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An Interview with Songwriter
Discussing His 'Brand New' Album & The 'Heartbreaking Story'
of a New Song
by Deborah Evans Price -
the release of Brand New, veteran singer-songwriter
Matthew West has embarked on a new chapter in his successful
career: the collection marks the first album under his new deal
with Sony's Provident Music Group since launching his own
imprint Story House Music.
A Billboard Music Award and American Music Award winner, West has been a
mainstay on the Christian charts for nearly two decades with
such hits as "More," "You are Everything," "Hello, My Name
Is" and "The Motions." He has also had more than 130
songs recorded by other artists, among them Rascal Flatts,
Scotty McCreery, Billy Ray Cyrus, Amy Grant, Casting Crowns
and Michael W. Smith.
During a whirlwind media day in New York City, West took time to catch up
with Billboard and discuss his latest project.
How does it
feel to have your first album out
on your own imprint?
very exciting. I had a wonderful opportunity to work with
[Capitol Christian Music Group] for nine records together, and
we had a great relationship. I wound up having some great
meetings with Sony and Provident and they were really excited to
partner on a larger scale, which not only involves my records,
but also allowed me to bring artists to the table that I
Have you signed any other artists yet?
signed our first artist who our management company has begun to
develop. Her name is Leanna Crawford and her first single
["Funeral"] has just released. I met this college kid
singing at a songwriter conference that I was speaking at and I
was just blown away by her. I really feel there is a shortage of
female artists in the Christian music industry, and the reason I
really notice that so much is because of my daughters and what
they are drawn to. We did an independent EP and I brought her
out on the road. She sold about 15,000 copies of that EP and
started to build her story a little bit and then as we began
this joint venture with Provident and my company, Story House,
everybody was super excited to make her the first - or I should
say the second artist - on that roster.
Your video for "The God Who Stays" already has over five
million views. What inspired that song?
that song for me because, even though I'm a good little
professional Christian singer I tend to get involved in too many
one-man fights and it's me beating myself up for falling short
of perfect. I'm just wondering, "God, why aren't you done with
me? How come you still use me in spite of me and how come you
still love me?"
It's awesome to be reminded that, even if it feels like nobody else is in
our corner, He's the God who stays. I'm glad to see that that is
resonating, and it's gone to No. 1 on the Christian charts.
(On Billboard's Contemporary Christian Current Top 25 National Airplay
Hits chart, it's up to #4 -
You've always had a reputation for not only writing songs that
capture your journey, but also what other people are going
through. Songs on your The Story of Your Life album were
written from stories fans shared with you. Do you feel a
responsibility when you make a record to tell other people's
stories not just your own?
wouldn't call it a responsibility. I get excited about the
possibility of that. It's become something that is woven into
the fabric or fiber of my whole creative process. If I didn't do
that, I would feel maybe somewhat less than creatively
fulfilled. But more importantly, there is something special that
takes place when I'm writing a song inspired by one person's
story. It shifts my focus because so many of us are trying to
write songs for the masses because the more people that it
connects with, the more it sells and the more people you reach
and then the more people come to your show. Your focus then
becomes so broad and sometimes you can work so hard to appeal to
everybody that you wind up appealing to nobody.
Something about writing a song inspired by one person has always
succeeded in shifting my focus and narrowing my focus. Instead,
if I'm writing a song for William and if it makes William's day,
then that right there is exactly what it is intended to do. That
there is a victory and that's a special thing.
On the new album, "Walking Miracles" was written for a
guy named William, wasn't it?
this kid came to my show and he was so excited to tell his story
to me. After a stroke at three weeks old, the doctors told his
parents he wasn't going to survive, and he did. Then they said,
"Well he's never going to talk," and he began talking. Then they
said, "He's never going to walk," and he slowly began walking
and then the doctors said, "Well, he may walk, but he's never
going to run." And he said, "Matthew, I told my story on Easter
Sunday in front of 900 people and when I got to the part about
how the doctor said I would never run, I dropped the mic and I
ran a lap around my church." He said they all started
cheering... This kid had so much to overcome and yet he has this
giant smile on his face.
I want to put another smile on his face. So I came back to Nashville
after hearing that story and the first line of his song says,
"Let me tell you about William." A few weeks ago, we flew to Las
Cruces, New Mexico, and showed up at his house. Only his mom and
dad knew that we were coming. We ordered pizza and hung out and
we filmed a music video. He helped direct it. He held the
camera. It was such a special day.
'The God Who Stays'
Live at the Caverns
the Official Music Video for "Nobody"
with Casting Crowns featuring
Matthew West -
live acoustic performance of
There's a song on your new album about a boy in your daughter's
school who committed suicide. That must have been
difficult to write.
Sam was a
sixth-grade student. The whole school was just stunned. He used to
sit in class with [my daughter] Lulu. It's a nice little Christian
school in the Bible belt of America. Depression doesn't know limits.
Depression doesn't discriminate. This sweet boy was fighting a
battle and he couldn't see his way out of it. It's a heartbreaking
Usually the most exciting part I get to do is play a song that I wrote
for the individual or family who I wrote it for, but this song about
Sam, I've been more scared to do that because of the topic it deals
with and the loss this family has endured. I'm hoping [his parents]
will see it as part of the legacy that their son has left behind.
What are your tour plans for 2020?
to do 30 cities [with Casting Crowns] across the country in
March and April. We had a duet together this year, "Nobody,"
that was a really special thing and it was a big song this year for
us. Then I'll be touring throughout the summer playing festivals,
but in the fall we're doing our own headlining tour that we're
putting into place right now. Leanna Crawford is going to be
from billboard.com ~
MULTI-AWARD WINNING SINGER/SONGWRITER MATTHEW WEST
RELEASES BRAND NEW -
HIS NEW STUDIO ALBUM
Winning singer/songwriter Matthew West releases his new
studio project, Brand New, as his first album on Provident
Label Group/Sony Music and his imprint Story House Music.
radio single, "The God Who Stays," is already a No. 1 hit on
the AC Indicator chart and continues to climb the National Christian
Audience chart where it landed at No. 4 this week. This song was the
first song of six songs that West has shared over the last few
months from the 14-track project. The official music video has also
impacted his audience already hitting more than 5.4 million views.
Even a Dove-award winning, Grammy-nominated Christian artist can feel
distanced from that moment they become 'brand new' in Christ, which
is largely what inspired West's new album, where he addresses the
question every believer asks at some point on his or her Christian
journey: When I feel far away from my brand new moment, can I go
back to it?
Many of the tracks on Brand New strike a balance between
addressing the pain and reality of life while offering hope. They
bring a message that West has been writing since the beginning of
his career. West also strikes a balance between personal songs based
on his faith experience and songs written in response to others'
"I almost feel like a new artist," he says, "but with the experience of a
veteran. I think that could be a recipe for being in a sweet spot in
any field - to have the fire of the new and the experience...
"I like to think that I'm getting closer and closer to the most authentic
version of me as a communicator and me as a songwriter, but
hopefully most of all, me as a person."
celebrated his release taping special performances and interviews
over the last few weeks. The special on Sirius XM, The Message -
Delivered Live: Matthew West, aired in February. Other
media that have touted this release include Billboard Magazine,
Guideposts, CCM Magazine, and the Annie Downs That Sounds Fun
He will head out on tour this spring with label-mates Casting Crowns
on the "Only Jesus" tour beginning on March 5th. Georgia
stops on the tour include Athens on March 20 at The Classic Center,
March 21 in Savannah at the MLK Arena and in Albany on April 10 at
the Albany Civic Center.
He will also return to the Grand Ole Opry on February 21st for a
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News and Information for the
Atlanta church family
"The God Who Stays"
(from Brand New)
I am beyond excited to announce that my album "Brand New" will be coming out February 14th and is available now! I'm so proud of this record and I can't wait to share it with you.
Pre-add/pre-save/pre-order now and instantly get The God Who Stays, What If,
and Truth Be Told.
(from All In)
For his latest album, CCM favorite Matthew West spent time in
solitude, writing and recording his new material from a place of
worship and grace. All In showcases Matt's knack for storytelling
and in-demand songwriter's chops on a collection of brand new songs,
including the inspiring lead single
My Name Is: Discover Your
Are you struggling to find your true identity? Or been damaged by
somebody's hurtful words? Through the stories that his fans have
shared with him, award-winning Christian music singer/songwriter
West helps you reconnect with your own best self so that you can
show others your identity isn't found within---but through Jesus
Christ. 224 pages, softcover from Worthy.
off the fastest-selling album of his career, the award-winning
songwriter is back with a fresh new collection of contemporary hits.
Includes the radio single "Day One"; "The List"; "World
Changers"; "Grace Wins"; "Tryin'"; "Mended"; "Anything Is Possible";
"Born for This"; "Oh, Me of Little Faith"; "Heaven Is the Hope";
and the title track.
"Into The Light"
In-demand singer/songwriter Matthew
West returns with his seventh release, Into the Light.
Continuing his journey of drawing inspiration from true stories of
people's lives, he's written an album of all-new songs including the
first single "Forgiveness," which tells the story of a mother
forgiving the drunk driver that took her daughter's life. Into
the Light encourages people to embrace the hope and restoration
in Christ, in the middle of life's toughest challenges. Includes the
hits "Forgiveness," and "Hello, My Name Is."
"The Story Of
Matthew West knows how to write massive songs that connect
with Christian music listeners right on the bull's eye. On his third
album Something To Say Matthew explodes with even bigger
songs of passion and lives lived for Christ. Includes the hits
"The Motions," and
"You Are Everything"