With his major label debut, this singer/songwriter has 'nothing left to lose.'
On his major-label debut, aptly titled "Nothing Left to Lose," singer/songwriter Mat Kearney looks to his past in order to see into his future. So far, that future looks bright.
Last week, the title track from the album, which will be released April 4 on Aware/Columbia, entered Billboard Radio Monitor's Triple-A audience chart at No. 19.
His previous album, "Bullet" (Inpop Records), was mainly embraced by a Christian audience, but Kearney hopes that his latest release will allow him to step into the mainstream.
"I never intentionally meant to be successful in the Christian world. Basically I licensed my record to a friend who owned a Christian label, and it kind of took off," says Kearney. "I've never shaped or crafted my music for any specific group of people. Whoever connects with it is fine with me. I don't care where they come from."
"My goal is to try to avoid a genre," he continues. "I don't know quite where [the album] fits in. On one level I feel like I'm doing something that's kind of my own thing. On another level it's very relatable to the mass audience. I'm trying to avoid all those labels, so I'm being coy on purpose. I think it's better for people to hear the music and decide for themselves what they think it is."
That said, the songs on "Nothing Left to Lose" are very much folk/pop mixed with poetic rhythms and a hint of hip-hop.
"I was always into poetry and writing. So the urgency of spoken word is something that really has always appealed to me," he says. "I don't know how much I'm connected to the hip-hop scene, but I definitely lend from that urgency. I'm convinced that good songs about things that matter will cross the board and people will connect with them on that level. But I wouldn't say [hip-hop is at] the core of what I'm doing. I'm not looking to do a record with Kanye [West]."
Kearney is currently on tour with Cary Brothers and the Fray, where he is "still trying to figure out the demographic" of his fans. But now that the album is "ready to be airlifted" to stores, it shouldn't take much longer to get that question sorted out.
"[The album] is a real, complete expression of where I've been and where I'm going. I feel strongly about the last few songs that made their way onto the record. I would put my money on any of the songs. I'm not hiding any. Whereas maybe other things I've done I felt like I was trying to hide a song back at No. 10 or No. 11 on the record," he notes, adding, "We haven't been shy about getting the music out and letting people hear it —- [there's] no hype, just let the music do the work."