American Contemporary Christian musician and actor Matthew West comes from the area of Downers Grove, Illinois where he was born in April 25, 1977. As a teenager, his loyalties were divided between music and baseball. As an adoring Cubs fan, it was his dream to play big-league baseball. However, he didn't receive any baseball scholarship offers out of high school so he took a music scholarship to attend Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. After graduation in 1999, West received offers for his song writing capabilities. He had the honor of writing songs for established stars such as Billy Ray Cyrus, Vince Gill and Rascal Flats. After a major injury left his career as a musician in jeopardy, West signed his first record deal with Universal South Records in 2002. His debut album entitled Happy was released the day after Christmas in 2003. The album had moderate success on the charts, reaching #28 on the Billboard Christian Albums Chart with the support of the hit single "More", which reached #1 on the US Billboard Christian Singles Chart. The album and single landed West several nominations for GMA Dove Awards. In June of 2005, West returned to the studio after a brief tour. He recorded his second album entitled History, which peaked on the Cristian Albums Chart at #7 and cracked the Billboard 200 Chart at #98. His next three albums all fared well on the Christian and Billboard 200 Charts. It was the third album of the group that set West up for future success. The album, Into the Light, spawned the hit Christian single "Hello My Name Is", which went straight to the top spot on the Christian Singles Chart where it stayed for an incredible seventeen weeks in a row, still a record-setting performance.