Matthew Ward has one of the all-time great vocal instruments in any style of music. His pure and distinctly soulful sound is instantly recognizable. He is one of the pioneers of the Jesus music genre, later to be called Contemporary Christian music. He is best known as a part of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame trio, 2nd Chapter of Acts in which he sang and performed with his sisters, Annie Herring and Nellie (Ward) Greisen. However, during his musical career with the 2nd Chapter of Acts from 1973 to 1988, he also recorded solo albums and continues to record and perform his solo work to the present time (2010). Matthew's incredible vocal range and powerful lyrics still resonate to this day with millions of Christians worldwide.
Matthew Ward is a study in contrasts. He is intense, yet lighthearted; intellectual, but not pretentious. He loves the outdoors and the activities of the Rocky Mountain region where he lives, although he also travels into his own soul to search for the words and music that God has placed there. He is a man who has faced death through a bout with cancer and now savors every moment of life that God grants him. Matthew Ward's music is a complex reflection of God's message filtered through the life of a person who struggles daily as we all do.
Witty and entertaining, Matthew Ward in concert breathes a welcome gust of fresh air through the Christian experience as he peppers the time with stories and quips that remind us not to take ourselves quite so seriously. As for his own remarkable gifts, Matthew acknowledges that he has always known where his talents come from. "When it's all said and done," he says, "I don't want people to remember me for my ability to sing, but that I always turned their eyes to Jesus."
Matthew's music and ministry was in no small part, forged from personal family tragedy. In 1968 his mother, Elizabeth Ward, died of a brain tumor; two years later his father, Walter, died of leukemia leaving him and his youngest sister, Nelly, orphaned. The Ward siblings all decided that Matthew's older sister, Annie, and her new husband, record producer Buck Herring, should take in the two younger Ward siblings.
Matthew's older sister, Annie, was a self styled (and self taught) singer and song writer who wrote and played her songs around the family piano. Matthew and sister, Nelly, would often join in as Annie played, and eventually they developed extremely tight and intricate harmonies.
As the trio gradually started singing for local coffee houses and small gatherings, they eventually gained the notice of Pat Boone who arranged a contract to record and release two singles with MGM, "Jesus Is" (1972), recorded on Matthew's 13th birthday, and "I'm So Happy" (1973). The fledgling trio also came to the attention of 1960s folk singer Barry McGuire, who had recently become a Christian and was preparing to record his first Christian music album, produced by Buck Herring. The siblings provided background vocals for Seeds and McGuire's 1974 follow-up Lighten Up.
Following his career with the 2nd Chapter of Acts, Matthew Ward continues to record solo work, minister in concert, and also works in the music industry as a background & jingle vocalist. He has worked with other such artists as Donna Summer, Leann Rimes, Randy Stonehill, Sandi Patti, Keith Green, Dennis Jernigan, John Michael Talbot, Jordin Sparks and many, many others.
The book, My 2nd Chapter: The Matthew Ward Story was released in February 2005. The autobiography includes how Ward battled his own bout with cancer—and won.