Pictured: Christian recording artist TobyMacWhen it comes to climbing mountains, TobyMac could write a book. A song book, that is. Having already achieved success as a member of Christian music trio dcTalk, TobyMac has risen among the ranks once again to become an award-winning solo artist.
"To think that three college roommates jumped in a U-Haul and moved to Nashville together and all of a sudden, won four Grammys and sold eight million records or so, was nothing I ever imagined, nothing I set out to do. Doors kept opening, and we kept walking through them," said TobyMac as he recalled the whirlwind success of dcTalk. "Then, to start over again, climb a new mountain as a solo artist with my band Diverse City, it's been another great professional highlight."
TobyMac has certainly experienced his share of highlights, both professionally and personally. He took home his first Grammy for his 2008 album, Alive and Transported, after receiving Grammy nominations for each of his three preceding projects. He has topped 10 million career sales-two million in sales as a solo artist alone-and been voted twice for the BMI Songwriter of the Year. His unique musical style-which TobyMac has himself dubbed "hip-rock-funk-soul-can be heard in his newest album, Tonight, which promises to follow the pattern of success in its message of unity, reconciliation, and forgiveness.
"I don't want people to hear judgment. I don't want them to hear that I think I got it together," he said. "I don't have the answers; I don't have everything together in my life. I'm a work in progress."
TobyMac and Chris Tomlin
Hello Tonight Summer Tour 2010
He finds inspiration for his music in his faith, as well as in his own life experiences.
"I write from the mistakes that I make, the times that I stumble and fall. Whether it be problems or reasons for joy, my music is about life and it typically resolves in my faith in God. It's not trying to proselytize or beat anybody over the head, but that's where my life resolves, so that's where my writing comes from."
This is one similarity that TobyMac claims with the various artists he has collaborated with during his solo career, including Brandon Heath, Relient K's Matthew Thiessen, Skillet, Michael W. Smith, Third Day, Rebecca St. James, John Cooper, and others."The differences are there musically, but the heart of the music is the same in that it's about life and the things we're going through," he said.
Currently, TobyMac is on his Hello Tonight tour with fellow Christian artist Chris Tomlin, and will be stopping in Grand Rapids to perform at Van Andel Arena on June 24. Though their different musical styles may seem like an odd pairing, TobyMac says the show will be something special.
"The common denominator is that we're both very crowd-oriented. We both like to not put the stage separating us from the crowd, so people can expect a night where they're involved in the show, a big party where we come together and feel like one family."