Singer Matthew West recently dropped by the Faithwire newsroom for an incredibly candid discussion about faith, fame and the music and stories behind his upcoming album, “All In,” which releases on Sept. 22.
West, who is known for collecting tens of thousands of personal stories from his fans and turning some of them into hit songs, described the importance of hearing and learning from peoples’ experiences — and shared how oft-times harrowing stories have helped shape his music.
“One lady wrote to me about the darkest secret of her entire life,” he told Faithwire, explaining that the woman had “never told anyone” about a 30-year-old secret. “She writes to me, but little did she know that I was actually gong to read the story.”
And not only did West read what she wrote, but he was so moved that he turned it into a song.
The woman, named Ginny, had decided to write to West after hearing him speak at a conference about how too many people are held back and weighed down by their past decisions.
“I called her … I said, ‘I just need to ask you, why me?'” West recalled. “And she literally goes, ‘I never thought you’d read it.’ She started crying [and said], ‘You know what, though?” I’m glad you did, because I don’t have anywhere to hide anymore.'”
In the end, West said the experience was freeing for the woman. He also emphasized the draw that he believes “real and authentic experiences” have for us all. This is especially pertinent, he said, in a world in which so many of us are turning to social media to build our own “highlight reels” — inaccurate depictions of our life that paint everything in a rosy or positive light.
Rather than shield the truth, West said authenticity is key, and his new album, “All In” will dive deeper into his own experiences.
“I think we’re all drawn to authenticity,” West said. “I want to reach the most authentic version of me before my life’s over.”
Watch our Facebook Live with West below: