Before becoming an award-winning CCM star, Illinois native Matthew West began his professional career penning hits for other major artists. By the mid-2000s, he'd secured a major-label deal and found widespread success in the Christian music market with a string of popular albums including 2008's Something to Say and 2015's Live Forever, the latter of which found its way onto the pop charts, earning him some crossover appeal. His output and work ethic remained consistent and in 2020 he inaugurated his own label with the release of Brand New.
A high school baseball star, he'd originally hoped to attend college on a sports scholarship; instead, he accepted a four-year music scholarship from Millikin University, where he wound up recording several solo albums before graduating in 1999. On the strength of the spiritual pop songs that appeared on September Sun (1997), Every Step of the Way (1998), and Sellout (2002), he began landing work as a songwriter for hire. West also drew interest from Universal South Records, which signed the artist and released his major-label debut, the Dove Award-winning Happy, in 2003.
History followed in 2005, and West supported the album's release with the first headlining tour of his career. Excessive use of his voice led to severe medical problems, though, forcing West to undergo throat surgery in 2007 to remove multiple polyps. Following a period of vocal rest, he returned in 2008 with Something to Say. The album's lead single, "You Are Everything," became the most-played song on Christian radio in 2008, and West -- now fully healed and singing comfortably -- quickly returned to the studio to record 2010's The Story of Your Life, which also charted well. A holiday album, The Heart of Christmas, arrived in 2011, and was followed by another studio record, Into the Light, in 2012.
Three years later, 2015's Live Forever would prove to be another landmark album for West, reaching number one on the Billboard Christian Albums Chart and number 51 on the Top 200. In 2017, West returned with his seventh studio album, All In, featuring the single "Broken Things," which earned him a Songwriter of the Year award at the 2018 Dove Awards. Launching his own imprint, Story House Music, West delivered his eighth outing, Brand New, in 2020.
As someone who lives his faith in the public eye--West says he knows how easy it can be to coast, to pretend his spiritual life is in a better place than it actually is.
"That's a dangerous place to be," he says. "That's what the Bible talks about. Being lukewarm. So I've had this idea that I want to be all in like never before. I want to be all in on this record, I want to be all in with the songs that I write, I want to be all in with my time with the Lord, I want to be all in with my wife, I want to be all in with my relationship with my daughters."
West is still, and probably always will be, collecting stories through popwe.org, a web home to a nonprofit he started with his dad, Pastor Joe West. The mission of popwe is to encourage people to craft, share, and live a more meaningful life. West even formed a new company, Story House Collective, built to encourage and support the next generation of storytellers who work in the music industry.
Awesome Guy!| Posted October 26, 2010
I'm so stoked about the new album, being a JoyFM listener I got to hear a lot of the insider stuff about this album and I can't wait to own it! Plus I get to meet Matthew at the concert on Dec. 6th! Oh yea!