Artist tobyMac is worried that his music has a stigma it doesn't deserve.
“The Christian label should be just music,” he says. “The label itself causes the genre to fall on deaf ears, but it’s really there to open people’s minds.”
The popular Christian rapper, tobyMac (real name Toby McKeehan) and a slew of other Christian musicians and groups will perform Nov. 21 at the Independence Events Center.
“Music began for me at a Police concert in Washington, D.C.,” Mac told The Examiner in a recent phone call. “It goes beyond the surface, and enters your heart and soul.”
After that night, Mac immediately began composing songs and later joined various bands during his college years. He said music allowed him to express the hardships and struggles he endured throughout his life.
“(Music) is really the outpouring of your life,” he said. “It’s a universal language and brings people together.”
In the 1990s, Mac was part of the rap-rock band “dc Talk” that reached the MTV air waves. As for the latest transition from a rock-oriented sound to more rap form, Mac says it wasn’t a conscious decision.
“I love all genres," he said. "It really depends on the songs themselves. If a certain song calls for a different style of vocals, I’ll rap when I rap and rock when I rock.”
He had no idea he would become one of the most popular Christian acts today or even a Christian artist for that matter.
“I didn’t know the Christian genre existed,” he said of his beginning years as a musician.
Mac said his faith has complemented his passion for music and those two elements fused to make him what he is today.
“(The Christian genre) offers a deeper side of real life experiences," he said. "From a Christian perspective, the genre is music about the heart. My faith affected things that I personally experienced and eventually music itself.
“Making fans turn to God is something beyond my control,” he added. “It’s a personal thing, and hopefully my music encourages and challenges people; causes them to think.”
Tickets are available in person at the ticket office or at Ticketmaster.com for his “Hits Deep Tour” at the Events Center.
“Hopefully it hits you in a deep way,” he said.
The tour will feature six other Christian acts in genres ranging from pop to electronica.
"We took a page from the old Motown Review package concerts from the '60s where several performers and groups would play three or four of their hits with a supporting band that plays throughout the show,” tobyMac said.
Some of the other artists performing with him include Grammy-nominated Jamie Grace, "American Idol" Season 5 finalist Mandisa and Brandon Heath, whose recent album debuted No. 1 on the Billboard Christian chart.
“We invited the artists that would feel to be the best touring with, and it's an honor to have them onboard,” tobyMac. “These are some of my friends.”