Matt Stell had lofty dreams of making his own music, writing songs that would resonate with others, and hopefully one day getting to perform them live. But after moving to Nashville, things didn't happen as quickly as he had hoped, so he began pursuing another path, medical school, and came precariously close to being known as Dr. Stell instead.
"I moved to town, and the wheels turned slow," Stell recalled to PopCulture.com. "You never know where you stand at any point in time in the music business ladder. There was a point where I went on a medical missions trip, with my fiancée. We worked alongside doctors and pharmacists in Haiti."
Stell enjoyed his time in Haiti so much that he began to contemplate an entirely different career choice.
"I'm always gonna play music, I'm always gonna write songs, but if it's not what I do for a living, what else would I do?," Stell recalled thinking. "And I thought maybe I'll kind of explore this physician route, and I applied to a pre-medical program."
Not just any pre-med program, but Harvard's prestigious program, and surprisingly was accepted.
"I got in, and so I basically had a decision to make," recalled Stell. "It was about eight weeks before I was about to leave Nashville and move up to the Boston area, that I got the publishing deal. I got an offer for a publishing deal here in town and had a decision to make, and decided that if I left Nashville without at least trying what I set out to do it would have felt like quitting. And that wouldn't have been good for anybody. So, I decided to stay and honestly I haven't even once second guessed it. I'm really really fortunate."
While deciding which career he wanted to take, Stell reached out to several doctors, who helped the Arkansas native decide which path was best for him.
"In the course of trying to decide what I wanted to do, I spoke with a lot of physicians," Stell recounted. "If you talk to your primary care physician, they will tell you real quick that that it is not what it looks like most of the time. In fact most of the time it's just a mountain of paperwork and dealing with a lot of other stuff that's not medical related."
Stell might not have chosen to be a doctor, but his time in Haiti left an indelible mark on almost every area of his life.
"I take for granted the services that we have just at a phone call, or a car drive," Stell acknowledged. "Going down there and just being a part of improving these people's lives, I just thought it was the coolest thing ever. So I do think about that sometimes, but man I know I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. It just feels like I am at this moment."
Stell, whose debut single, "Prayed for You," is already in the Top 15, will hit the road this fall to serve as the opening act on Chris Young's Raised on Country Tour. Find dates at Stell's official website.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Monarch Publicity/Matthew Berinato