonna have to work hard to play catch up but, man, I just always tried to do things, whether it was going to school, or having jobs that freed me up on nights and weekends, and days I would need to travel…I knew that if I could, I wanted to play music,” he says. “That’s what I want to do with my life.” 

Matt Stell’s hard work paid off. After moving to Nashville, he eventually caught the attention of Ash Bowers, who ultimately signed him to a publishing deal.

“The reason I moved to town happened,” Stell confessed. “My publishing company put out an EP and our plan was to make music that I believed in, that we believed in and try to grow that way. One of the songs on that initial EP was ‘Prayed for You’ and it started growing on its own and started resonating with people in a way that I had never experienced one of my songs doing.” 

“Prayed For You” has resonated with fans far and wide. As the song continues to climb the charts, Stell is just enjoying the ride.

“You could not script it. This would not be the way that you think it would ever happen, but it just did and does.”

For more with Matt Stell, check out the video clip above.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.