Connecting with Matthew M. Kelly

Interview with Matthew M. Kelly via email correspondence May 23 - June 30, 2019.

Who is Matt Kelly? Where did you come from?

Who is Matt Kelly? 3 months ago I wouldn't have had an answer to this, but since my death, who I am has been revealed. I am a man of peace and love. A man who practices patience and empathy. A man who becomes a better person each and every day by the power of Jesus Christ. I am a man of forgiveness and passion. My "motto" (which I live by) is "God. Family. Music. Amen." I am a man of God, though not perfect.

And where I came from? I came from the Hands of God the Father Himself. I was born in Centreville, Illinois. Moved to Barnhart, MO in 1992, grew up in the V.O.J. in Barnhart until the age of 18. I moved to Imperial, MO at the age of 18-19 (somewhere in there lol) and that is where, after my brother passed away, is where my true spiritual journey began; a journey of doubt and questions.

Would you elaborate on your "death" a bit?

To answer your and the people's question; about how I said I "died" Yes and no. Yes I physically have been declared "dead" for 45 seconds (give or take) after I tried ending my life by consuming 50+ prescription pills. But I was talking about the evil wicked soul I once had. So spiritually I died and was born in Christ Jesus. I was "exorcised" so to speak. I was possessed by many demons, metaphorically and literally.

So glad you made it through that. You're an awesome person and i hope you don't ever feel that way again.
Could you talk more about your, as you put it, "journey of doubt and questions?" What kind of things did you go through, and for how long?

My journey of doubt and questions came in two parts early on and later on in life. When I was about 15, something out of the blue "came to life in me" every time I walked into my church or even passed by it. (I went to a Lutheran school and church until right around 18.) But as I was saying, it That was the start of my "questions". At the age of 19 my brother passed away in a car accident; it was then I started having true doubts about God, along with even more questions.

What kind of things I went through and for how long... I went through probably every human emotion possible (and even some emotions that were new to me), emotions I can't explain even to this day. Really, in a nutshell... I was married, divorced, addicted to any drug that took me away from emotions or this world, demon possessed. Man, ya know..I just can't even type it..but I can say I felt alone that I felt Satan himself didn't even want me (as I've said before), for a good 9 years or so.

Where did music come into your life?

Ever since I was a boy..I just felt music in my bones, soul and body. I have tried many many many times to Let It Go. But it just keeps coming back. It is a true part of me.

When did you really start singing, and how did it feel to express yourself as a vocalist?

I guess I really started singing around the age of 17 in my first band..and it felt...different expressing myself. It was a "new found glory" (not to reference the band lol). But with great power comes great responsibility. The pressure of everyone around me telling me, "this is your destiny" or just always being known as "the dude with the awesome voice" can actually take a toll on one's soul.

You do have an amazing and powerful voice, that seems to resonate from your core. You don't just sound like someone singing in pretty tones, anyone can learn to do that. You belt out emotions and make the whole room feel them, sometimes bringing people to tears. There has to be something significant inside of you to create that energy, something unique to Matthew M. Kelly, with or without a mic or a sound.
What did you want to do with your voice? Did you want to be a singer, tell your story, share a message? What did your ability to sing mean to you?

What my ability to sing means to me? It means that when I have nothing to say, I can sing. I've never really thought of it as "expressing myself," it's just something I like to do. Is singing a passion of mine? Of course, but when I truly found Jesus and Let Him in my heart, my "priorities changed." If something happened to my voice would I be devastated? Absolutely! Would it hinder my God given destiny? NO! No it would not.

You recently stepped away from the band Echoes From Ashes, which appeared to have a growing fanbase and were becoming quite successful. Was this decision based on your changing priorities, or could you discuss what happened there?

Sure... actually if you want to know this answer listen closely to the lyrics of "Cold Surrender." I wrote that song specifically about this band. We are talking of getting it going again, but not all members will be there (but that I cannot talk about at this moment). But I walked because of too much drama and differences in direction (musically). I walked because I wasn't really listened to. I walked because I was being held back.

Ouch. Those lyrics hurt after knowing this. To think of you feeling that way in the band while all of us on the outside loved you guys so much. :( I hope you guys will be able to work through these things and come out even stronger.
With Echoes From Ashes you developed a solid fanbase, loyal followers, made people cry with your performances even -- all unaware of any discomfort within the band. How does it feel to you to know that your music has touched so many people?

Now this question here, this question is the reason I stuck it out for so long. For the people. Having strangers contact me and tell me how much I (we) have impacted their lives, is very humbling. Which is exactly why i (we) are not done. I needed to step back and take a deep breath. I am truly in this for YOU and in this for the people. I got caught up in the glory and the "attention of perfection" if that makes sense. I want to apologize to you for that and all of our/my fans reading this. I got caught up in "myself," now I'm caught up in y'all.

Everyone needs a breath sometimes, no matter how much others need or want them around. You have to take care of you. No apology necessary here, i also got myself caught up in your glory a bit, trying to help push you guys to industry contacts. You are a star in the eyes of a lot of people and we wanted the world to see you shine. We just have to allow you the space and time to shine on your own terms. Getting to know you over the past year has been intriguing and enlightening, getting a bit of insight into who you are without a mic in front of you. That's why i asked you for this interview, to show everyone that side of you.
As you move forward again with Echoes From Ashes, with singing and writing songs, what things might you want to change? Not just with the band, but with your self, your presence, your focus, your interaction?

As I move forward with EFA what things will I change? My level of commitment toward the fans. My Faith on and off the stage. I will lead by example not by what's popular or mainstream or expected as a "rockstar". I will give you all a true chance to feel my passion and artistry (for real, you haven't seen nothing yet). I will be ME and ME only. I will say what I want to say, act how I want to act and be who I want to be. There is a chance you may never hear me scream again. I will continue to connect with my fans even more and get to know you guys. My focus will be more and more on The Lord and where He wants me in This Life He gave me. I am getting in the best physical, mental and spiritual shape I have ever been in this year. I want to mentor our youth and music could be a good way of doing so, and I see that now.

We are drawing near the end of the interview, which has been a month in the making thus far. A lot can happen in a month, and apparently has for you. What has the past month been like for you, mentally, spiritually, activities, the thoughts, conversations, decisions?

Time really does not exist in my life anymore. So this past month feels like a year. I grow more and more each and every day. As a better man, a better father and a better husband. But most importantly, a better Christian.

To finish up, is there anything you would like to say to your fans, or shout-outs or messages to anyone?

Do not give up. Stand firm in your faith. Live right. Love everyone, even your enemies. Hold your wife's hand. Open the car door for her. Practice loving her like God loves the Church. Stay united under God. This life is not for the weak, so depend on and lean on Christ and the people He puts in your lives to help you along the way. Be kind to strangers. Serve others. Do not to live selfishly.  Don't worry about what people have, open your own eyes and look around you! Be respectful. Use your darn turn signals! Be generous and forgiving. Other than water, don't sweat nothin'. Drink lots of water. Take care of your body. Work hard for your dreams and provisions but fully depend on the Lord as YOUR provider. So so so much more I could continue to say but finally, share the good news of The Father; and if you don't know what that means, then please ask me or someone else. May the peace that passes all understanding fill your hearts and minds and flow into your lives. In Jesus name we ask this. Amen.

A special thanks to my wife. You are a true partner. A true Mother. A true daughter. A true sister. A true person, and a true wife. "A true gift from The Lord God right into my arms." I love you much.

I love you Logan. I love you Lexx. I love you Leebird.  I love you Melody. I love you Ash. And a thanks to my mom and sister and family for always supporting me.

Look for Echoes From Ashes on social media and streaming sites.


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