In his latest essay for Substream, James Shotwell (aka Country Minute) shares his thoughts on the rise of Chase Matthew and what sets him apart from his country music peers.
For the better half of a decade, Tennessee native Chase Matthew has been building a devoted, following through relentless touring in a steady stream of pop, infused country anthems. His performances combine heartfelt ballads, rock aesthetics, and just a dash of personal testimony, culminating in a unique and engaging experience that keeps fans returning show after show.
Last year, before major labels came calling, Chase, Matthew headlined the intersections downstairs room dubbed Elevation at the height of summer. It was my first time seeing him perform the songs I had seen rack up tens of millions of plays online, and I was curious whether or not his viral fame would translate to the real world. The answer I found was a resounding yes, with people lining up to get photos and autographs, and even outlines for tattoos at the end of the night.
Delivering a bevy of fan favorites, country covers, and new originals, Chase Matthew stormed the intersection stage on Thursday, May 18. The energy of the cloud matched that of those on stage, creating a communal space where everyone felt connected to the music and one another. Such things are the goals of any live event, but this night made the work required to accomplish them seem effortless. Matthew didn’t need to wow the crowd to have them in his hand because most came ready to have a good time. His only task was to live up to the hype the internet has helped create around him, which (again) the Tennessee native makes look easy.
Chatting with Chase before the show, I asked him how one manages to stay engaged with longtime fans as his following grows in leaps and bounds. His answer was annoyingly simple but undeniably true.
“I always put them first,” he told me. “I stay after every show to meet anyone who wants to see me. I take every picture and sign every autograph. You can never take that kind of thing for granted.”
Those efforts will keep people coming back, but that will get them in the door. When pushed further, Chase offered another succinct response.
“People connect with what’s real; I am who I am in everything I create. You may not like it, and some people definitely don’t, but it’s honest.”
Who Chase Matthew is can be learned from his setlist. For as complicated as people are, Chase is easy to understand. He’s a 20-something Tennessee native and high school dropout who took business into his own hands after being turned away by schools and Nashville kingmakers. Call it cockiness or confidence—he’ll admit it’s both—Chase set to work writing songs about where he was in his life on the relationships that defined his existence. The pain and heartache were relatable, as all sad songs tend to be. Still, his understanding of his ability to forge the future hooks people to his music.
Is work getting you down? Plan a night out with the boys or a bonfire on the weekend.
Did someone break your heart? Move on. You control who lives rent-free in your head.
Missing someone? Have regrets? Say something, but be honest with yourself. Own your mistakes and consider the motivations behind them. Think about the difference between how things were overall and how they were at the best of times.
Have a dream? Chase it. Pun intended.
The truths found in Chase Matthew’s music are simple but enduring. That’s most of country music, to be honest, but doing it well takes something special. You have to be willing to be wrong, and you have to be willing to take the barbs people will throw once your story is known. Countless artists can write songs about dirt roads and late nights with someone who now curses their name, but few can make those moments feel lived in by all.
When Chase sings, the listener is transported to a precise moment in time, and when the song stops—people cheer.
Fast-rising #CountryMusic star #ChaseMatthew has been steadily rising up the charts with viral hits like #CountyLine and #LoveYouAgain amassing millions of plays and countless fan-made videos. He’s currently touring and preparing to release his new album, #ComeGetYourMemory this June. Do you have a favorite song? Let me know below! If not, it’s time to get familiar with this new country superstar. #NewCountry #CountryRadio #CountryMusicLover #CountryMusicFans #countrymusictiktoks #countryfans