JERSEYVILLE - Nashville recording artist Mattie Schell will return home to Jerseyville for the city’s annual Rock the Block music series.

Kicking off at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 31, 2024, the first Rock the Block of the summer will feature Schell in City Center Park. Schell said she couldn’t be more excited to come back home and share her music with family and friends.

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“I think I owe a lot of my musical success, any that I’ve had yet at all, to Jerseyville,” Schell said. “I’m excited that they asked me. I’m honored that they asked me. I’ve played in Jerseyville a few times over the years, but I haven’t played my solo project and my new record there yet at all, so I’m excited to share that with everybody.”

Rock the Block is an annual tradition in the City of Jerseyville. Will Strang, Director of Tourism and Community Development, explained that the music series invites local musicians to play throughout the summer. Schell will be followed by Porch Cafe on June 21, Tanglefoot on Aug. 16, and Jake Mauer on Sept. 13.

“It started several years ago, kind of coming out of the COVID pandemic, just as a way to generate some community excitement and interest, get everybody together and showcase as many musical acts as we could,” Strang explained. “Music is always a community driver. People love to rally around a fun musical event, and there's a lot of musical acts in the area.”

This includes Schell, who now lives in St. Louis but grew up in Jerseyville across the street from Dairy Land. She was raised in a musical family and participated in band and choir as a student at Jersey Community High School. At age 18, she moved to Nashville to attend college, where she lived near Music Row.

Schell eventually signed with Compass Records. She has spent the last few years writing and recording her debut album, which will be released later this year.

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“It’s just kind of a full-circle moment for me,” she said. “When I was 18, I went to college and I wanted to do music and I wanted to go to Nashville for it. You have all these high hopes and these dreams and everything. You’re so young. And it didn’t happen for me then, but at this point, I’m glad it didn't because I really wasn’t ready. But it’s really cool that I signed with this record label that’s just blocks from where my dorm room was. It just took me an extra 20 years to get there.”

Schell worked with her husband to write many of the songs on the album. She often goes to him with the beginning of a song, and they finish it together. While he won’t be traveling to Jerseyville with her — he’s currently on tour with another band — he has been her biggest supporter throughout this process, and Schell noted that she is grateful for the opportunity to make music alongside him.

The experience of sharing her music with the world is exciting, especially as Schell receives positive feedback on her single “Let You Let Me.” She noted that it’s been a lot of hard work to get to where she is, but she’s proud of what she’s doing and eager to release her album later this year.

“It’s very, for lack of a better word, validating, because musicians work really, really hard,” she added. “There’s a handful that get huge success. These days, it’s rare to even get a record deal, especially for an independent artist like me. It’s purely that they liked the music and they’re giving me a chance.”

And Jerseyville is eager to welcome Schell home, where people will be able to see her play one last time before the record debuts. For more information about Schell and to keep up with her work, follow her official Facebook page and Instagram profile.

Rock the Block will run from 6–9 p.m. on Friday, May 31, 2024. Strang encourages all community members to come out and enjoy the live music and fun.

“With Mattie being from here, having gone on to experience some exciting record production and things like that, we’re really excited to have her back and be able to spread the exciting news about her new album that’ll be coming out soon,” Strang said. “In Jerseyville, we’re a small, tight-knit community. Being able to provide that atmosphere where everybody can come out together and celebrate, whether it’s music or food or just the downtown community, we’re excited to do that.”

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