“It sounds like the beginning of a joke,” Matthew West said, recalling those he sat next to — a Democratic leader, a Republican politician and a rabbi — at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., earlier this year.
West, 41, is a recording artist and slated to be the only Christian singer performing at the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony Wednesday — an invitation he said came after traveling to D.C. several times. During an interview with Faithwire, the “Do Something” singer said he was asked to perform “Run, Run Rudolph” at the celebration.
“I was really curious which songs they would ask me to perform, and sure enough, I was asked to perform the deeply spiritual ‘Run, Run Rudolph,” West quipped. “Of course, I said I’ll sing whatever you want me to sing.”
Regardless of who is in the White House, or what song he’s singing, West said he is glad to use the platform to share “the message of the hope I’ve found in God and the faith that I have in him is the driving force of my life.”
Excited to tell you guys that I’ll be performing at the 96th annual @TheNationalTree Lighting at @PresParkNPS on November 28th! Tune in to @ovationtv & @reelzchannel on Dec. 2 to catch my performance. Honored to have this opportunity & be part of this holiday tradition #NCTL2018 pic.twitter.com/n1fQ05wVTt
— Matthew West (@matthew_west) November 13, 2018
In this particularly divisive time, it seems Christianity has made something of a resurgence in popular culture, from television to music to movies. West said that phenomenon might be, at least in part, “a sign of the times.”
“There’s more of an appetite for hope-filled music, which is what I really consider my music to be,” West said. “It’s not a message that’s gonna beat you over the head with a Bible; it’s a message that’s gonna hopefully remind the downcast or the one who’s looking for hope to realize that the best is yet to come.”
West said he’s taken some heat from followers on social media who were angry at him for singing at the National Prayer Breakfast in February, accusing him of “aligning” with President Donald Trump. But for the recording artist, it’s just a great opportunity to spread a message of hope.
“I don’t care, regardless of which president is in office, if I’m invited to be a part of an event at the White House, that holds a special place in history and my family would be honored to be a part of any event we’re invited to,” he explained. “People read into it what they want. For me, I just unapologetically accepted the invitation to sing at the Christmas Tree Lighting. I’m excited to be a part of it.”
West said he’s “thankful for the open door,” noting he’s the same singer no matter where he’s performing. “That’s a chance for me to have a voice and impact people on a greater level,” he added.