Meet Matty Fresh: The Voice Behind “Trace McSorley”
Two years removed from taking snaps in Happy Valley, Penn State’s record-breaking former quarterback Trace McSorley is once again taking the football world by storm. Despite currently being listed as the third-string option on the Baltimore Ravens depth chart, McSorley has seen a surge in popularity thanks to the work of one former Penn State student and CommRadio contributor.
Matt Freiler, who graduated from Penn State in 2019, wrote and published the song “Trace McSorley” in August 2018, leading up to McSorley’s final season in the blue and white. The song initially saw popularity within the Penn State community, but one would not believe the type of resurgence the song would have just two years later.
Originally resurfacing as a popular sound on the app TikTok, the official music video for “Trace McSorley” on YouTube has skyrocketed in popularity through recent weeks, surpassing one million views on Thursday. Freiler, like many, can’t believe how quick his song went viral.
“I started noticing the view count was shooting up,” Freiler said. “I’m talking 150,000 [views] a day, if not more.”
Even the NFL’s official TikTok account got in on the trend, a moment which Freiler has seen as a huge opportunity for him.
“That was a turning point,” Freiler said. “I thought it was just a meme that people would get behind, but if you had the league using it, that was a totally different animal.”
Freiler has been producing music since his senior year of high school. While it’s primarily been a side interest of his, he’s no stranger to success.
“In 2014, I had my first big break with a song called ‘Skook State of Mind,’ which was a nod to my hometown [Schuylkill County],” Freiler said. “From there, whenever I had an idea that I thought would be big, I just kind of went with it.”
Freiler had also written a song about former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, which was used as part of Fox’s coverage of the Penn State–Ohio State football game in 2017. “Trace McSorley” was also played as part of a package on ESPN’s social media accounts in the past.
In addition, Freiler’s music has paved the way for numerous opportunities, which helped launch a career in broadcast journalism.
“Somebody might notice a song, but then that relationship turns into something professional,” Freiler said. “I’ve secured so many of my internships and accomplishments because of my music.”
Despite all the attention that’s arisen for Freiler, he’s been consistently humble through the process. He’s made it clear that the spotlight should go to the inspirations for his music—in this case, McSorley.
“[McSorley] is the one who should be getting all the credit for this, because I made this song about him,” Freiler said. “There’s a lot of people out there that still can’t put a face to a sound, when it comes to me, and I’m cool with that. I've never wanted it to be about me.”
Although there’s been many enjoyable aspects of being the artist of a viral song, one stands out to Freiler the most: the rendition of lyrics on social media, when Freiler has yet to release official lyrics. This leads to the translation of certain lines being up to interpretation, making for plenty of parody and discourse among the hit’s growing audience.
“That’s probably my favorite part so far,” Freiler said. “Finding an Adam Schefter tweet, scrolling down and seeing my lyrics, but they’re so wrong. If the fans make the lyrics, then I don’t have to.”
“Trace McSorley” is now available on Apple Music and Spotify. Freiler, known as “Matty Fresh” on most platforms, feels optimistic about producing more content in the not-so-distant future.
Andre Magaro is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Senior / Broadcast Journalism