Singer/songwriter Matthew West knows a little about living the All-American Dream – and just how empty it can be.
In high school, he was the homecoming king and captain of the football team. He had plenty of friends and life was good. “I began to act as if those things defined me,” says Matthew West. “They took a higher priority than my faith, even though I knew it needed to be the other way around. But it always seemed that no matter how many good things happened to me, it wasn’t enough.”
As West’s life moved more into the direction of music, he has repeated the pattern. “Being a driven person, I am always chasing after the next hit song, or the next big opportunity that will take me to the ‘next level,’ only to find out that the ‘next level’ still won’t bring me the fulfillment I crave.”
Last year, West was on the verge of that “next level” when everything came to a screeching halt. He found out he needed surgery on his vocal chords, and it could have been career ending. “I was uncertain of my future, and whether or not I would ever sing again. I found myself completely humbled, and once again completely surrendering my life and my music to the One who gave it to me in the first place.”
Sometimes, we have to learn lessons the hard way, West adds: “This trial in my life, losing my voice, helped me to realize happiness can only be found at One Source. Sometimes you have to lose the things you love to find out what really matters.”
West will be featured on the Billy Graham Television Special, “America’s Dream: Chasing Happiness,” slated to air in cities across the United States and Canada March 1-9, 2008. The program will showcase the world-premiere video of West’s powerful song, “Nothing Else,” which was featured on his 2005 recording, History.
“Nothing Else,” says West, “is all about the human pursuit of happiness, meaning, and fulfillment in this life. The lyrics illustrate all of the different ways the world may attempt to fill the void inside all of us, but we still feel empty. This story comes to the humbling realization that no amount of money, no success, no drug, or no other love can satisfy our deepest longing for happiness like knowing Jesus.”
Being part of the broadcast is special for West, who has a very important connection with Billy Graham: “My dad always said the day someone accepts Christ is a moment you should always remember, like a picture in your wallet. That is the reason I will never forget Billy Graham and the impact his ministry has had in my life.”
When West was 13-years old, he came across a Billy Graham Crusade on television. Being a preacher’s son, he had his share of church services, and typically would change the channel. But, something was different this time.
“As Rev. Graham began to give an invitation,” West says, “I felt God knocking at the door of my heart, and as the people began to walk forward and ‘Just as I Am’ was being sung, my heart responded as well. That was the day I accepted Christ as my personal Savior.”