Mathew Maciel talks to Louder Than The Music about his song 'Resisting You' and how it won him a spot in the 2023 You God’s Music Showcase.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in making music?
I was born in Indiana and grew up outside of Chicago in Illinois. I lived there until middle school and that's when we moved to South Texas. Growing up, I always had a love for both sports and music from a young age but didn't start really enjoying music more until high school when my parents gifted me an acoustic guitar for my birthday my senior year. Through high school, all my friends always encouraged me to join one of those singing competitions but I never had the confidence in myself to do so. It wasn't until after college that I wrote my first song and released it as my first single in 2016 which resulted in a good response and encouraged me to start taking music more seriously. Now after releasing a few singles and an EP in 2019, I am on the verge of releasing my first album early next year.
Tell us about your single 'Resisting You' and what the inspiration behind it was?
Well throughout my middle and high school years, my parents started taking us to church but I never took it seriously. It wasn't until college when I got involved with a college ministry, where I started asking myself why I wasn't going all in in my relationship with God. I know I believed but I couldn't really say I was committed to Him. I knew something had to change and that is when I started writing the lyrics to 'Resisting You'. So many times we say we trust God but then we say, "but not in this area of my life". We continuously try to control different areas of our own lives which then begs the question, 'do you REALLY trust God' ? What do you have to lose? Why do you keep resisting Him?
That song won you a spot in the 2023 You God’s Music Showcase - tell us what that has involved?
The 'You, God's Music Showcase' is a national Christian singing competition across the U.S. and Canada where the finals are held at the Tobin Center in San Antonio, Texas each year. The winner of the competition gets a cash prize and a recording package for their next single in Nashville, Tennessee. The competition started by me submitting an audition tape where I used my song 'Resisting You' in the video. It caught the attention of the judges (Dove Award winner Jordan Feliz, The Voice Season 9 winner Jordan Smith and Billboard charting Christian contemporary artist Blanca) and out of nearly 2000 contestants, I was able to advance all the way to the Top 25. It was tougher than expected as we were judged on our voice, pitch, song choice and overall performance every week. The toughest part was the Semifinals when they had to cut the Top 25 down to the Top 5. Even though I didn't make the finals, it was a great experience because I got to meet and build relationships with so many people and even got a personal invite for my family and I to the finals which was headlined by The Newsboys.
What message would you like people to take from your music?
At the end of the day, I write and sing music for one reason and one reason only: Jesus. Without Him, nothing is possible and I truly believe I was given a voice and passion for music to glorify Him with it. Now if someone isn't a Christian and listens to my music, my hope is that my music can encourage them and uplift them and point them to Jesus in the end.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
So my music would fall under Christian Contemporary but I would consider it overall as Pop or Pop Rock. My musical influences have changed a lot over the years especially since I didn't become a Christian until college. I would say some of my influences have been Ben Rector, Ed Sheeran, Gavin DeGraw, MercyMe, Maroon 5, NEEDTOBREATHE, Unspoken and heck, I would even throw Justin Bieber in there.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
Hands down, Ben Rector. I love his music, his musical compositions and lyrics. He is so talented and seems like such a humble guy who would genuinely give me pointers along the way.
How would you define success in your career as an artist?
Well, I started playing in bars and open mics singing in front of like 5-10 people and in some cases none were even paying any attention to me. Now, I have had gigs on television, articles in magazines, have had music on the radio, and have opened up for artists like Grammy Nominated artist Alex Zurdo in front of a few hundred people. I think to define success is hard because I believe there will always be another artist out there with more talent than you, more money than you, more social media followers than you etc but at the end of the day, if you are doing what you love and have a strong support system underneath you from friends, family and fans, who can tell you you aren't successful?
What is your favorite album of all time?
My favorite album of all time is Songs About Jane by Maroon 5. I know that might not be a typical album to name coming from a Christian artist but I feel like every one of those songs could have been on the radio (mind you, 5 of the 12 songs were on radio) and when Maroon 5 came out with that album, they changed pop music and the music industry because no one had a sound like that before.
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your phone. What track is it?
I was asked this a few years ago and had a difficult time answering it. I would want something upbeat to take my mind off things and keep me motivated so I guess the song I would go with is Brand New by Ben Rector.
What does the next year hold for you?
Well I haven't announced a release date but I am definitely releasing my first album sometime early next year. I also want to do a small Texas tour throughout my home state next summer maybe hitting up 5-6 cities in a week or so but I am still figuring out the details.