Mat Kearney

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Mat Kearney
Mat Kearney.jpg
Background information
Born (1978-12-01) December 1, 1978 (age 38)
Eugene, Oregon, United States
Origin Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Genres Rock, folk, CCM, hip hop
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica, CP70, mandolin, synthesizer, vibraphone
Years active 2003–present
Labels InPop, Columbia, Aware, Universal Republic
Associated acts Tyler Burkum, Trent Dabbs

Mathew William "Mat" Kearney[1] (/ˈkɑːrni/; born December 1, 1978) is an American musician born in Eugene, Oregon, now based in Nashville, Tennessee. Kearney has received critical acclaim and widespread recognition for his Columbia Records debut, Nothing Left to Lose. So far, he has a total of 5 top 20 hits on the Adult Top 40 Chart.

His most recent album, Just Kids, was released on February 24, 2015. The album's first single, "Heartbeat", was released on November 4, 2014.[2]


Early life[edit]

Kearney was born on December 1, 1978 and raised in Eugene, Oregon with his two brothers.[3] At South Eugene High School, Kearney was a soccer player.[4]

He attended California State University, Chico in Chico, California on an athletic scholarship and majored in literature, playing soccer until his junior year. Kearney first became interested in music after traveling to Nashville with music producer Robert Marvin.[4] Using a roommate's guitar, he tried covering songs by other artists, but realized he was not very good at it, and began writing his own. Though things were going well for Kearney at school, the partying atmosphere at Chico caught up to him. In an interview, Kearney said, "I guess I lived it up and did what everyone said you should do in college. I discovered the depth of depravity, the bleakness of that lifestyle. It just wasn't working. I finally started understanding there must be more to life."[5]

Kearney began focusing on music fusing his simple guitar playing with spoken word or rap. He started to play at coffee shops and soon began to make small amounts of money. At this time, Kearney had met friend and future producer, Robert Marvin. The two began to make music together, but Marvin had plans to move to Nashville, Tennessee. Marvin asked Kearney to help with the move and he accepted. Kearney says, "I helped him pack up his trailer and we put a mattress on the back of his truck. We basically drove cross-country and slept in the back. When we pulled into Nashville we slept in a school parking lot for three days until we finally rented this apartment where the roof was caving in and mice were crawling all over." Kearney decided to stay in Nashville to record a few demos with Marvin and after a few months, Kearney had no plans on returning. "By the end of the summer, we had three or four songs and I realized this is what I wanted to do. It just clicked. So I called home to Oregon and said, 'I'm not coming back' and I never left Nashville."[5]

2005–07: Nothing Left to Lose[edit]

On April 18, 2006, Kearney's second album and major-label debut, titled Nothing Left to Lose, was released. It contains several reworked songs from Kearney's first album Bullet, as well as some new material, and has sold over 450,000 copies to date.[citation needed] The title track "Nothing Left to Lose" was the first single from the album, peaking at No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of February 10, 2007. The single has sold over 500,000 copies and won numerous BMI awards.[specify] The track "All I Need" was featured on Grey's Anatomy and NCIS and began to chart on iTunes top 100 downloaded songs. It peaked at No. 94 on the Billboard Pop 100.

To promote Nothing Left to Lose, Kearney toured with John Mayer, Sheryl Crow, Train, Mutemath, Meiko, and Cary Brothers throughout 2005, '06, and '07; he also headlined VH1's first ever "You Oughta Know Tour" in the spring of 2007.

2008–09: City of Black and White[edit]

Kearney's following album, City of Black & White, was released through Columbia Records on May 19, 2009. He collaborated with Nashville artists such as Trent Dabbs, Matthew Perryman Jones, Kate York, Paul Moak, Daniel James, Will Sayles, and Josiah Bell. Robert Marvin (tobyMac, Britt Nicole), the producer of Kearney's previous albums and EPs, joined him yet again. The lead single was "Closer To Love", and it received much airplay, on both secular and Christian outlets. His second single is "All I Have", the last song he wrote before releasing the album.

In May 2009, Kearney toured with Keane and The Helio Sequence for several weeks to promote City of Black & White.[6] It debuted on the Billboard 200 at No. 13. He most recently toured with Owl City and Unwed Sailor on Owl City's "All Things Bright and Beautiful Tour".

2010–11: Young Love[edit]

On August 2, 2011, Kearney's fourth album Young Love was released . The album's first single, "Hey Mama", was released on May 10, 2011. "Hey Mama" charted in the Top 40 of Adult Pop Songs at No. 22. The second single "Down" charted as high as No. 23 on the Christian Songs chart.[7]

2014–15: Just Kids[edit]

Kearney's fifth album, Just Kids, was released on February 24, 2015.[8] The album's first single, "Heartbeat", was released on November 4, 2014. He toured with both Judah and the Lion and Parachute during his "Just Kids" tour in 2015.[2]

2016–present: Tour de Compadres, Signing with Big Loud Mountain Management and Collaboration with Filous[edit]

From August 17, 2016 – November 12, 2016, Kearney toured with Needtobreathe for their second annual Tour de Compadres, where he performed songs from his albums Nothing Left to Lose, Young Love, and Just Kids.[9]

On December 13, 2016, Kearney signed with independent music company Big Loud Mountain Management.[10] On February 3, 2017, Kearney released a song with Filous, titled "Goodbye".[11]

Featured in the media[edit]

Kearney's songs have appeared on the following television series: 30 Rock, Awake, Dirty Sexy Money, Kyle XY, The Unit, Without a Trace, Laguna Beach, The Hills, Bones, Jericho, Friday Night Lights, Wildfire, What About Brian, South Beach, 8th & Ocean, One Tree Hill, Scrubs, The Closer, NCIS, Life Unexpected, Grey's Anatomy, Parenthood, So You Think You Can Dance, The Vampire Diaries and A to Z. His song "Runaway" is featured on the Soul Surfer movie soundtrack. Kearney's song "Sooner or Later" provides the background music to the WWDC 2013 and Google's Zeitgeist 2011: Year in Review video, which was uploaded to YouTube on December 14, 2011. He was also on The Today Show performing the song "Billion".[12]

Personal life[edit]

Kearney currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee, in Hillsboro Village with his wife Annie, who he married on June 5, 2010.[citation needed]

Kearney has stated that his legal name is Mathew due to a nurse's error on his birth certificate. He discovered the error while in the 8th grade when he noticed how his mom corrected the error with red ink, never legally correcting it. Since then, he embraced the one "T" in his legal name.[citation needed]

On January 4, 2017, Kearney and his wife had their first child, a girl named Olive Sims Kearney.[13]

Kearney, based on the lyrics of many of his songs, is a practicing Christian. Songs that have Christian lyrics include "Air I Breathe", "Girl America", and "Closer To Love".[citation needed]



Title Details Peak chart positions Sales
US US Christian US Digital US Heat US Rock CAN
Nothing Left to Lose
  • Release date: April 18, 2006 (Reissued in 2007)
  • Label: Aware, Columbia
  • Formats: CD, digital download
109 4 17 2
  • US: 450,000
City of Black & White
  • Release date: May 19, 2009
  • Label: Aware, Columbia
  • Formats: CD, digital download
13 1 13 3
  • US: 87,000
Young Love
  • Release date: August 2, 2011
  • Label: Aware, Universal Republic
  • Formats: CD, digital download
4 1 1 1 20
Just Kids 20 2 7
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


  • Revive Us – EP (2002)
  • West in November – EP (2003)
  • The Chicago EP – EP (2005)
  • Nothing Left to Lose Acoustic EP – EP (2006)
  • Rhapsody Originals (Live) – EP Digital-Only (February 20, 2007)
  • NapsterLive (Live) – EP Digital-Only (March 13, 2007)
  • iTunes Exclusive Acoustic EP – EP Digital-Only (April 17, 2007)
  • iTunes Exclusive Live Session EP – EP Digital-Only (2009)
  • For The Resilient Hearts, Ado - Daytrotter Sessions EP Digital-Only (2009)
  • Black Swan Shadow (2010)
  • Nightish Hearts of the Cold Rains - Daytrotter Sessions EP Digital-Only (2011)

Live concerts[edit]

  • Mat Kearney: Live at The Fillmore, San Francisco (2010)


Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
US Adult
US Christ
US Pop
2006 "Nothing Left to Lose" 41 7 36
  • US: Gold
Nothing Left to Lose
"Undeniable" 116 16 30
"All I Need"
2007 "Breathe In, Breathe Out" 18
2009 "Closer to Love" 91 12 7
  • US: Gold
City of Black & White
"All I Have"
2010 "Head or Your Heart" Non-album single
"Edge of the World (A Children's Song)"
2011 "Hey Mama" 18 Young Love
"Down" 21
"Ships in the Night" 87 22 10
  • US: Gold
2014 "Heartbeat" 31 Just Kids
2015 "Billion" 39
"One Heart" 16 34
"Air I Breathe" 33 8
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


GMA Dove Awards[edit]

Year Award Result
2006 New Artist of the Year Nominated
Rap/Hip-Hop Recorded Song of the Year ("Trainwreck") Won
2007 Male Vocalist of the Year Nominated
Song of the Year ("Nothing Left to Lose") Nominated
Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year (Nothing Left To Lose) Nominated

Media appearances[edit]


  • Mat Kearney – vocals, guitar, piano
  • Chad Kinner – drums, percussion (2011–present)
  • Fred Williams – piano, keys
  • Adam Keafer – bass (2010–2015)
  • Nathan Spicer – guitar (2010–present)
  • Tyler Burkum - guitar, vocals (2009–present)
  • Phil Moore - bass (2015–present)
  • Jeremy Lutito - drums (2009–2012)


  1. ^ Anonymous. "Sims-Kearney vows planned in Tennessee " Engagements " - Kosciusko, MS". Retrieved September 17, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Kuchik, Natalie (October 29, 2014). "Mat Kearney to release new single 'Heartbeat' on November 4 - AXS". AXS. Retrieved February 24, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Mat Kearney| Singer, Songwriter| Christian Music Artist |". Retrieved September 17, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Lamberson, Carolyn (October 27, 2005). "Hometown boy takes an unlikely path to Nashville". Eugene Register-Guard. Retrieved August 24, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Mat Kearney". Retrieved August 11, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Mat Kearney". Mat Kearney. Retrieved July 14, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Mat Kearney". Mat Kearney. Retrieved July 14, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Mat Kearney". Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Home". TOUR DE COMPADRES 2016. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 
  11. ^ "FILOUS - GOODBYE (FT. MAT KEARNEY)". BEAUTIFUL BUZZZ. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Zeitgeist 2011: Year in Review". YouTube. December 14, 2011. Retrieved September 17, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Mat & Annie Kearney Welcome Baby Girl into the World". Mat Kearney. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Upcoming Releases". Hits Daily Double. HITS Digital Ventures. Archived from the original on February 11, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Mat Kearney - Chart history - Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 11, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Mat Kearney - Chart history - Adult Pop Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 11, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Mat Kearney - Chart history - Christian Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 11, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Mat Kearney - Chart history - Pop Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 11, 2013. 

External links[edit]