Kitchen Sink exclusive with Matthew West
Matthew West fans – watch a fantastic performance Matthew did exclusively for Gospel Music Channel.com on The Kitchen Sink page!
by Jenny Bennett
Were all of the songs on Something to Say (check outthe album preview in our Street Date section) written before you had to have surgery on yourvocal cord?
Yes. Every song, with the exception of a few lyric tweaks, was written before I hada polyp removed from my right vocal cord.
Amazing that the album title and many of the songs fit so well with what happened, losing and regaining your voice. How do you think that occurred? It was sort of like foreshadowing in a novel.
Exactly. My creative process is typically the exact opposite of what happened. Usually I "stop the presses" as soon as something comes up that I want to share through music. But this time God showed it to me in a different way. The songs that I thought I understood, I really didn't, and He revealed them to me in a new light after I went through this experience. It's kind of like when you're in the 4th grade taking notes and you think you understand everything, but until you take the test you don't truly realize the extent of what you learned.
On one of your video blogs you talked about the fact that you felt vulnerable and maybe a bit self-conscious when you started to heal and sing again post-surgery. What was that like for you?
There was definitely a fear involved during that season of my life. I feared losing the ability to do what I love. I wondered if my voice would sound different. Ultimately what it meant for me was a push towards total dependence on God. I always say that I trust God, but really I was relying a whole lot on my own abilities. I think if we're honest with ourselves we all do that. But we can't do it all, and that's why we serve the God that we do. One thing I want to express in my music, and letpeople know that I experience it too and there is a light at the end of the tunnel,is defeat and humility and weakness and brokenness – all of that's part of real life.
When you stepped on stage for the first time since the surgery, you said it felt great. Was it just a totally different feeling than you'd ever felt before?
Yes. I realize now more than ever that it's my whole life experience that God wants to use, and that my songs are just the vehicle. Now I just want to soak up the moment and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be back in the game.
What is the songwriting process like for you?
A lot of times Christian music is defined as songs about faith, but I choose to define it as songs about life from the perspective of faith, and I do think there's a difference. A songwriter is primarily an observer of life, and I try to see in the ordinary what could be amazing.
Emily, my wife, and my daughter Lulu are probably a little bit in every song. I definitely wrote Safe and Sound for my daughter.
Tell me about your family. What's it like being a dad and also having such a demanding career?
Every career is demanding unless you're Donald Trump or you've won the lotto, right? You know, when I hear musicians say that it's such a hard life, I think, yeah, but mowin' lawns is a hard life too. The way I approach it is like this: every time I leave home it's like making a withdrawal from a bank, so that when I come home and I'm with my wife and daughter, I just have to put as much effort and time into it as possible. At times I have more flexibility than a 9-to-5 job would have, because when I'm gone, I'm gone for two days, but when I come home I'm able to spend a lot of time at home.
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