Eli Mattson

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Eli Mattson
Mattson during a soundcheck in 2008.
Mattson during a soundcheck in 2008.
Background information
Birth nameEli James Mattson
Born (1981-11-04) November 4, 1981 (age 38)
OriginDoor County, Wisconsin, U.S.
GenresPop, rock
InstrumentsPiano, vocals
Years active1995–present
LabelsSony Records (2009-present)

Eli James Mattson (born November 4, 1981) is an American pianist and singer. He was a Top 10 finalist on the third season of America's Got Talent. His rendition of Marc Cohn's 1991 hit, "Walking in Memphis" during his initial audition impressed many, picking up on his maturity and vocal talent.[citation needed]

Early life & America's Got Talent[edit]

Mattson was born in Duluth, Minnesota in 1981. He has been playing piano since he was five years old as he inherited a battered upright grand from his great, grandfather and has been performing, including his own compositions, since the age of fourteen.

With some guidance from his mother, Eli essentially taught himself to play by creating his own music since music instruction books weren't readily available in Cotton. When Eli's family moved to Green Bay three years later, he received his first formal piano training, and while he impressed his teachers with his abundant natural talent, he wasn't too impressed with what they were offering him.

At age 4, Eli visited his aunt in Chicago who took him to see a blues act at Rosa’s Lounge. He was startled when the lead singer approached him and said, “I hear you are a piano player”. Eli took the opportunity to play the blues with the band through the night. From this first onstage experience as a young teenager, he knew for certain performing music would always be the main focus of his life. When Eli was 19, he was awarded a prestigious grant of $30,000 from the Peninsula Arts Association in Wisconsin to help further his music career.

After touring with the country band -David St Romain-, he lived in Chicago, playing in piano bars for three years before his national debut on America's Got Talent.

Eli's influences include Elton John, Billy Joel, Bruce Hornsby, Jimmy Newquist, and Dave Matthews Band.

America's Got Talent[edit]

Eli Mattson's audition in Episode 302 of AGT consisted of singing "Walking in Memphis" while playing the piano. Judges Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne, and David Hasselhoff all voted "Yes," sending Eli to the Vegas Round. Eli Mattson was one of the Music Acts in the Vegas Round. He was sorted into the "Male Singers" category. His performance in Episode 308 was not fully televised, but it consisted of singing Elton John's "Your Song" while playing the piano. Eli's audition was strong enough for the judges to include him in the Top 60 shortlist and to later send him to the Top 40 Quarterfinals in Episode 309.

Eli's Part 4 Quarterfinals performance in Episode 313 consisted of singing Tony Rich's "Nobody Knows" while playing the piano. Eli received enough votes to be sent to the Semifinals in Episode 314 instead of Dorae Saunders. His Part 2 Semifinals performance in Episode 315 consisted of singing Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You" while playing the piano. He then received enough votes to be sent to the Top 10 in Episode 316 instead of Sarah Lenore. Eli Mattson's Top 10 performance in Episode 317 consisted of singing Elton John's "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" while playing the piano. Eli received enough votes to be sent to the Final 5 in Episode 318 instead of Jessica Price.

Eli's Final 5 performance in Episode 319 consisted of singing Phil Collins' "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" while playing the piano. During the finale in Episode 320, he was revealed to have finished in second place in the competition, in front of Queen Emily, Donald Braswell and Nuttin' But Stringz and was the runner up behind Neal E. Boyd.


Week Song
Audition "Walking in Memphis" Marc Cohn N/A Advanced
Vegas Verdicts "Your Song" Elton John N/A Advanced
Top 40
Group 4
"Nobody Knows" Tony Rich 9 Advanced
Top 20
Group 2
"If I Ain't Got You" Alicia Keys 9 Advanced
Top 10 "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word" Elton John 10 Advanced
Top 5 "Against All Odds" Phil Collins 4 Runner-up

Post Talent[edit]

On October 17, 2008, Mattson joined the Top 10 finalists, as well as past winners from America's Got Talent to perform at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.[1] On October 24, 2008, Mattson had a Meet and Greet in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin at the Ladder House. On October 27, 28 and 29, 2008, Eli played three sold out benefit concerts in his home county of Door County, Wisconsin.
On November 22, 2008, Eli was the Grand Marshal of the Time Warner Green Bay Holiday Parade. Then he performed a concert at the Meyer Theatre in Green Bay that same day.

In January 2009 Eli went to LA to start recording for the Epic division of Sony Music.

In April 2009, Eli made guest appearances on Terry Fator's show in Las Vegas. Fator reports that he actually voted for Eli ten times on America's Got Talent, the maximum per voting method.



Year Album Peak
Billboard 200
2000 First Three
  • Debut album
  • Released: 2000
2002 Monsters
  • Second studio album
  • Released: 2002
First Time Flyer Sessions
  • Third studio album
  • Released: 2002
2005 Eli Mattson - Compilation CD
  • Compilation album
  • Released: 2005
2009 Next 4
  • Fourth studio album
  • Released: 2009
2012 Chasing Rabbits
  • Fifth studio album
  • Released: 2012
"—" denotes the album did not chart.


"First Three"[edit]

Baby Doll, Morning of the Night, All I'll Be


All I'll Be, Father Please, Baby Doll, Morning Of, Are You There, Blue Ocean, 7, Baby Lonely, One Time More, Smile

"First Time Flyer Sessions"[edit]

Shadow, Soft As Sin, First Time Flyer, Miss Morgan

"Eli Mattson - Compilation CD"[edit]

All I'll Be, Baby Doll, Morning Of, Blue Ocean, 7, Baby Lonely, One Time More, Smile, Shadow, Soft As Sin, First Time Flyer, Miss Morgan

"Next 4"[edit]

Jaybird, Proud, She Only Knows, Walking in Memphis

"Chasing Rabbits"[edit]

Strangers, About Last Night, Wicker, Alien and Me, I'd Seen It All, Same Time Next Year, Two Years, Favourite Things


  1. ^ http://www.mgmgrand.com/entertainment/entertainment-schedule.aspx
  2. ^ He also judged the Miss Wisconsin Pageant in June of 2012.

External links[edit]