Award winning singer/songwriter Ali Matthews will be at Write! Canada this June. She is teaching a continuing class and a workshop as well as sitting on the “Song Demo” panel and giving a keynote address.
Ali, when did you first begin to write songs?
In my early teens I picked up guitar and started singing songs. It didn’t take long for this passion to evolve into my early songwriting efforts. In Grade 10, I wrote a song based on J.D. Salinger’s novel Catcher in the Rye. That’s when I remember thinking that this might be something I could be good at.
Tell us about your musical development.
I had quite a bit of musical training as a child. I learned to read music at a young age and was involved in several choirs and orchestras. I played flute and piano as a child and later took up guitar. Even so, I didn’t really pursue musical performance and theory as much as I pursued writing. I was an English and Drama major in university.
God has called you to write, sing, and play for Him as your way of sharing His love with others. How has your work impacted others?
It is always amazing to me how God uses one of my songs to encourage, comfort, or inspire someone else. A song will help to heal my wounds and uplift me in some way, but then it will go on its own journey and touch others in the same way.
What advice do you have for someone starting out in a music ministry?
My advice to aspiring artists is to stay grounded and pursue humility. Grow where you are planted, in your local community, your family, your church. I see too many talented artists who strive to achieve fame and success, only to end up feeling like they have failed. The true value of our art is in the moment-to-moment obedience to God’s calling.
When people sign up to take your Continuing Class in song writing, what do you hope they will take away from this course?
My hope is that they will go forth with a true songwriter’s consciousness. This means they will find inspiration and song potential all around them and will be intentional in receiving those gifts and pursuing the work. They will leave this course with skills, tools, techniques, and tricks, but my biggest goal is to encourage them to be bold and intentional with the artistic heart God has given them.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?
I desire to write songs that connect us with each other, songs that tap into our hopes and heartaches, our fears and passions, the things that make us vulnerable, the things that tell us we are alive. I see a dark and broken world in desperate need of mercy and compassion and I am compelled to create music that will draw us closer to grace, to each other, and to our Creator.
Ali was interviewed by Jenny Burr of the Write Canada PR team.