Tara Ziemba/WireImage Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey is looking to give an emerging artist their big break.
Speaking to PEOPLE about 101 Bold Nights, a Wild Turkey initiative where he serves as creative director, the How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days star detailed the importance of opening doors for people — just like someone did for him once.
"I've had people open up doors for me. You can't really do anything for somebody once they're in the door, but if you can help open a door and go, 'The mic is plugged in, you better hit it, better make it happen,' there's some things that they're going to be able to learn from this," he said.
In collaboration with Wild Turkey and Spaceflight Records, the 52-year-old actor is helping launch a mentorship program called #101BoldNightsMusicMentorship. Within the program, McConaughey and Spaceflight Records are seeking an emerging musical artist, to whom the record label will offer personalized mentorship.
Wild Turkey 101 Bold Nights
"We want to find bands that we go, 'Hey, you know what? This band trusts their spirit,' " he says. "You only get one time for a first impression in so many of these businesses, and it's a tough gig to make it in the music business, obviously. But there's a lot of things that I'm sure musicians, bands that have made it can go, 'Oh, if I'd have known then what I know now, I could have done this differently or better.' "
He continues, "That's what we're hoping to let some emerging band know now. And the band that we like, hopefully they're great musicians and great storytellers at the same time."
In light of the mentorship program, McConaughey reflected on his time spent in the music industry with reggae artist Mishka in 2009 — and his record label J.K. Livin Records. At the time, the actor worked as a producer for Mishka, but eventually stepped away because he "started a family and had other things to manage."
"I know how hard it is for a young band to get in or get heard," McConaughey says.
With that, he only wishes to help, as Don Phillips did for him when he helped him land his role in Dazed and Confused.
"He gave me a chance to read, got me in the door. Once I was in the door, I did enough to get the job," he says. "And then, he was the guy that once Dazed and Confused came out and I graduated college and drove to Hollywood with $2,000 in my pocket, he's the guy who said, 'You can sleep on my couch,' which I did for months."
With the mentorship competition, musicians can enter by posting a video of an original song on their public Instagram account, sharing their story in the caption, mentioning #101BoldNightsMusicMentorship, and tagging @WildTurkey. The competition will end Oct. 19. See the full rules here.
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In addition, Wild Turkey will be hosting a benefit concert on Oct. 8 in Austin, Texas, and all bar proceeds will go to Spaceflight Records.
For McConaughey, lending a hand is a lifestyle: "If you're in the giving back business, you got job security for your life."
"There's a lot of people that don't get the light shined on them so we're just trying to shine a light on people like that," he says. "And now, live music's back, we're trying to shine a light on a band that hopefully has great musical talent and is also great writers and storytellers and give them a chance to go share their music."
"Maybe I'll let them sleep on my couch," he jokes. "[But] I got a few people I got to check in before I say yes to that one."