Matt Berninger

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Matt Berninger
Matt Berninger at Way Out West 2014.jpg
Matt Berninger at Way Out West in Gothenburg, Sweden, August 2014
Background information
Born (1971-02-13) February 13, 1971 (age 44)
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
Genres Alternative rock
Occupation(s) Vocalist
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1999–present
Associated acts The National, EL VY

Matthew Donald Berninger, known as Matt Berninger (born February 13, 1971[1]) is a Cincinnati native, Los Angeles-based[2] singer/songwriter, primarily known as the frontman of indie rock band The National. In 2014 he formed the EL VY project with Brent Knopf of Menomena and released the album Return to the Moon in November 2015.[3]

Berninger is notable for his classic baritone voice.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Berninger is a 1989 graduate of St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati where he played trumpet for the high school's band.[5] He went on to study graphic design at the University of Cincinnati, where he met fellow band member, Scott Devendorf in 1991 and they became best friends.[4] 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.”[6]

Matt 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.[7][8] Together with Hope Hall and Andreas Burgess, Carin also helped direct the music video for "Bloodbuzz Ohio". They have a daughter, Isla.[9] Matt has stated that the song "Afraid of Everyone" was influenced by his anxiety about being a new father.

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. ^ United States Birth Records
  2. ^ Barton, Chris. "'Mistaken for Strangers': Matt, Tom Berninger on the not-National doc". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 October 2015. 
  3. ^ Gaerig, Andrew (November 2, 2015). "EL VY: Return to the Moon". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2015-11-14. 
  4. ^ a b Dawidoff, Nicholas (23 April 2010). "The National Agenda". NY Times. Retrieved 30 January 2011. 
  5. ^ Motz, Mark D. (2008-01-31). "Volume V, Issue 9". St. Xavier High School E-News (Mailing list). Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "19 Late-Blooming Artists Who Prove It’s Never Too Late". BuzzFeed. 
  7. ^ Chalupa, Andrea (17 May 2010). "The National's Matt Berninger on Dirty Lovers and Even Dirtier Politics". Huffington Post. Retrieved 30 January 2011. 
  8. ^ Fury, Jeanne. "Interview with The National". Virgin. Retrieved 30 January 2011. 
  9. ^ "Under The Radar cover featuring Matt Berninger along with his one-and-half-year-old daughter, Isla.". Under The Radar. Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  10. ^ Breihan, Tom "Ezra Koenig, Matt Berninger, Sam Beam Immortalized in Oil Paintings" "Pitchfork"