Many know Matt Watroba as the voice of folk music in Michigan for his work with WDET–Detroit Public Radio. As producer and host of the Folks Like Us program, and the nationally syndicated, Sing Out Radio Magazine and Folk Alley, Watroba has come in contact with many aspects of folk music and culture. This has helped shape a repertoire and presentation that is unique on stages across the state and country. He is committed to inspiring the world to sing-- one town at a time. In 2019, Matt, along with his life-long musical partner Robert Jones, Co-founded the Detroit Non-Profit, Common Chords. Also in 2019, Matt Was inducted into the Folk DJ Hall of Fame at the Folk Alliance International conference in Montreal.
Veteran performer, teacher, radio host, song writer...the list goes on, but what Matt prefers to be known as is a community singer, song leader and educator.
Matt was born in Detroit and raised in Plymouth, MI. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Michigan University, majoring in English, Language & Literature with a minor in Theatre Arts and Communication. Throughout his high school and college career, Matt performed in a variety of plays and productions inspiring his love and enthusiasm for communicating to an audience from the stage. However, Matt’s main passion gravitated toward music and education.
As a teacher, Matt worked for twelve years in the Plymouth Canton school system. His classes in the areas of English, Journalism and Speech always focused on innovative ways of cross-curricular learning. This experience translated directly to the hundreds of school assemblies and workshops he's performed with Robert Jones and the Music That Matters programs. He is also a regular instructor at the Swannanoa Gathering near Asheville, NC teaching classes on performance and community singing. His dynamic stage presence and strategy-packed presentations are evidence of someone who understands how to connect with audiences to create a thoroughly worthwhile learning experience.
Matt is a founding member of the National Folk Alliance and a charter member of the Board of Directors for Ann Arbor’s The Ark, both non-profit organizations formed to promote and preserve folk music. Matt is a published writer, having penned dozens of articles and reviews for Sing Out!, the national magazine of American folk and roots music founded by Pete Seeger in 1950.
His love of folk music led him to his position as the host and creator of the popular Folks Like Us program, a position he held for over 20 years on WDET-FM In Detroit. He also produced and hosted the syndicated, Sing Out! Radio Magazine heard on the XM Satellite network as well as the internet service Folk Alley. He is currently the host of Folk With Matt Watroba on WKAR Michigan State Public Media. Matt, along with his life-long musical partner Robert Jones, Co-founded the Detroit Non-Profit, Common Chords. Also in 2019, Matt Was inducted into the Folk DJ Hall of Fame at the Folk Alliance International conference in Montreal.
Matt sings and writes songs of compassion, inner strength, humor, and every day living. He was awarded "Best Overall Folk Performer" by the Detroit Music Awards for the year 2000, and his long list of credits include the prestigious Ann Arbor Folk Festival, the Detroit 300 Celebration, The Ark, Louisville’s Kentucky Music Weekend, The Fox Valley Festival, Chicago IL, The Old Songs Festival, Guilderland, NY, Owen Sound Folk Festival, Ontario, Canada and hundreds of school and community presentations throughout the Great Lakes region. He has shared the stage with some of our greatest performers, including Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Arlo Guthrie, Christine Lavin, Peter Yarrow, and Richard Thompson. He sings songs that you will feel and remember for a long time. You will love his music, you will love the journey that his music takes you on, and you will love the place that his music takes you to.
Matt brings a unique set of talents to the stage as an educator, performer and master of ceremonies. His passion for bringing community together through music and education is infectious. Add to that Matt's own special brand of humor and you are in for a most entertaining and enlightening experience.