Liberty University student wins Christian music video contest judged by Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus

Jay DeMarcus and Cade Thompson
Cade Thompson and Jay DeMarcus |

Jay DeMarcus of the multi-platinum selling country trio Rascal Flatts has selected a Liberty University student as the winner of a music video contest he launched for artist Cade Thompson’s new single, "Every Step of the Way." Other judges included Calvin Aurand and Rick Elderidge.

"Every Step of the Way" is now in rotation on KLOVE and other Christian AC and Hot AC/CHR radio stations across the country. Thompson is an artist on Red Street Records, which was founded by DeMarcus. 

Last year, the label launched a video contest encouraging young creatives to make a music video for the Christian single. Matthew Gates from Liberty University created a moving Christian video treatment for the single and was selected among numerous entries. Gates, from Bentonville, Arkansas, is at the Christian college studying film development.

“I am so excited that Matthew Gates is the winner of the official music video contest for my song 'Every Step of the Way,'” Thompson said in a statement shared with The Christian Post. “I love how Matthew took his own creative spin and narrative to go along with this song. Every time I watch the video, I see a new eye-catching element that I love, and it keeps me engaged the entire time.”

The video shows a young man struggling with discouragement while pursuing his dream, but he then comes back to the realization that his trust should be in God. 

“It is so special. At the beginning, you see the struggle of someone trying to make music who eventually finds peace through God’s word. I feel this message is relatable to many people in life. We are so excited for the world to see this video. Congrats again, Matthew,” Thompson said. 

DeMarcus added: “This was a unique opportunity to see so many young, bright, creative minds. This decision was not easy, but in the end, Matthew’s treatment and execution was top notch. I’m really proud of this video, and I want to thank everyone who jumped in and made submissions to our contest!”

Gates’ love for film started at age 12 after he was gifted a camcorder for Christmas. His passion grew as he used the wildlife in his backyard to star in his movies. Now, over a decade later, he has numerous short films under his belt.  

“The vision behind this video is the same strategy I try bringing to all my stories ... it’s about creating a scene, or scenario, that I find interesting and would personally like to experience on some level,” Gates revealed of the inspiration for Thompson's new video.

“In the case of ‘Every Step of the Way,’ I’m always recording little moments throughout my day that I find interesting or entertaining until I eventually compile them into a lightly edited video journal," Gates continued. "And when I finally sit down and watch these videos, months or years later, it’s a strangely therapeutic experience ... because looking back, I can ‘connect the dots’ of my life and sometimes see that no matter how lost I might think I am, things usually have a way of working out for the best.”

The following is the exclusive video premiere of Thompson’s music video. Visit Thompson's website for additional information.

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