Special Assignment

Waukesha songwriter gets national attention

CREATED Jul 2, 2014

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WAUKESHA - There's an old saying -- choose a job you love, and you'll never have to work a day in your life.  If that's true, one of this year's Summerfest performers, a young man from Waukesha--has yet to toil.  

The only thing odd about Matt Schwanke's birth may have been that he entered the world without a guitar at his side.  He says, "Well, you know it's funny, because people always ask me, 'Oh, when did you start playing guitar and how did you know?  And you know, honestly, I started so young that I just don't remember even.  It just felt like instinct when I picked it up.'"

2014 marks the 2nd consecutive year this young Waukesha artist has been invited to play on the same ground as music greats.  "As soon as I moved here I figured out what Summerfest was, I've been dreaming about playing here since I was 10 years old, so it's almost a little, it feels unreal to me that I'm here."

He has a sound all his own:  Soulful, introspective--a depth of emotion that evokes famous singer songwriters who came before, like James Taylor, Carol King, and Carly Simon.

Matt cites some other more modern singers, "Yeah, I mean as far as my own music, there definitely are my influences like John Mayer and Jason Mraz and Dave Matthews, but when I'm producing or writing for other people I have to broaden my horizons and listen to a lot of different genres, but that's really made me a song writer, listening to all kinds of music."

Performing is a passion, but song-writing and storytelling are a true talent--so much so that this 20-year-old just recently signed an exclusive deal with a division of Universal Music Group.

"I started writing songs in high school and started singing, and I knew then it was what I wanted to do," Matt recalls.

There's nothing traditional about the path Schwanke's paving, but it's with remarkable encouragement from his parents to put off college and pursue his dream.

Even so, Schwanke is getting an education all his own.  To date he estimates he's already written 500 songs--with no end to that incredible creativity.