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  An Interview with Songwriter
Matthew West
Discussing His 'Brand New' Album & The 'Heartbreaking Story'
of a New Song

by Deborah Evans Price - Billboard Magazine

 With 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?

  It's 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 believed in.

Have you signed any other artists yet?

  We 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?

  I wrote 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 - Click Here)

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?

  I 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?

  Yes, 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.

See Matthew West Perform 'The God Who Stays' Live at the Caverns

Click Here

See the Official Music Video for "Nobody"
with Casting Crowns featuring
Matthew West -
Click Here

See Matthew Wests' live acoustic performance of "Broken Things"
Click Here

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 story...
  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?

  We're going 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 opening.

~ from billboard.com ~  


  Multi-Award 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.

  The debut 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' stories.

  "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."

  West has 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 Podcast.

  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 performance.


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News and Information for the Atlanta church family


Matthew West
"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.

Matthew West
"Broken Things"
(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 "Broken Things."

Matthew West
(Hello My Name Is: Discover Your
True Identity)

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.

Matthew West
(Live Forever)
Deluxe Edition

Coming 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.

Matthew West
"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."

Matthew West
"The Story Of Your Life"

Matthew West
"Something To Say"

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"