Matthew VanFossen Contact info Matt@matthewvanfossen.com Hometown - Moundsville, WV Current residence – Columbus, OH Graduated - John Marshall High school in 2002 Mathew VanFossen began singing when he was 2 years old, with traditional country music being his passion and Reba McEntire as his inspiration. He made his first public singing performance in elementary school and later auditioned for the Monarch Choir at John Marshall High School. He grew up in Bellaire, Ohio with his mother Dorothy, father Matthew Sr., and younger brother Sean. His parents divorced in 1994, which was a pivotal turning point for him. His father was, and still is, a recovering alcoholic. Over those next few years, when times got tough, Matt always turned to music to see him through. He would often stay with his great grandmother, Stella Black, where the two of them would often spend time together watching “Hee Haw” and “The Grand Ole Opry”. Stella always fueled Matt's interest in singing, until she passed away in 1999. From that day forward, Matt knew he was meant to follow their shared dream of being a country music star. In 2000, Matt met Pam Whetzel, who became a huge part of him chasing his dreams of country music stardom. She was, and is, one of his closest friends. The two of them often sat out on Matt’s back deck and sang their favorite songs, which in turn, taught Matt how to harmonize. She is also the person who first introduced him to Chely Wright's music, another influence in his quest. Matt officially started his professional music career in late 2003. He competed for the Monthly Karaoke Competition at the Wheeling Downs Racetrack and Gaming Resort in Wheeling, WV. While Matt was at the competition, he was approached by Randy Baldwin. Randy remembered that his son, Josh, and Matt grew up together and were childhood friends. Randy suggested that Matt should record a demo CD, and even offered to finance it for him. Matt was ecstatic and jumped at the opportunity. After his demo CD entitled “Back of the Bottom Drawer” was complete, it was sent to Nashville songwriter Kelley Lovelace. She also writes songs with Brad Paisley, another major influence on Matt’s music whom he hopes to meet and record with one day. Through the competition at Wheeling Downs, Matt met his first true inspiration as an artist; Joanie Lilly of Monroeville, PA.. She taught him to believe in himself and to keep pushing forward. It was in late 2004 when Matt began his second demo, and asked Lilly to sing in the duet titled “Hard to be a Husband, Hard to be a Wife”. This song was originally written and performed by two of Matt's biggest influences, Chely Wright and Brad Paisley. This song is still one of Matt’s favorite recordings to this date. Matt has always attributed family as a major part in his success. The family would set up get-togethers to go to karaoke, just to hear to Matt sing. His grandmother Midge, cousin Sarah, aunt Barb (lovingly known as "Tig") and his biggest fan, his mother, continually support him at every competition and are always encouraging him to reach higher. In 2004, Matt attended his first CMA Music Festival. Upon attending, he met one of his influences, Chely Wright. Her song "Single White Female" launched her career, and turned her into one of country music's most popular and successful singers. Meeting her face to face was the beginning of a dream come true for Matt. Throughout 2004, he continued to perform at Wheeling Downs Racetrack and Gaming Resort in various competitions, winning several of them. In August of 2006, Matt competed in the Wetz Colgate Country Music Showdown where he met fellow competitor and friend, Heather Warren. When he stepped off stage after rehearsal, Heather told Matt, “You have the whole competition wrapped up”, and he did. After winning, Matt progressed to the West Virginia State Finals. Heather and Matt kept in touch, constantly talking of their love for music. In October of 2006, Matt was invited to headline his first concert at the Lincoln Theater in New Martinsville, WV. When asked if he had someone in mind to open for him, Matt gave Heather Warren a call without hesitation. In early 2007, Matt began a new chapter in his life by moving to Columbus, Ohio where he met Amanda Weisal, a new but major supporter of his dreams and efforts. She constantly encourages Matt to attempt new challenges with his recordings. With Amanda’s help in late 2007, Matt embarked on his greatest challenge yet; going into a studio and recording all of his unreleased material with a full band and producer, marking his first official studio project. Matt is recording his music at Aardvark Recording Studios in Steubenville, Ohio. "Are You Ever Gonna Love Me" is one of Matt's favorite songs, so when it came time to select album tracks, this song was a no-brainer for him. Other songs included on this project are, "Didn't You Know How Much I Loved You", "One Night In Las Vegas" (duet with Joanie Lilly), "Anywhere But Here", and "I Don't Want To" (duet with Heather Warren). Joanie Lilly and Heather Warren will be actively involved in the background vocals on this project. The album, which has yet to be officially titled, will be finished in spring of 2008. Matt will also be acquiring the mechanical licenses for the songs so they can be released and sold on iTunes and other similar vendors. Matt’s lead single will be "Are You Ever Gonna Love Me”, which is scheduled to be released on local area radio stations in late March of 2008. Currently, Matt is in the process of launching his Official Fan Club which will be called "VanFans". Keep checking his official website www.matthewvanfossen.com, his official Myspace page www.myspace.com/matthewvanfossen, and Digital Rodeo pages for updates.
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