From a gun to a guitar, Matt Hoggatt’s story is unlike any other.
“I always thought it was a lot better to be in the front seat of a police car instead of the back seat.” ~ Matt Hoggatt
For 13 years of my life, I put on a badge and a gun for a living. I saw some amazing things and some awful things during my time as a cop. The people I met along the way were a mixture of both as well. I still have a tremendous amount of respect for the job and the people that wear the uniform. Throughout it all, I was able to find peace in one thing that I truly loved…music. Ever since I was a kid I had played musical instruments. I started in the junior high marching band with the trumpet which carried me through high school and 2 years of college. It was only when I started taking college less-seriously that I figured out that I wanted to play the guitar. My GPA dropped, but my song repertoire started to grow. Sometimes I would sit in the stare-well of our college house in Hattiesburg, MS and makeup songs about what everyone was doing at that particular moment. As I got better, I became a frequenter of open mic night at a place called the “Julep Room” in Ocean Springs, MS.
“The first time I discovered the Julep Room, I don’t know if it was the local music, or one of the bartender Mike Shaffer’s long-island ice teas, but I couldn’t get enough. I was completely hooked on the idea of songwriting.” – Matt Hoggatt
Eventually this led to my first coffee shop gig. I made 30 dollars and all I could drink coffee. I didn’t sleep for an entire day after the gig. From there I started playing local bars like the Julep Room and festivals to make extra money on the side. I was writing songs, learning cover songs and making up songs on the fly for extra tips at gigs. I started hosting my own open mic nights and began to network with local writers. Living 8 hours from Nashville was something that we all thought would hurt us as writers so we started traveling to Nashville for songwriting classes. Sometimes we would host our own classes and invite writers to Mississippi. Along the way, I also got into entering songwriting contests. I won a few and came close to winning a few more. I won prizes that ranged from cans of chili, to acoustic guitars. All of this I did while working full time as a police detective in my town.
In 2012 my life changed. I entered a song contest with American Songwriter Magazine and won first place. My winning song was entitled “Dear Jimmy Buffett,” and in the song I asked Jimmy for a record deal. Low and behold, Jimmy heard the song and reached out to me. Next thing I knew, I was on stage with Jimmy in front of 14,000 fans for a surprise duet performance which included a new song by Jimmy called “Dear Matt Hoggatt.” To this day I still can’t find anyone who scored a record deal quite like I did.
Since then, I’ve been touring all over the country playing music for whoever will listen. I have opened for and shared the stage with numerous artists including Mac McAnally, Paul Thorn, Ronnie McDowell, and of course…Jimmy Buffett.
Awards and Accolades:
- 2010 American Songwriter Magazine – Lyric Contest Winner
- NSAI Spring Training Song Contest- Winner
- Zac Brown “Sailing Southern Ground” – Finalist
- “Song Of The Year Contest” – Best Country Category
- American Songwriter Magazine / Amy Speace Song Contest – Winner
- Vietti Chili Jingle Contest – Winner
- 2012 American Songwriter Magazine – Lyric Contest Winner
- 2012 “Get Yer Rodney On” Rodney Carrington Contest – Winner
- 2013 American Songwriter Magazine – Lyric Contest Winner
For booking information, contact Matt Hoggatt.