In the Spotlight

Well, I had a few artists in mind for today’s spotlight, but EH!  I think we’ll check out Matt Maher this time.  And it’s not only because he’s Canadian…

Although he is that, born and raised in Newfoundland.  His parents encouraged his musical abilities by sending him to piano lessons.  He eventually began performing in various concert and jazz ensembles, singing in a choir, and like many aspiring musicians, played in a garage rock band.

Maher started his post-secondary studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland and with a scholarship, continued his studies in the Jazz Department at Arizona State University where he earned his music degree.

Influenced by modern worship songwriters including Delirious, Paul Baloche and the different artists involved with the Passion movement, Matt began writing his own songs about God and his faith. He signed a publishing deal in 2005, and his songs were eventually recorded by Christian artists including Phillips, Craig and Dean and Chris Tomlin. In 2007, Matt signed his first record deal and released two albums in two years The End and the Beginning and Welcome to Life.

Maher was a guest singer songwriter speaker at Crowder’s Fantastical Church Music Conference at Baylor University in late 2010 put on by the David Crowder Band. In early 2011 he toured the United States on the Rock And Worship Roadshow headlined by MercyMe.

Speaking of the songs on his 2013 album All The People Said Amen, Matt says… “This record is a musical collage. I think most of our lives look like that, this jumble of a bunch of different stuff… Hopefully, when you take a step back, you realize something that might seem a little chaotic close-up is actually a work of art that God’s slowly creating. These songs are created out of living as a community of faith firsthand, and it’s my desire to remind listeners that we are all His work of art.”

In  2015, Maher released his eighth studio album, Saints and Sinners,”Because He Lives (Amen)” was the first single release off of the album.

In September 2017, Maher’s ninth studio album, Echoes, was released and earned Matt his ninth career Grammy Award nomination.  That album features the hit songs,  Your Love Defends Me and What a Friend.

What A Friend was inspired by the hymn “What A Friend We Have In Jesus.” It’s song of kind of joy that can only be found in knowing and being known as Matt describes,

“I’m totally understood in the heart of God. He understands me. The more I know that God understands me, the less I need the world to.”

After writing most of the songs for his latest Echoes, Matt lost his Dad, and the album took on a whole new personal dimension for him.  Matt dealt with his grief by the truths and declarations in the new songs. “Jesus chose to respond to death by embracing it. By embracing it, He destroyed it. This record became, for me, my response to sin and suffering. I had to formulate my own echo. I had to decide if I was going to echo the message of the cross back to the world, or my own narrow view of suffering.

Like many artists we’ve featured here, Matt Maher brings varied musical tastes of his growth in his craft and his faith.  Every song is woven with his personal stories and testimonies of his faith walk.  One of the strongest and most honest Christian songs I’ve heard is one I can most identify with and it’s my favorite one by Matt…

Have a blessed Sunday all!

 

 

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