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Matthew West

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AboutMatthew Joseph West (born April 25, 1977) is an American contemporary Christian musician, singer-songwriter, and actor. He has released five studio albums and is known for his songs, "More", "You Are Everything", and "The Motions". He was nominated for five Dove Awards in 2005, two of which were for his major label debut album, Happy. West won the 2013 American Music Award for Best Contemporary Inspirational Artist.

Starting as an independent musician in the late 1990s, he released three independent albums before signing with Universal South Records. With the release of his Dove Award-winning debut album, Happy, released in 2003, his first radio single, "More", stayed at No. 1 on Christian Adult Contemporary charts for nine weeks and received two Dove Award nominations. His second album, History, was followed by a 2006 re-release of the originally independent album, Sellout. In 2007, he faced vocal issues that threatened his career with two months of prescribed vocal rest. His third studio album, Something to Say, also enjoyed chart success with No. 1 hits, "You Are Everything" and "The Motions".

In addition to his main solo career, West has worked as a songwriter for many Christian musicians and groups such as Point of Grace, Mandisa, Natalie Grant, and Casting Crowns, as well as mainstream country acts, Rascal Flatts, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Vince Gill. In 2013, his second single, "Hello, My Name Is", from the album, Into the Light, was released and reached at No. 1 for a record-breaking 17 consecutive weeks on the Billboard Christian Songs chart.

Matthew West was born on April 25, 1977 in Downers Grove, Illinois. As a child he was a fan of his hometown baseball team, the Chicago Cubs, and wanted to eventually have a career in baseball. He played baseball throughout high school at Downers Grove North High School, becoming team captain as a senior. He was hoping for a college baseball scholarship but instead ended up receiving a four-year music scholarship at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois where he was a part of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapter. He graduated from Millikin in 1999.

West wrote most of his first songs in the sanctuary of his father's church while he was at home during college breaks. According to a statement by West at the 2013 Winter Jam (March 23, 2013): at a 1997 Steven Curtis Chapman concert at the Assembly Hall in Champaign, Urbana, West has said that he was crying profusely, making his friends ask him what was wrong. He said that he was being led by Jesus to pursue a career in singing and songwriting. He was a songwriter and independent musician from 1997 to 2002, releasing three albums: September Sun (1997), Every Step of the Way (1998), and Sellout (2002). In October 1997, he went on a three-city tour to support of the release of September Sun.

Just before graduating from Millikin University in 1999, someone from the college recommended that West attend the GMA Music in the Rockies event for aspiring musicians. Although West was not interested at first, he attended after learning that other people signed him up and paid his entrance fee. He met a representative from Word Publishing at the event who took interest in him and kept in contact until he graduated. West landed in the finals of a songwriting competition and was offered a songwriting deal in July 1999, five weeks after graduating. After penning songs for well-known musicians like Billy Ray Cyrus and Rachael Lampa, he began touring the United States as an independent artist in 2000 and 2001.

On July 26, 2002, only a week or two before signing a record contract with Universal South Records, West had an injury to his left arm which threatened his musical career and guitar playing. He says, "I locked myself out of my house. But I'd done that before, and I had a way of breaking in through a window. But this time, I had a really hard time getting the window open. I started pushing up on the window really hard and my hand broke through the glass. Blood starting spewing out of my left arm everywhere and I ran down my street screaming for help. After seeing so much blood, I went into shock and just blacked out in the middle of the street. The next thing I can remember is some construction workers praying over me in Spanish and then being taken to the hospital." West was told that the chances were low of regaining the full use of his left arm, having come very close to severing a major artery. He recovered after the accident, however, and was able to continue playing guitar and record for his first studio album.

In addition to his main solo career, Matthew West has also written songs for other bands and musicians, including Mark Schultz, Mandisa, Jump5, Sara Groves, Joy Williams, Casting Crowns, Salvador, Natalie Grant, PureNRG, and Point of Grace, as well as mainstream country act, Billy Ray Cyrus. Rascal Flatts recorded West's song, "The Day Before You", on their album, Feels Like Today. He co-wrote "Voice of a Savior" by Mandisa and "Thank You" by 33Miles, both of which were released as singles in early 2008.

West also pursues his acting skills occasionally appearing in some Christian television shows starting in 2009. In 2011, he made his film debut via appearing on Gary Wheeler's Christian film The Heart of Christmas co-starring Candace Cameron Bure. It currently sits at a 7.2 on IMDB after a direct to TV release.

West with his family (L-R) Lulu, Delaney, Emily, and his mother in 2013
Matthew West currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Emily. He married Emily on May 10, 2003 after proposing to her in September 2002. They have two daughters Luella Jane ("Lulu") and Delaney Ruth. The Wests own a pug named Earl "The Girl".

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Matthew West - Quarantine Life
Matthew West - More
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Matthew West - Good
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Matthew West - Brand New [Live]
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