The unmistakable voice of Grammy Award winner Kathy Mattea explores music’s most basic human essence through timeless melodies and uplifting narratives. Singer, musician, songwriter, public speaker, activist: Mattea’s music and message have taken her to venues across America from Maine to Alaska, and overseas from England to Morocco, from college campuses to capitol buildings, and from festivals to concert halls.
Mattea’s music has spoken to millions of people during her 20-plus years as a singer, songwriter, and recording artist. In recent years she has found a growing audience for the words and ideas she has to offer on a variety of issues, ranging from arts education to finding your creative path to global climate change. Often interweaving her message with musical selections, Kathy’s presentations seek to provide her audience with spiritual nourishment: food not only for thought, but also for the soul.
A dedicated arts and education advocate, Mattea is also deeply involved in social and environmental activism. She believes that music can influence social change by giving a voice to those who have none. Trained by Al Gore following An Inconvenient Truth, Mattea has traveled the country with her own lecture presentation, My Coal Journey, a reflection on her coal country heritage, her personal experiences as an activist, and her artistic journey. An accomplished speaker, Mattea was chosen to deliver keynote addresses at both the Arts Northwest and Performing Arts Exchange conferences in 2010.
Mattea presents “My Coal Journey”, a one-hour program incorporating stories from her family history and her current advocacy for the environment, combined with a Powerpoint slideshow and a performance of songs from her 2008 release, “COAL”. The presentation traces Kathy’s motivation for beginning the recording project, her research into the musical genre’s history and elemental style, and her family’s ties to coal mining culture in Appalachia, along with discussion of environmental and social justice issues surrounding coal mining methods in today’s world.
Kathy reflects on the role that the arts played in her formative years and career choices, discusses their role in focusing our identity and building our communities, and advocates for increased support and emphasis today and for the future.
Mattea tells her story: the journey from college student and amateur folksinger to a successful music career, highlighting a few of the important lessons learned along the way. The talk is especially helpful for those in search of their own artistic path, including a perspective on some of the nuts-and-bolts experiences that help de-mystify an artistic/spiritual approach to a secular world.