TobyMac, best-selling and Grammy Award-winning artist, releases his fourth studio project CD, Tonight. The album single, “City on Our Knees,” released last fall and has sold more than 130,000 copies, making it TobyMac’s fastest charting and selling track of his career.
Once again, TobyMac invited special guests to collaborate with him. Skillet’s John Cooper, Matthew Thiessen of Relient K and Nirva Ready are featured on this album. A special treat is hearing TobyMac’s 10-year-old son, Truett, aka “TruDog,” on “LoudNClear.” Also available are bonus remixes and behind-the-scenes video.
TobyMac recently answered questions and shared his thoughts about his latest album. (Click here to purchase.)
Q: What can you tell us about the new album?
A: To me making the record is an absolute labor of love from the songwriting process to the recording process. I get to shape songs while waiting for God to breathe into them.
I try to write about life as a believer on this planet and all that comes with it-the struggles, minor victories and major breakthroughs. I find that when I write songs about my own “junk,” people relate to my songs. Most of us are going through the same thing. I call the record Tonight because that’s when things come together for me. A written song turns into a produced recording and then gets into the hands of people and we get together in a concert setting where anything can happen.
Q: What did you bring from your experience with the live record Alive and Transported?
A: My band played on a lot of tracks on this record. I have always had a mixture of studio musicians and my band to make up the sound of my recording. I am always thinking about the live show. My band is so amazing they make me think we can do anything in the studio. So I think the live record probably busted my confidence to take creative adventures with my show in mind.
Q: The songs touch on a variety of topics. Where did you draw from?
A: I draw from my own personal experiences, my friendships and my shortcomings-the times I am there for a friend and the times I wasn’t, the times I stuck my foot in my mouth and the times I didn’t. I want my songs to be about life, a pursuit of holiness in a crazy mixed-up world.
Q: You seem to be one of the few artists who doesn’t really have to struggle to reach younger listeners. Why is that?
A: The style of music that I make lends itself to a wide demographic. When you mix a big ol’ pot of musical gumbo, people are going to like something in it. [It’s] the thing that most bothers critics, but that is just who I am.
Q: Where are you now creatively?
A: Honestly, right now I am pretty spent creatively. Coming off a year-and-a-half-long process, the writing, mixing, mastering these songs has been a long run. Then I headed straight out to the Winter Wonder Slam Tour. I usually get refueled creatively very quickly, though. I have a few songs I didn’t get finished on this record that I want to get back into. Right now I am most inspired about taking the songs on the Tonight album and turning them into a live experience.
Q: What are your thoughts on the changing landscape of the music industry?
A: I would always want people to enjoy the experience of buying the CD and delving into the packaging. The heart of the album is the players that make it what it is, but if my songs are getting into people’s hands, I’m not complaining. When artists begin to overly concern themselves on how music is getting into people’s hands, they are not concerned enough on the art that they are making. It is difficult, but I am trying to stay focused on the songs and not how they get out there.
Q: Will you tour in support of the new record?
A: I will be co-headlining with Skillet on the Awake Tonight tour. I think the intensity of both bands will make for a great live experience. Later this summer, I plan to co-headline some shows with Chris Tomlin, mostly amphitheaters. That is something I’ve wanted to do for a while.