The Story of Your Life

Matthew West’s new album is out and quickly gaining mainstream new outlet attention – and rightly so. The album is entirely made up from stories sent in from every day people about the challenges and successes of their life. I would have thought it would be kinda silly, but it actually looks like it will make a huge impact on listeners judging from this story at CNN.

A quarter of the letters were sent in by women who wrote of the sexual abuse in their pasts, Matthew said. He sat in the window of the cabin those first days, getting increasingly angrier — angry at the people who commit these horrible acts and a little angry at himself for being unaware about the scope of the problem. But he knew he couldn’t turn away any longer.

“When I was reading those stories, I was like deathly afraid, because I thought, ‘What have I just done?’ I thought if I was going to be true and deliver what I promised to deliver and write about what was said to me, that means I can’t I can ignore this topic,” he said.

His moment of awareness hit him hard. After all, the one common thread among the people who sent in their stories was they were Christian music fans, the people he would see at his concerts or in church on Sundays. They were good people, and yet they were sharing — more often than not — stories about the bad things in their lives.

During the time he was reading letters and writing songs, Matthew was also touring with his band. One night, he shared the song he had written for the victims of abuse with his band. He called it “Broken Girl.”

They insisted he play it that night. He was unsure of whether it was the right time to unveil such a song. He played it anyway.

The next day at the cabin, his brother brought him another pile of letters. In it was a note from a man who told Matthew that he had already written the story of his life. The man wrote that he had abused his own daughter, had spent time in prison, had become a Christian and was now trying to repair his relationship with his girl. They had attended Matthew’s concert in Seattle together.

Matthew said he broke down under the weight of the realization of how his songs would impact his audience.