The chart-topping Christian band Unspoken is many things, but silent certainly isn’t one of them. The group, led by vocalist Chad Mattson, has a message, and they share that message loud and clear with songs focused on empowerment and gratitude.
It’s that positive, uplifting message that has resonated with fans and earned Unspoken four straight top-five American Christian chart singles, “Who You Are,” “Start a Fire,” “Lift My Life Up” and “Good Fight.”
Mattson was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule, which includes an upcoming Unspoken tour, to share a bit about his writing process, what it’s like collaborating with his bandmates, and how music can change lives.
Chad Mattson: I think it comes from just living life… A good friend of ours and labelmate, Jason Gray said, “You tend to write the songs you need to hear yourself.” Going through life, all of us need encouragement; and we find it in the Bible and through relationships. It just comes out when we’re writing songs, because we need to hear it ourselves.
Would you be able to share a little about your writing process? Is it collaborative or more solitary?
For me, I’m super outgoing and love relationships, so most of the time it’s collaborative. We compile ideas over months or even years, and then set aside a season to finish songs and hash out ideas that we have. A lot of it is internal with the band, and then we’ll bring in a songwriter friend of ours. I love the collaboration, because all of us have a different angle; and all of us have different strengths and things to bring to the table.
How did you decide which songs to include on the full album, ‘Unspoken’?
We got together with our record label and manager and went through a list of songs (around 80 of them) that we started narrowing down to maybe 20-25. All of us then wrote down on a piece of paper what our top ten were. The songs that were on everybody’s list made it to the next round, and then we just narrowed it down from there.
With band members from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Maine, Unspoken probably has one of the largest geographical backgrounds of any bands we’ve spoken with. How do you think coming together musically speaks to the power of music as a whole?
The power of music is an incredible tool… It’s been really neat for the band to pull together from each of our backgrounds and musical tastes and make something that is better than one person could do on their own. Having these guys from different cultures has been an incredible gift in the writing and performing of our music. We’ve just loved and enjoyed sharing each other’s cultures…especially the food.
Do you all have similar tastes outside of what you create together? When Unspoken is on the road touring, what’s playing on the stereo?
We definitely have all different tastes. Our ages range from the early 30’s to mid 40’s. I won’t disclose who’s in which age bracket, but I will say that one guy loves 80s rock, another is a classic rock fan, another listens to folk and singer-songwriter tunes and the other is a hip-hop and R&B lover. When we listen to the radio, we play all sorts of music, from Journey, to Steven Curtis Chapman, to Biz Markie, Aerosmith and Arlo Guthrie.
Do you have a favorite song to perform? What makes it stand out?
We all have favorite songs. A couple of us love to play, “Bury the Workmen,” and the others “Good Fight.” Most of all, we love playing songs that connect with people and point people to Jesus.
Some other artists and bands that we’d like to tour with would be Casting Crowns, tobyMac and MercyMe especially. When we all come together for one purpose, each touring opportunity is a great experience. We share different experiences that we’ve had and pull from each other’s wisdom. It’s a lot of fun sharing our ministries with other artists and bands while on tour. We look forward to many more!
What does it feel like when you hear that one of your songs made a difference in a fan’s life, or got them through a tough time?
It’s definitely humbling, because you know that you’re just as flawed as anyone without Christ. It’s also exciting. The impact that Christian radio has on our culture and the demographic it reaches is really incredible. Being a part of Christian music and Christian radio has been an incredible experience. We are very grateful too!
You’re about to go on tour. Other than that, can you share what’s up next for Unspoken?
We’re about to start a second leg of a tour with the Afters, an incredible band, who are releasing a new record; and we’re excited about that. Chris August, who’s a good friend of ours, is also going to be on the tour, along with Among the Thirsty. Really looking forward to that tour in the spring. We’re also writing for a new record and will start recording the first of the new year, so that’s exciting too. We could use all the prayer that we can get for the songs to reach people and touch their hearts. We’re in a season of new vision and making the most of our place of influence and opportunities. Can’t wait to see what doors God’s going to open!