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TobyMac has his eye on Oklahoma City

Contemporary Christian recording artist TobyMac is the headliner for the 2013 Winter Jam concert set for Saturday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in downtown Oklahoma City.
by Carla Hinton Modified: February 28, 2013 at 12:13 am •  Published: March 1, 2013

A contemporary Christian recording artist who likes mixing things up a bit is headed to Oklahoma City as part a popular concert tour that features a variety of music styles and musicians.

Toby McKeehan, better known as TobyMac, is the headliner for the 2013 Winter Jam concert set for Saturday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. The concert also features Red, Matthew West, NewSong, Royal Tailor, Sidewalk Prophets and Jamie Grace. A Youth Music Vault Pre-Jam Party will feature Jason Castro, the Capital Kings and OBB (Oswald Brothers Band).

Winter Jam brings TobyMac to town fresh from the Grammy Awards, where the singer-songwriter won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album for his recent compilation “Eye on It.” The recording artist, known just as much for his days with the group DC Talk as he is as a solo artist, brings his own blend of hip-hop, soul and rock to songs inspired by his faith.

In a telephone interview from his home in Franklin, Tenn., TobyMac talked about Winter Jam, his Grammy-winning CD and his philosophy about faith-inspired songs jetting their way to the top of mainstream music charts.

Q: You are the headliner for Winter Jam. What can fans expect from you during the show?

A: My band Diverse City and I go out and try to put it on 'em. I think we want to be very entertaining and at the same time leave people in the audience with some food for thought, some things to stir their soul up a little bit. But we want to communicate, and we want them to have a good time. I always say we want people to leave sweaty, hoarse but refreshed.

Q: So, will you be singing some new songs as well as some songs from back in the day?

A: No DC Talk songs, but I do songs from each of my CDs. I've put out four now.

Q: Why did you decide to be part of Winter Jam once again?

A: I think the atmosphere is right for my music. It's festive — like a big party. There's a line wrapped around the building. It sells out, I can almost say every night. There are usually people that don't get in, it's so full. So it's like this atmosphere of energy, and that works real well with my music. I love the fact that we play the biggest arena in town. So that's something. Also, as artists — there are 10 acts on the tour — we get to hang out together. There's something about speaking into each other's lives — laughing together, praying together, worshipping together backstage — that even fuels the stage. And I think there's something really cool about that fellowship.

Q: Let's talk about your most recent album “Eye on It,” which was released in August 2012. What was the inspiration for this collection of songs?

A: This collection of songs is really about my life, my experiences, the things I'm going through with my friends, things I'm going through with my family. Whether it's the things I'm going through with my faith walk, whether it's good, bad or ugly — I want to write about it. Strangely enough, the more personal I write, the more it resonates with people that listen. Stylistically, it's what I call a big ol' pot of musical gumbo. I call it hip-rock-funk-soul — hip-hop, rock, funk, soul all mixed together. It's about life.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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