American Songwriter Lyric Contest Winner Releases Album On Jimmy Buffett’s Label

In the song “Dear Jimmy Buffett,” Matt Hoggatt tells the mayor of Margaritaville that he “could sure use a record deal.”

Buffett took the songwriter’s plea to heart. Earlier this month, Hoggatt, a detective from Gauthier, Mississippi, released Hotter Than Fishgrease on Mailboat Records, the label owned and operated by the famous beachcombing singer.

“It’s really a cool thing to work for a boss whose motto is, ‘It’s 5 o’clock somewhere,’” Hoggatt says.

For Hoggatt, the road to Margaritaville began with the lyric contest. His song nabbed top honors in the January/February 2012 competition.

Once news about the winning-song broke, a rep from Buffett’s camp contacted Hoggatt and asked if he could play the song backstage before one of Jimmy’s concerts in Birmingham. After Hoggatt performed the tune, Buffett played a song he’d just written called “Dear Matt Hoggatt,” and then asked Matt to perform on stage with him that night. (Watch a video of the performance here.)

Since then, Hoggatt has performed frequently at various Margaritaville venues throughout the southeast. “I’ve gotten a good response from his fan base and the new people that I’ve come across through that,” he says.

Hotter Than Fishgrease is currently featured on iTunes and but is also available at the websites of Amazon, Kmart and The new album features the award-winning song (with a guest appearance by Buffett) and ten more original tracks.

Hoggatt will continue to perform at Margaritaville locations throughout the Southeast in 2013. He will also play several dates in Pensacola in early February 2013, in conjunction with Buffett’s Feb. 5 show at Pensacola Civic Center.

The lyric contest winner says he continues to juggle the music life with his career as a detective. He continues to write songs, and has begun co-writing with a few Nashville songwriters.  “I just keep making songs as fast and as good as I can,” he says.

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