What is your name?
My name is Matt Wagner and I go by MNERVA for my artist alias.
What is your genre of music?
I am an alternative artist that fuses together rock and hip hop.
Give us a little bio about you.
I’m originally from Germantown, Maryland and I am the son of two former musicians. I started playing drums at age five and joined my first rock band when I was 13. At that point, I dived head first into recording, rapping, and song writing and eventually moved to Nashville to pursue my musical ambitions. I started out playing drums for a bunch of pop, rock, and R&B groups before deciding I wanted to be an alternative artist. During this time, I also worked on a jukebox musical based on the catalog of Twenty-One Pilots and began my career by releasing a trailer of the show to viral success. But sadly, the project received a cease and desist letter so I pushed forward and began focusing on MNERVA full time in 2020.
What made you go into music?
Music has always been a big part of my life because of my parents, but I didn’t make a commitment to the career until I went to college. I fell in love with music because it gave me an outlet to work through my negative emotions in a productive way while simultaneously challenging me every step of the way.
Who are your influences?
The band that got me into music is Linkin Park and, to this day, I still revisit all of their albums for inspiration. The band’s ability to seamlessly fuse different genres of music amazes me and Mike Shinoda is one of the most underrated songwriters of all time. Also, I am a huge fan of Twenty One Pilots, grandson, NF, Bilmuri, The Kid LAROI, Deftones, Lin Manuel Miranda, and Post Malone. Each of these creatives push me to be a better artist when I listen to their material.
Are you signed?
I am not signed yet and have financed everything for MNERVA myself.
Your new single ‘Stuck’ is out now, tell us more about the single.
My next single “Stuck” will be my first new single in 9 months and is set to be released on April 30th. The song dives into why I haven’t put out music in so long and I think it’s the perfect relatable comeback single. I can’t wait for y’all to finally hear it.
What is the meaning behind the single?
“Stuck” is my pandemic song and was inspired by the hopelessness I felt during the 2020 quarantine. I had to move back in with my parents after the world shut down and in only a few months I had lost all of my motivation to be productive. I felt like I was living through groundhog’s day. Everyday all I did was binge TV, play old video games, and consume social media content. I’ve never felt more like such a loser in my life but I didn’t know how to get out of the vicious cycle, especially because my self-worth has always been connected to my productivity. Writing “Stuck” was actually the wakeup call I needed to finally get help and I started therapy a week later to finally get my life back on track.
Describe the track in two words.
Energetic and relatable
What was the writing and recording process like?
I wrote the song with artist/producer, Kory Shore, back in November of 2020. I came into the session with some basic lyrics to get started and Kory immediately started singing the song’s chorus melody. From there, the lyrics came very quickly and we finished the song and the track in a few hours and then recorded vocals a week later once I had time to live with the song for a few days. I had a lot of dirty laundry to air out on this track so it was extremely freeing to finally admit that I hadn’t been doing well for the last few months on record.
Listen to the single here
Will we see an EP or Album and if so, what can we expect from it?
I am in the final stages of finishing my first EP, “Talk Too Much” as we speak. It will be a six-song project and contains completely new music. These new songs are much more rock than my prior material and it very much feels like I am going back to my roots with this record. Lyrically, it covers everything from my fears about the future, to my failed relationships, to where I see myself in five years and the EP has a huge focus on mental health. More than anything, this project feels like a culmination of all of my creative ventures and I can’t wait to finally start releasing material from it this summer.
What else can we expect in 2021?
I don’t have the release date nailed down yet but you will definitely see my first EP, “Talk Too Much” this summer and then I will have a few more stand-alone singles planned from there for the fall.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
You know, I love when people ask this because the last track on my EP is literally all about how I have no idea how to answer this question. The song’s hook is “in five years I hope it gets better than this” and that’s the best way I know how to answer that question honestly. I hope by then I’ll finally be able to pay my bills by monetizing my creativity but the most important thing for me is that I’m happy so in five years I see myself finally accepting who I am and making the best music of my career by surrounding myself with an amazing community of people.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
A friend of mine always says that in life there are three metrics: fast, quality, and cheap. Pick two of those. In other words, if you want something done well and quickly, it’s probably not going to be cheap or if you want something done fast and cheap, it’s probably not going to be very good. I love this quote because, in everything I do as an artist, I always make sure to pick high quality and that means I must be willing to sacrifice both my money and my time in order to create something great. Although it’s easier to cut corners, I believe that I’ll be better off for taking the harder path in the long run.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
When I’m playing a show, I gotta make sure I don’t forget my drum sticks (I’m famous for this), my in-ears, my SPD-SX drum pad, my laptop, and my favorite red jacket.
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?
You can follow me on Instagram and Tik Tok @I_am _mnerva and on Youtube and Facebook by looking up MNERVA. Additionally, I just finished up my website www.mnervaofficial.com so check that out for new updates about what I’ve got going on.