TobyMac is more than just your run-of-the-mill triple threat. On one hand, he ranks among the most successful artists in Christian music history in terms of radio success, sales power and critical acclaim. On the other, he is universally recognized as a creative force, an artistic maverick and a prophetic voice for racial reconciliation, social justice and a fierce devotion to faith and family. On the third hand, he’s the most humble and approachable merchant of cool on the scene today. Yeah; that’s three hands. Some things defy common logic.
Here is his interview.
What plans do you have to take Jesus global?
The truth is there are a lot of bands that go overseas more than I do. I’m hoping by growing the label that there will be more bands that feel called overseas. I believe it’s important. I don’t know that it’s necessarily my calling, for a lot of reasons. You have to do the best with the field that God’s calling you to harvest. I’ve sown a lot into the states, and I think now that I’m a married man with children, it’s definitely difficult for me to go overseas. But to support people who do, absolutely. I think all of us are charged with that, whether you’re supporting missionaries at your church, giving money to organizations that are reaching out to Africa and other places that are struggling, or whether it’s signing acts that are going forward to share music about God’s love. All of that’s important.
I get over there every couple of years, different places. But I don’t have anything up my sleeve. I’ve always been one of those guys who just kind of sits back and waits to see what door God’s opening. My goal for my life is not to tell Him which door to open, but to say ‘Alright God, whichever door You open, if opportunity knocks, I want to be that willing vessel. I want to be there for You and to walk through it, charge through it, run through it, with the people You’ve put in my life.” I wait on God. There’s never a big plan with Toby. Never has been, from DC Talk to today, it’s never been like “I got my plan, God. Here’s the vision.” It’s not really that. I know some people who have referred to me as a visionary. No, man, you don’t understand, it’s not. I’m a person who sits back and waits for God to open the door. When I see which door opens, I’m willing to go.
Watch I Just Need You here:
If you could say one thing to this generation, what would you say?
We have different parts of the music body of Christ. We have bands that are out there in the trenches of the mainstream playing clubs every night. I’ve had moments in the mainstream and I’ve had moments where I was just in the gates of Christendom, not that there should be walls up, but . . . if I was talking to the Church the message I would have for them, people who have culture throwing everything at you . . . it’s very difficult to remain unjaded, to remain soft clay in God’s hands.
For an artist like me who’s just put out my 8th CD (not counting remixes and greatest hits and all that stuff) my number one goal in my life is to remain unjaded. And I think that’s a problem in artistry. I think our artists backstage get jaded. The next song becomes the next song they gotta write because it’s their job. The next CD becomes the next CD they gotta go make in the studio because it’s their job. They feel like they’ve gotta do this for radio and do this for this department. It breaks my heart. Because if you can put yourself in that place every record, every song, every studio session, every show where you’re just like, “I wanna walk on water today with this song I’m gonna write. I’m gonna step out in faith and believe with all my heart that God can breathe something through me that changes someone’s life. I’m gonna believe that God can breathe something through me that wakes someone up who’s turned away from His love and opens their mind to His love again.
If you can do that, man, and remain soft clay life can be amazing. It really can. That was my goal with Portable Sounds. I was like, I will not walk into that studio hardened. That goes to everyone. Be soft every day. Walk on water. Have the faith to say, “Alright, God, I’m believing you’re gonna do something cool here.” And start steppin’.
What is the most exciting thing to you about being in the music industry?
The most exciting thing is the wonder of walking into the studio wondering what God’s going to do next. You walk into the studio and begin a song. You start with a melody in your head maybe, or you have a hot little beat that you’re working on. But it’s knowing that God might just take your daily journal and use it. I thought about the prayers I’ve been praying consistently for the last few years, and I wrote this verse, “To lose my soul . . . Father God, I’m clay in Your hands. I wanna stay that way through all life’s demands. ‘Cause they chip and they nag and they pull at me. And every little thing I make up my mind to be, like I’ma be a daddy who’s in the midst, and I’ma be a husband who stays legit. I pray that I’m an artist who rises above the road that is wide and filled with self-love.”
That’s just my life over that past five years. All of a sudden God takes that life, that prayer, and introduces me to a song called “Lose my Soul”. It takes a simple Scripture of, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?” It’s exciting when things like that happen. And then Kirk Franklin comes on and Mandisa. It’s just mind-blowing if you stay in awe of what God can do, and you don’t get hardened. He always shows up and does something just wickedly cool.
Adopted from Title Trakk.