Imagine the rush of performing your new single to more than 80,000 country music fans on the main stage at ‘Jamboree In The Hills’, one of the top music festivals in the country. Afterwards, you might exchange niceties with superstar Tim McGraw before he goes on stage to rock the crowd. Ohio native Matt VanFossen doesn’t have to imagine because this is his new reality.
With the release of his new EP, “BOOM,” VanFossen is taking his career to exciting new levels. The hard driving title track is the first single and has already become a fan favorite. It recently won West Virginia-based radio station 97.9 WKKW’s fan-voted “Smackdown” for the maximum of four days straight, beating out new singles from artists such as Dolly Parton and Colt Ford.
“I feel like I’m growing into the artist that I’m meant to be. In doing so, I’ve realized that up-tempo songs are fun,” he says. “When the audience hears the music start for ‘BOOM,’ everybody’s ready. I think it’s the hook of the song and the driving music. It demands your attention.”
The EP follows the breakout success of 2012’s full-length “I Didn’t Come Here to Lose.” Two singles from the album (“Almost Stopped Dreaming” and “This Time Around”) managed to break the Top 100 on the Mediabase country charts. A third single, “A Woman’s Words,” was listed as one of the Top 25 fan-voted songs on Nashville-based Internet radio station NIXA. In addition, his ‘Jamboree’ performances were broadcasted to TV viewers across the Ohio Valley and he received coverage on local newscasts.
The success of the album eventually allowed VanFossen to get a high profile booking at Nashville’s legendary Douglas Corner Cafe, a renowned venue for both emerging and established songwriters/performers.
“It was a surreal experience to be in a room full of tourists and peers in Nashville. Then, to be singing my music in-the-round with three other artists was unbelievable,” he says. “To have all the talent there recognize me for my voice was just killer. They all thought I was from there. I’ll never forget that.”
During his short career, VanFossen has shared the stage with national recording artists including David Nail, Craig Campbell, Brooks & Dunn, and more.
In 2013, he was asked to become one of the main stage artists at the Ohio-based ‘Jamboree in the Hills’ festival. For the past two years, he has opened up for the likes of Neal McCoy, Aaron Tippin, and The Oak Ridge Boys.
The newly released “BOOM” EP aims to cement his status as a hit-maker with a voice that grabs your attention and refuses to let go. Mike Ofca produced the project at Innovation Studios in Steuvenville, Ohio.
“Mike has this way of turning everything into ear candy. He pays attention to the details and is always listening to see what to add to it to make the song better than it already is,” VanFossen says.
The EP is available at all digital outlets and is distributed by TuneCore. It contains five songs, including “She’s Just Like That” and the feisty “Close If It Ain’t It.” VanFossen says “She’s Just Like That” is his favorite on the project and the song helped him realize the album’s theme.
“The ‘BOOM’ EP is all about the expression of intense feelings. I was listening to “She’s Just Like That” in the car today and thought to myself, ‘you never hear a song from a male artist that talks about love in such an extreme way’ … ,” he says. “The song is a way for a guy to say how intense his love is. It gets your attention but in a different way than ‘BOOM.’ It’s like a summer breeze.”
Fans can also expect to hear more about the relationship he sang about on the emotional “Leave Me” from the last album. While “Leave Me” was about a deteriorating relationship that no one had the guts to end, the musical sequel is more of a hopeful coda. “Get To You” picks up the story after the girl is gone and the guy is forced to move on.
“I remember hearing the song and thinking ‘I know there’s somebody out there that will relate’ … ,” he says. “It was the last song we cut vocals on and I thought to myself, ‘put yourself in the place of what you would be like if you found somebody that finally made you forget all the pain and suffering you’ve been through in your life.’”
Then tragedy struck just as his career began to take off. VanFossen’s beloved mother Dot passed away suddenly due to a stroke. Her death was jolting and almost caused him to give up on his dreams. He recalls feeling broken after leaving the hospital and contemplating the end to his career. “ … But then I turned on the radio and my song was playing. Then, I knew in my heart that was a sign from Mom to keep doing this,” he says.
Fast forward to 2014 and VanFossen is revisiting his signature song with a newly recorded version created especially for “BOOM.” He calls the track the centerpiece of his music.
“It was the first song that I had on the radio and the only song my mom and I heard on the radio together. It’s a timeless song and I feel now at 30, I’ve lived so much life. I feel like every step of the way, it becomes more of my signature song,” he says. “Now’s the time to bring out a song like this into the world. Everybody’s reminiscing about when life was simple. It’s a way of remembering your innocence.”
Whether he’s performing a hard driving rocker such as “BOOM” or a heartbreaking ballad like “Get To You,” VanFossen’s live shows are not to be missed. His voice is often compared to artists such as Garth Brooks, Rascal Flatts, and Blake Shelton. Not bad company for an artist that continues to forge his own path as an independent artist.
“I want people to know that I am a genuine, driven, hard working artist that cares about them and wants to interact,”