TobyMac

TobyMac

Toby McKeehan (born October 22, 1964 in Fairfax, Virginia), professionally known as TobyMac, is a professional musician, producer, and songwriter. He was first known for being one third of the Christian music group dc Talk staying with them from 1989 until their announced hiatus in 2000. He has since continued a successful solo career with the release of three studio albums; Momentum (2001), Welcome to Diverse City (2004), and Portable Sounds (2007), as well as two remixed versions of his first two albums, titled , and Renovating Diverse City.

Life and career

Early life

Toby was born on October 22, 1964, in Fairfax, Virginia. TobyMac Biography, dcTalkUnite.com; Retrieved March 27, 2008

In his childhood, Toby grew up in Annandale, Virginia. He attended Pine Ridge Elementary, a school with fewer than 300 students during the years that Toby attended (1970-1977) .He later attended Luther Jackson Intermediate during the first few months of his 7th grade school year. Both schools were mentioned in his song "Extreme Days".

He then attended Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia where he met Kevin Max and Michael Tait.

dc Talk

The trio formed the band dc Talk in 1987. DC Talk's original sound was hip-hop, but in 1995 they reinvented themselves with the release of the guitar-heavy Jesus Freak. Although they'd already won a Grammy for their earlier work, this album was a significant milestone, selling over two million copies, making it a double platinum record.

dc Talk's latest album was released in 2001. The album Intermission: the Greatest Hits was a dc Talk compilation put together when the group members started their "intermission." The members were pursuing individual careers then, and at the time assured fans that dc Talk had not split up, but rather they were simply taking "an intermission." More recently though, comments from the band members, most notably from Kevin Max, have implied that dc Talk will not regroup. Kevin Max writes on his official website's message board, "dc Talk is something of the past. In order for dc Talk to be anything of the future, it will be up to each individual member to come together to create something that is lasting and substantial. There is an audience out there interested in seeing dc Talk back together as a group and as an entertaining and creative force, but I feel that the spirit of the thing is dead. I appreciated the time that we had together those many years, and I thank God many times over for allowing me to be a part of something that was so far reaching and helped so many people, but to be honest, just doing a show to do a show is not interesting to me. It must be thought out, creative and passionate."

dc Talk reunited to perform a song on the album Let's Roll about the events on September 11, 2001, on Toby's second album Welcome to Diverse City (They appeared on the song "Atmosphere (Remix)"), and also on Kevin Max's album The Blood in the song "The Cross".

Solo career

Toby McKeehan's solo music differs from dc Talk's rock-based musical style, leaning toward a more urban, hip hop sound. His sound is much more reminiscent of what was heard when dc Talk originally started out, on the albums dc Talk, Nu Thang, and Free At Last.

McKeehan composed and recorded the song "Extreme Days" for the 2001 Truth Builder Productions film Extreme Days. The song was subsequently featured on the 2001 debut tobyMac album Momentum and was used in the movie, Hangman's Curse, based on the popular book by Frank Peretti. McKeehan also composed and performed the song "New World" for the album Music Inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. His song "The Slam" was featured in the film Never Back Down, advertisements for the films Transporter 2, Aeon Flux, and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, as well as advertisements for the television show Prison Break. The song was also featured in car commercials, men's NCAA clips, NBA Finals (Miami Heat, 2006), World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) programming, NFL Football commercials, and "The Ultimate Highlight" on Sportscenter. "Diverse City" was featured in the Veronica Mars episode, The Wrath of Con. Ohio Valley Wrestling performer Matt Cappotelli (who currently is unable to perform due to a brain tumor) uses "The Slam" as his entrance theme. Many more of Toby's songs have also been used in commercials. "Atmosphere" was used in a Volvo car commercial, "Burn For You" was used for cinnamon gum commercials (as well as on a Dr. Phil advertisement), "Ignition" is being used by ABC/ESPN to promote its coverage of NASCAR, and "Boomin'" has also been used to promote a new crime-drama, The Women's Murder Club, on ABC, as well as others. His song "Get This Party Started" was featured on an episode of the TV show Roswell. His songs "Yours", "Extreme Days", "Get This Party Started", and "Momentum" were all recently featured in the Xbox 360 video game Crackdown. In September 2007, his song "Feelin' So Fly" appeared in the film The Game Plan starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Tampa Bay Rays player Ben Zobrist uses "Ignition" as his entrance song when he comes up to bat.

Portable Sounds sold 50,645 copies in its first week, debuting at #10 on the Billboard 200, and at #1 on the SoundScan Contemporary Christian Overall chart. The album also received a Grammy nomination for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album. The songs "Made to Love" and "I'm For You" both hit #1 and were the second and third most played songs on Christian Hit Radio stations in 2007.

Toby is also the President of record label Gotee Records. Gotee features artists such as DJ Maj, Relient K, and John Reuben. However, as a recording artist, he is under contract with ForeFront Records.

Career Outside Music

Toby has written two books with Michael Tait and Kevin Max called Jesus Freaks: DC Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs - Stories of Those Who Stood for Jesus, the Ultimate Jesus Freaks and Jesus Freaks: Revolutionaries: Stories of Revolutionaries Who Changed Their World: Fearing God, Not Man (Jesus Freaks). These books are mainly focused on Christian martyrs. He has also written two more books with Michael Tait titled "Under God containing stories of America's spiritual battles, and another called "Living Under God: Discovering Your Part In God's Plan.

The Diverse City Band

Toby's band on his albums and his live shows has become known as "The Diverse City Band". In 2007 they recorded their first single as a band; "Party (Citizens Come Out)". The song is featured on the Hip Hop compilation album, "Hip Hope 2008".

Personal life

Toby and his wife Amanda (Mandy) McKeehan live in Franklin, TN. They have five children: Truett ("TruDog") born September 4, 1998, Moses, Marlee, Leo born November 2, 2004, and Judah born March 24, 2006. Moses and Marlee were adopted in 2002. Truett appears on the albums Momentum, Re:Mix Momentum, Welcome to Diverse City, Renovating Diverse City, and Portable Sounds as emerging rap artist TruDog.

Toby attended Liberty University, the same university as Christian voice actor and singer Vic Mignogna, who also helped dc Talk with their first album.

Discography

Studio albums

Year Title Label(s) Status Peak Position (Billboard 200)
2001 Momentum ForeFront Records Gold #110
2004 Welcome to Diverse City ForeFront Records Gold #54
2007 Portable Sounds ForeFront Records #10
2009 TBA ForeFront Records

Remix albums

Year Title Label(s)
2003 ForeFront Records
2005 Renovating Diverse City ForeFront Records

Live albums

Year Title Label(s)
2008 Alive and Transported ForeFront Records

Videography

Year Title Label(s)
2002 Momentum ForeFront Records
2007 Portable Sights ForeFront Records
2008 Alive and Transported ForeFront Records

Awards

GMA Dove Awards

  • 2008 "Artist of the Year"
  • 2008 "Short Form Music Video of the Year" for "Boomin"
  • 2008 "Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year" for Portable Sounds
  • 2006 "Rock Recorded Song of the Year" for "The Slam"
  • 2005 "Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year" for Welcome to Diverse City
  • 2003 "Short Form Music Video of the Year" for "Irene"
  • 2002 "Rap/Hip Hop Recorded Song of the Year" for "Somebody's Watching"
  • 2002 "Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year" for Momentum

Grammy nominations

See also

References

External links

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