Matt Berninger

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Matt Berninger
Matt Berninger at Way Out West 2014.jpg
Berninger at Way Out West in Gothenburg, Sweden, 2014
Background information
Birth nameMatthew Donald Berninger
Born (1971-02-13) February 13, 1971 (age 48)
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
GenresAlternative rock
Years active1999–present
Associated acts

Matthew Donald Berninger (/ˌbɜːrnɪŋɜːr/, born February 13, 1971) is an American singer-songwriter, primarily known as the frontman of indie rock band The National. In 2014 he also formed the EL VY project with Brent Knopf of Ramona Falls & Menomena and released the album Return to the Moon in November 2015.[1]

Berninger is notable for his classic baritone voice.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Berninger is a 1989 graduate of St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati.[3] He went on to study graphic design at the University of Cincinnati, where he met fellow band member, Scott Devendorf in 1991. The two quickly became friends.[2] Berninger quit a career in advertising in his thirties to start The National. He told The Telegraph: "I was doing well [in advertising]. But, once I entertained the thought that maybe I wouldn't ever have to go and sit in conference rooms with MasterCard to discuss web ads again, I couldn't shake it."[4]

Berninger is married to Carin Besser, a one-time fiction editor for The New Yorker, who has often contributed to the band's songwriting ("Brainy" and "Ada" from the album Boxer) and backup vocals.[5][6] Together with Hope Hall and Andreas Burgess, Besser also helped direct the music video for "Bloodbuzz Ohio". They have a daughter named Isla.[7] Berninger has stated that the song "Afraid of Everyone" was influenced by his anxiety about being a new father.[8]

Berninger has two siblings: Tom (who directed Mistaken for Strangers, a film about The National) and Rachel.[9]

In popular culture[edit]

In 2011, a portrait of Berninger was painted by British artist Joe Simpson; the painting was exhibited around the UK including a solo exhibition at The Royal Albert Hall.[10]


  1. ^ Gaerig, Andrew (November 1, 2015). "EL VY: Return to the Moon". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  2. ^ a b Dawidoff, Nicholas (23 April 2010). "The National Agenda". NY Times. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  3. ^ Motz, Mark D. (2008-01-31). "Volume V, Issue 9". St. Xavier High School E-News (Mailing list). Retrieved 2008-01-31.[dead link]
  4. ^ Tang, Kevin (July 15, 2013). "19 Late-Blooming Artists Who Prove It's Never Too Late". BuzzFeed.
  5. ^ Chalupa, Andrea (17 May 2010). "The National's Matt Berninger on Dirty Lovers and Even Dirtier Politics". Huffington Post. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  6. ^ Fury, Jeanne. "Interview with The National". Virgin. Archived from the original on 5 October 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  7. ^ Redfern, Mark (July 29, 2010). "Under the Radar Announces Wasted on the Youth Issue: Musicians and Actors on Their Childhood Memories". Under The Radar. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
  8. ^ Hyden, Steven (May 13, 2010). "Matt Berninger of The National". A. V. Club. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
  9. ^ "Happy Sibling's Day". Facebook. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  10. ^ Breihan, Tom (February 23, 2011). "Ezra Koenig, Matt Berninger, Sam Beam Immortalized in Oil Paintings". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2016-05-10.