Matthew West on Telling Stories Through Song and How Steven Curtis Chapman Influenced His Musical Calling

The Christian singer’s new album is all about returning to the heart of faith. 

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- Posted on Feb 13, 2020

Matthew West

Matthew West has been a professional musician for nearly two decades. In five albums and numerous songs written for stars such as Rascal Flatts and Casting Crowns, he has established himself as an artist who loves to tell stories—his own and others. He describes his songs as “drenched in hope.”

Several years ago, he created an album entirely of stories his fans had shared with him. His newest album, Brand New features songs he wrote in response to people he met on tour and his personal experiences.

“I tell my story, I tell your story and it all equals our story, right?” West told Guideposts.org.

Although the album is titled Brand New in homage to West’s new studio and new recording contract, he considers it to truly be about returning. 

“On the cover of the album there's a blue couch,” West said. “The reason for that is because that blue couch is a significant moment in my life.”

The couch was in the living room of his parent’s house and was where he was sitting when he became a Christian.

“A lot of these songs are about me wanting to return to that kid on the blue couch who didn't know much, didn't know as much as he does now, but just knew…that God was the real author of his story,” West said.

The couch also has musical significance to West. When his parents first saved up to buy the couch, his dad used the money to buy West his first guitar instead. In his new music, West is trying recreate the excitement and energy of when he was young in his faith and first discovering music.

“The heartbeat of the record [is] returning to the promises of God,” West said. “It's like all things [are] moving forward, but also returning to the beauty of that first time faith.”

In nearly 20 years of performing, West has not lost sight of the calling he feels like God placed on his life when he was in college and attended a Steven Curtis Chapman concert.

“I remember he was chewing on a cough drop during his show because he had a sore throat but there was something about it that I thought that was so cool, the fact that he was telling us, that he was singing through a sore throat,” West said. “I sat there at the end of the concert and I just couldn't move. I was crying. It was very similar to the blue couch moment.”

In that moment, West said he felt God calling him to become a musician and tell the world about God. Years later, West and Chapman would collaborate on a song about God calling people to do something greater. The calling West felt that night has carried him through five albums, countless concerts and inspired thousands of fans to share their stories with him, all with a single goal.

“If one thing gets accomplished through the music that I put out into the world, it would be that people…they would find that blue couch moment [and] hear God knocking at the door of their heart,” West said.

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