There’s a page on Matthew West’s website that is reserved for stories. It’s for people to share their hardships, their moments when they saw no light and when that light finally shined through.
West said he’s a storyteller and many of his songs tell either a portion of his story, or the story of one of many who have shared their story, either with him in person or on his website.
“The names you hear on those songs,” said the Christian music artist, “those are real. I didn’t change them. Their stories are real too.”
West and Jeremy Camp will make a stop at State Farm Hidalgo Arena on Saturday for the The Answer/All In Tour, the first time the two critically acclaimed, chart-topping artists have co-headlined their own tour together, creating an unprecedented experience for concert attendees getting to see them share the stage for an energy-filled night of hit songs and fan favorites.
The tour will make a total of 20 stops before its conclusion on Nov. 18 in Kansas.
“I’m really excited about this,” West said. “We have believed from before the tour started that this was going to be more than a concert. I know Jeremy’s heart, and both of our teams pray every night for this to be more than just a concert. We want God to show up in a big way.”
The two met during one of many summer festivals they performed and West was the opening act. The two met backstage, struck up a conversation and are now good friends.
West considers himself not just a songwriter, but a storyteller as well. In fact, he said that at the heart of what he does is a power story.
“Every song has a special meaning — every song needs to have that special meaning, something that is unique but yet something that someone can relate to and say ‘hey, that could be me,’” West said. “As a storyteller, your first inclination is to draw from within, telling it from within — it’s your own story.
“Over the year I’ve come in contact with so many people who have shared their story with me and have turned many of those stories into songs. They are real stories from real people.”
He said the song, “Hello My Name Is,” is about a story of addiction one person shared with him. A boy named Conor shared with the story of being bullied; another girl told her story of her parents getting divorced and her being caught between two houses.
“These stories have inspired so many of my songs,” West said. “It’s an interesting world right now with a lot of the ‘me too’ movement. I think about ‘me too’ and how isolated people tend to feel with a certain part of their story. A song can tap into the heart of a story and shine a light on a difficult chapter of someone’s story, maybe make them feel not alone.”
West said a 10-year-old boy wrote a little note on a napkin, telling West that one of his songs “was the story of my life.”
“He told me thank you because he was living that story and now he didn’t feel as alone. That’s such a wonderful feeling in life to realize. All we want in life is to feel we have some sort of purpose.”
The tour takes its name from Camp’s current studio album, “The Answer” (Capitol CMG), and West’s current project, “All In” (Capitol CMG).
“This has been one of those things I’ve been wanting to do for a long time,” Camp said on his website. “We’ve been good friends. I love his heart. And I knew that this would be an awesome time.”
Camp has released 11 albums, four of which have gone gold. Some of his most popular hits include “Word of Life,” “Walk by Faith,” “There Will Be a Day” and “This Man,” among many others.
West has released five albums and some of his most popular hits include “Hello My Name Is…,” “Broken Things,” and “Strong Enough.”
GOT FAITH MUSIC SERIES: JEREMY CAMP AND MATTHEW WEST
The artists will perform as part of their The Answer/All In Tour 2018.
WHEN 7 p.m. Saturday
WHERE State Farm Hidalgo Arena, 2600 N. 10th St., Hidalgo
COST Tickets start at $20 at ticketmaster.com
“Every song has a special meaning — every song needs to have that special meaning, something that is unique but yet something that someone can relate to and say, ‘hey, that could be me.’ As a storyteller, your first inclination is to draw from within, telling it from within. It’s your own story.”
— Matthew West, singer-songwriter