TobyMac: High energy at 44


TobyMac enjoys a brisk game of basketball before hitting the stage. Photo by Eliza Marie Somers

A little Q& A with Christian Hip-hop artist TobyMac, 44, from the archives.

Q: You bring a lot of energy to a show. How do you keep it up?

A: The music we play is energetic, and we feed off of that. My
concerts are a big-party atmosphere. I love an intense concert, and
if I don’t soak two T-shirts I don’t feel like it was a good show.

Q: You were just in Denver this past spring. What are you bringing
that’s different for your fans?

A: We have different acts this time, and we will be a little more
focused on the holidays. We’ll play songs that we are known for and
mix in some Christmas songs. Reliant K just put out a Christmas
album, so they will be doing touches of that.

Q: Your music has been picked up by ESPN, the telecast for the 2006
Olympic Games, trailers for movies (“Underdog,” “Hancock” to
name a few). How does that make you feel?

A: It’s different. Obviously, Hollywood is buying into it. The
music is relevant. It’s happening more and more. … I went to the
(Tennessee) Titans’ Monday-night football game. And I’m sitting way
up in the cheap seats with 70,000 people and my song “Boomin”‘
comes on and the cheerleaders are dancing to it. They played a full
chorus. I was like “This is crazy.” My face was all red and no
one knows.

Q: You co-founded the E.R.A.C.E. Foundation (Eliminating Racism and
Creating Equality). How does that work?

A: Our goal is to get people to dialogue about race relations. To
come together as one people even though we are all different. We do
fundraising for organizations that help foster that ideal. We run
into a lot of people who don’t see it (discrimination) but if we
can begin to communicate we can correct that … to come together.

Q: You’re a father of five, a husband, own a recording studio. How
do you find time to write music?

A: I go to bed early, wake up to take the little guy to school.
It’s well worth it to me being involved with my family. … I’ll
write some music when we’re on tour. … I write about my
relationships, and my struggles and success with those
relationships. And people can relate to them.

Q: Some of your favorite songs?

A: “Made to Love.” I’m completely passionate about it. It’s
really special to me. And “Lose My Soul” seems to resonate with a
lot of people.

Q: What bands do you listen to and are influenced by?

A: I love so much music. The Police. Reggae. Bob Marley. I love
hip-hop, Black Eyed Peas. I don’t agree with some of their
philosophies sometimes. I have to go to Wal-Mart and buy the family
versions (chuckles). But I love that stuff.

Q: Is it frustrating to be classified as a “Christian” artist?

A: Absolutely, it’s frustrating. Sometimes the Christian audience
questions your faith when you branch out. But that is so far from
the truth. My faith means so much to me. And then some people are
turned off by the label. I want my music to fall on open ears. Like
U2. U2 just can’t be classified because Bono has universal appeal.
He is such a great lyricist. I love lyrics.

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