Matthew West on Vocal Injury That Threatened Music Career

Photo from Matthew West’s Instagram

Matthew West on Vocal Injury That Threatened Music Career

By Movieguide® Contributor 

When Christian artist Matthew West required surgery to repair a vocal hemorrhage early on in his career, God used what he called his “season of silence” to teach the musician about purpose and identity. 

“All of my striving and pursuits of a successful music career were starting to come to fruition and all of a sudden I found myself unable to sing or even speak,” West recalled on the “Snapshot Testimony” podcast.

The fear that West might have “sung his last song” loomed as the doctors informed him that he might not be able to sing again. 

West admits that during that time he felt “lost at sea” as he considered the “what ifs.” 

“‘What if I lose my dream?’ ‘What if I’ve sung my last song?’ ‘What if there’s nothing else that I do?’” West said. “I think that’s the hard part, too, is when you find something that you excel in. You just assume you’ll always have that to fall back on.” 

The “More” singer said God met him through the process of healing — his “season of silence” — as he recalls weeks of not being able to speak.  

He says that a verse that helped him through the slow recovery process was Psalm 46:10, which reads: “Be still and know that I am God.” 

“[A]nother translation really shaped me and stuck out to me it says ‘Cease striving’ …God brought me back to this place of you know that his love for me is not based on my performance. That my success in music does not define my success as a human being,” he said. 

“It’s not like that, and so coming back to the humble realization of what does it look like just to be a human being to be someone who’s just deeply and endlessly loved, without condition, by a God who made me, whether I can sing a pretty song or write a hit or not, just to rest in my identity that really matters, and that’s as God’s beloved child,” he went on to say. 

“[S]ometimes the best thing is the worst thing, and God gets our attention in a powerful way, and he certainly got mine,” the 47-year-old said. 

The Illinois native’s voice eventually did return, and he said that pivotal season of his life gave him a sense of “urgency” in his songs.  

“I want to sing, and I want to write every song as if it could be the last one that I write. I think a lot about legacy,” West said. 

“These [songs] are drenched in moments where a dream slipped out of your hands and you learn a new appreciation and understanding that I’m not here for me, I’m here for a greater purpose,” he added. 

One of West’s recent songs is “18 Summers” which is about his eldest daughter LuLu, who recently graduated from high school. West posted a video of his wife Emily’s teary-eyed reaction to hearing the song for the first time. 

Movieguide® recently reported more about the story behind “18 Summers” and the father-of-two’s parenting journey: 

The song started to form when West had a conversation with a friend, who’s also a father. 

“When you measure time in different forms, it can highlight the brevity of life,” he says. “I was having a conversation with another dad, and he said, ‘Yeah, I heard it said once that we only have 18 summers. When you think about it, not as 18 years, but 18 summers, it all of a sudden it feels so much smaller and so finite.’”  

“I thought ’18 Summers’ was a great title for a song. So as I was thinking about my daughter getting close to graduation, that title kept popping up to me. Right now is the perfect time for me to write that message, because that’s what I’m living.” 

West felt that the song was perfect for the time he’s at in life right now. 

He told Pardo and Pruis, “‘Guys, I don’t think this is a radio single. This just feels like something that I want to say right now, and it’s got to come out right now. There ain’t no waiting!’ And so we wrote it, and I love every bit of what the lyrics says.” 

West is also nominated for a K-Love Fan Award for Artist of the Year, Male Artist of the Year and Song of the Year for his song “Don’t Stop Praying.” 

“This year I’m so blessed to be nominated for three @klovefanawards! The support of my music and ministry means the world to me. Thank you so much,” West posted on Instagram. 

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