Matt Stell Talks ‘Breakin’ In Boots,’ And Shares How He Challenged Himself To Dig Deep On His Next Album
“I just really feel like I’ve been making the best music, the truest music that I ever have and I can’t wait for people to hear it,” Stell says.
Matt Stell continues to climb the charts at country radio with his newest single, “Breakin’ In Boots.” This song marks another glimpse into the rising star’s next album, slated for release this spring.
Story Behind The Song
Catching up with Country Now, Stell explained that the idea behind this single’s burning narrative began on a night out in a bar in Nashville. He was by himself, watching a game on the TV when he saw a woman across the room wearing boots similar to his. Unfortunately, by the time he closed out this tab, she had already made her way out of the bar, never to be seen again. Shortly after that evening, Stell went to a writing session with Vince Dennis who coincidentally had the idea to write a song that fit the scenario Stell had just experienced first-hand with the mystery woman.
“He came in and he was like, ‘Man, I got this idea. I’m not sure what it means, but it sounds cool. It’s like, she’ll leave your heart breaking in your boots or breaking in boots or something like that.’ I was like, ‘Dude, I know exactly what that’s about.’ So we wrote that song and sometimes it’s crazy how songs can come together. An idea will start like that, and you figure out what it’s about a little bit later. That’s definitely what happened,” he recalled.
Co-written by Stell with Joe Fox, Ben Stennis, and Nate Cyphert, “Breakin’ In Boots” finds the rising country star buzzing about the type of women he dubs a “cowboy killer.” These are the girls he sees on a night out and instinctively knows they will leave his heart broken. He signals a warning to anyone else who’s drawn to their irresistible charm, claiming, “She’ll burn you like the bourbon in the bottle she’s shootin’.”
It seems that many listeners have resonated with the song’s storyline that’s taking over the airwaves. Upon its impact to radio, “Breakin’ In Boots” became the Top 5 most-added at Country radio with 55 first-week stations nationwide, the most Mediabase adds upon impact of his career.
“It’s really special to me to see that happen…I’m with a team now that really believes in what I’m trying to do so that means it’s what we’re trying to do together ‘cause it takes such a team to not only create the music, but to get the music out to people. Once we got it done, it was kind of everybody’s pick, including myself so it feels really good to all be on the same page and to be sending something up tempo to country radio, which was what I wanted to do in the first place.”
Video-Game Themed Music Video
Stell turned the tune up a notch when he released a retro video-game-themed music video. Filmed at Punches n’ Bunches Boxing Studio in Nashville, TN, the Dustin Haney-directed clip puts Stell in the ring with a “cowboy killer,” and plays his hardest only to be knocked out in the end by his worthy opponent.
“I’ve always loved music videos that kind of told the story of the song from a little different perspective. Some of my favorite videos were those old Toby Keith music videos for like, ‘I Love This Bar’ and they kind of have this tongue-in-cheek thing to them that I’ve always loved. So we kind of tried to do that with this song ‘cause it’s not necessarily funny, but it’s cool to have that little element of humor just to kind of make the story even more a little three dimensional.”
What To Expect From Matt Stell’s Next Album
Luckily, more new music is already in the works for Stell, who confirmed that his next album is expected to drop this spring. Setting the tone with “Breakin’ In Boots,” Stell declares that this collection of songs will be “the best music” he’s ever made.
In the last year, he’s taken the steps to figure himself out and determine what this next chapter of music will look like for him. This resulted in Stell rediscovering why he fell in love with making music in the first place and getting back to releasing the kind of songs that best fit who he is.
“For me, that means making music that means a lot, whether it’s this kind of up-tempo heartbreak stuff, whether it’s heavy stuff about childhood, whether it’s more fun things, sort of every aspect of things that matter to me. I’ve really challenged myself to not really care what anybody else thinks about what I’m doing or making until I’m happy first because I feel like a lesson that I learned,” he shared honestly. “You need to trust the people around you, but what makes music special, personal, real, authentic is, does it pass my test first? And is it stuff that I’m proud of? Is it stuff that I would bet my life on, as far as in country music? So that’s been the most fun, making music with the stakes that high knowing that the bar that I set is the bar that it’s got to meet and then we can get other opinions in there.”
“I just really feel like I’ve been making the best music, the truest music that I ever have and I can’t wait for people to hear it,” he added.
Getting “Real” And Honest In This Forthcoming Collection
Stell went on to explain that the themes of this forthcoming project will span upbeat heartbreak anthems like “Breakin’ In Boots” to incredibly autobiographical insights into his life that introduce fans to a new side to his songwriting.
“Some of it’s very personal, like hard to write and hard to show the people in my life that I’m talking about because of what they might think, but at the end of the day, it’s being true. And not to say too much about that, but it’s some family stuff so I’m really excited about it.”
Part of the process of making these songs was simply getting back to the joys of listening to new music in a way that he hasn’t been able to do in recent years. He acknowledged that he went through a period where he was releasing tracks that didn’t necessarily fuel his creativity in the way he hoped it would, causing him to feel “disconnected.” The Arkansas native admits it can be difficult to put his heart and experiences on display in such a raw fashion, but in doing so, he’s felt a new sense of freedom. So this time around, he’s started with nothing but realness and truthfulness and is now preparing to offer a collection of songs that he can truly be proud of.
“I’ve learned that when I was in a position where I wasn’t making the music that I that I wanted to, for lack of a better way to put it, it was affecting me in other ways and I noticed myself listening to a lot less music…Once I got disconnected from the passion of making it, it sort of disconnected me from the passion of listening to it too. Especially country music because it goes from being something that I love to listening to, to competitors or something like that in the marketplace and sh*t that I’ve never cared about. So that’s when I knew I had to make a big change this year and after that, I started writing my best stuff and I can’t wait for it to be out.”
Next week on January 26, Stell will perform his first show of the year in Uncasville, CT followed by an appearance at Nashville’s 3rd and Lindsley on January 31. Later this year, Stell will embark on a run that he revealed is currently “in the works.”
“Stay tuned on all that stuff. You’ll definitely be able to see us in the spring, summer, fall, for sure.”
Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.