There are few more compelling storytellers in any genre of music than Matthew West. Whether baring his soul through introspective anthems or illuminating the life experiences of others, West has carved a successful career sharing stories that capture the myriad experiences of life. On My Story Your Glory, West incorporates a new dimension to his […]
There are few more compelling storytellers in any genre of music than Matthew West. Whether baring his soul through introspective anthems or illuminating the life experiences of others, West has carved a successful career sharing stories that capture the myriad experiences of life.
On My Story Your Glory, West incorporates a new dimension to his artistry by adding worship songs to his musical canon. The double album is an ambitious 22-song opus that includes 12 powerful story songs, much like those that have already been cornerstones in West’s career, as well as 10 soaring, lyrically substantive worship anthems that signal a new creative chapter.
“My Story Your Glory has been a big statement for me that I’ve never really put in a song,” the award-winning singer/songwriter says. “It’s a big theme of my nonprofit organization, encouraging people to know that your story matters. Your story has significance. I’m a storyteller at heart. I tell my story. I tell the story of other people’s lives and people who impacted my life. But what comes just as natural to me is leading worship. I led worship at my dad’s church growing up.”
For the Illinois native, his faith and talent have intertwined to fuel a purpose-filled life and impressive career. As an artist and songwriter, he’s scored 25 No. 1 hits. A five-time GRAMMY Award nominee, West is the reigning NSAI Songwriter-Artist of the Year putting him in the company of previous winners that include Luke Combs, Taylor Swift and Luke Bryan. His win makes him the first Christian artist to take home the honor in 20 years. In 2022, he won his fifth ASCAP Christian Songwriter of the Year award and also earned Song of the Year for “My Jesus,” which he co-wrote with Anne Wilson and Jeff Pardo.
West is the reigning KLOVE Artist of the Year, and over the course of his two-decade career, the Emmy-nominated songwriter has also earned accolades from Billboard magazine, the Gospel Music Association and the American Music Awards. In addition to his own hits, he’s written songs for Casting Crowns, Rascal Flatts, Scotty McCreery, Michael W. Smith, Mandisa, Danny Gokey, Amy Grant and others. He’s authored six books, hosts The Matthew West Podcast, and along with his father, Pastor Joe West, founded popwe, a non-profit ministry helping others to craft, share, and live a more meaningful life.
West could have used the downtime during the pandemic to rest on his considerable laurels, but instead, he became even more prolific, penning songs that would lay the foundation for My Story Your Glory. Though country superstars such as Eric Church and Morgan Wallen have released double albums, such an ambitious feat has yet to be tackled in the Christian community until West. “I’m a prolific songwriter in that I’m always writing songs and by the time I release an album I’m already ready to start working on the next one,” he says with a smile. “There was a combination of that mixed with Covid and the time spent between album releases that made me go, ‘I’ve got more to say!’”
The realization of that vision is a creative tour de force that finds West at the peak of his powers both as vocalist and raconteur. The title track is a buoyant autobiographical anthem that celebrates West’s relationship with his heavenly father. The lead single, “Me on Your Mind” became West’s fifth consecutive No. 1 and spent six weeks at the summit. “I like to think that maybe it’s resonated with people because it resonated with me first. I needed this song,” he says. “I would just open my Bible and just pick a place and it was the exact thing I needed to read. I remember thinking, ‘God did you know I was going to read that today?’ Did you know I needed that?’ And then I would laugh to myself thinking I bet God is up there going, ‘Duh! Of course, I do. I’m thinking about you. I’m mindful of you.’”
Savoring those special moments in life whether with God or his wife or his two daughters or a fan has always provided the creative grist for West’s songwriting. Over the years, he’s populated Christian radio with such potent hits as “You Are Everything,” “The Motions,” “Strong Enough” and “Hello My Name Is.” “There are songs about faith and then there are songs about life from a faith perspective and I feel like my music has always fallen into that category,” he explains. “I write about my relationship with my wife, my kids, and the people I interact with, but I’m doing it all through the lens of what drives my life, the firm foundation, my faith in God. These songs about faith are more vertical. They are more worship songs and I’ve never really written a lot of that. That’s what I wanted the Your Glory album to be was my first ever step into that world of writing songs that I would actually lead in worship if I was back at my dad’s church. So that maybe was more difficult because it felt like stepping out of my comfort zone.”
Though it may have felt like a creative challenge, in listening to the record, it sounds like what he was meant to do all along. Such songs as “Me on Your Mind,” “You Changed My Name,” “How Good of God” and “I Trust Jesus” are stirring worship songs that represent a new facet of West’s creative journey. He kicks off the Your Glory album with roof-raising energy of “Praise the Lord (To God Be the Glory),” which pays homage to the classic hymn “To God Be the Glory.”
West also enlists some special guests to flesh out his vision for the record. “I pulled in David Leonard from All Sons and Daughters. We wrote a song called ‘Maker’ together that’s beautiful and he sings it with me,” West says. “And I invited Jenn Johnson from Bethel Music to sing a song with me called ‘I Trust Jesus.’”
“Greatest Hits” focuses on family and frames his loved ones as the true treasures in life. West recruited country singer/songwriter Granger Smith to join him in singing on the album. “I literally cold-called him and said ‘Hey man, you don’t know me. I’m an artist in Christian music, but I wrote this song and wondered if you’d have any interest in listening to it to see if you’d want to sing it with me.’ So that’s how it came together. He hit me back right away and said, ‘I love this song! Let’s do it!’ It’s fun to make new friends and build community with a new album.”
My Story Your Glory gives listeners a lot of music to digest and like all great music, it leaves the listeners feeling nourished and inspired. “I always want to encourage people to live with an intention and know that you are here for a purpose. My Story Your Glory is a personal mission statement for me,” he says.
“There’s a purpose that your creator has for you and when you begin to look to him you don’t just find the help you need, but you find the purpose that you crave,” he smiles. “That’s the central takeaway that I hope people find. Songs can be lifelines and I love the idea that I’m throwing 22 lifelines out there and if somebody needs it, maybe they can grab onto it and be reminded that God has you here for a purpose.”