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For many recording artists, the desire to find fame and fortune results from a multitude of factors. But for country recording artist Matt Snook, the motivation to do so is driven by the charitable voice that would come along with it. ‘To have a platform from which to speak out in honor of those that may not have the voice to do so for themselves is the ultimate reward in what I do.”
Born and raised on his parents’ farm in Edgerton, Missouri, Snook’s musical abilities were apparent early on. Drawing talent from both sides of the family (his father’s grandfather was a musician and his cousin is Kansas City-based artist Chasity Jones), he began performing in church at the age of three. With a guiding hand from his always-encouraging mother, Snook entered the North Platte High School talent contest at age six, singing “Let the Sunshine In”, and won. In elementary school, he performed in school plays, musicals, and country music theaters until making an eventual transition into clubs, bars and honky tonks in his late teens. All the while, Snook’s parents arranged road trips to Opry houses across the country so he could perform. “My parents never pushed - always encouraged. Performing at Oprys is a wonderful memory – but the road trips with my parents were every bit as wonderful.” Snook’s journey as a songwriter began at 15, when he wrote four of the songs on his first project. Produced by Kevin Jones (Chasity’s husband and member of the North Town Opry), the album sold 500 copies in its first three months.
Despite a desire to move to Nashville after high school, Snook opted to stay local and play basketball for William Jewel College in Liberty, Missouri. He continued playing bars with his band Silverado, honing skills in musicianship, performance, and writing. After graduation, Snook took jobs in construction and phone service until joining Topeka-based Flint Hills Thunder. All the while, he made frequent weekend networking trips to Nashville and began work with America’s Huey 091 Foundation, performing at several of their events. A few years later, he formed duo VandelSnook with fellow musician Phil Vandel and, in 2009, VandelSnook was invited by America’s Huey 091 to complete an overseas tour for the troops. That same year, VandelSnook also performed at Balboa in San Diego on Christmas day. Over the next five years, Snook traveled overseas four more times to Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan as a solo artist, partnering with Troops First Foundation to do so. Back in the United States, Snook performs each year during the holidays for Snowball Express – a 5-day event for the military’s gold star families.
Snook moved his wife and two boys to Nashville at the urging of his ten-year-old son in August of 2010. Since relocating, he has continued his work in aiding the troops and their families. In November 2012, he was invited to play at George Straight’s golf course at Tapatio Springs, raising money for the Troops First Foundation. “After kicking off the night with my song “Hero’s Highway” – which I’d written for the Troops First Foundation – Ray Benson borrowed my guitar and played with Randy Rogers, Wade Bowen and Kyle Parks. When Ray had to leave early, I was invited to finish up the set before George Straight and Jamey Johnson took the stage. It was an incredible honor.” In December, Snook played at a Christmas dinner at Walter Reed (now Bethesda) in Maryland, benefiting the Troops First initiative Operation Music Heals.
Having made music his profession, he has plans to take his career as far as it will go. “I’m in this for the long-haul – my aim is a consistent, long-term career. I would love to sing on a national stage and find fame – if only to shed light on those that serve our country and have allowed me to live my dream.”