TobyMac has trouble nailing down exactly the kind of music he makes.
“It’s soul music, but not in the traditional sense,” says the Grammy winning Christian singer whose “Hits Deep” tour stops Saturday, March 5, at the Save Mart Center.
“I don’t know how else to describe it,” he says.
There are hints, of course, in his favorite artists, what he calls the four corners of his musical inspiration. There’s Run-D.M.C., The Police, Bob Marley, and Hall and Oates. You’ll find elements of each sprinkled through the singer’s career — from his beginnings in the ’90s as one-third of rap group DC Talk (along with Newsboys singer Michael Tait) to his seven solo albums, the most recent of which, “This is Not a Test,” debuted at No. 4 on Billboard’s Top 200.
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Last month, it won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album.
It was TobyMac’s third win as a solo artist, but it was the first time he was at the ceremony to accept the award.
“I’d been there many years when I didn’t win,” he says.
My music is not personal indulgence. It’s meant to serve people.
Winning a Grammy is special because the awards are voted on by peers, not fans, and are recognized around the world. Even in Jamaica – where TobyMac’s wife is from – people know the Grammys.
“They know it in every country, every culture,” he says. “It’s sort of that shot heard round the world.”
TobyMac will take the win with him as he heads back out on the road. The singer has been on tour since “This is Not a Test” came out in August. He did 40 dates last fall and by May, will have played across most of the United States. While there is fulfillment (joy even) in writing and recording songs, it can get laborious being in a studio for months on end, he says.
TobyMac would rather be in front of a crowd.
“It’s my favorite thing to do,” he says.
The “Hits Deep” arena show is a talent-packed, multi-artist affair, he says. TobyMac is joined on the bill by Britt Nicole, Colton Dixon, Building 429, Capital Kings, Finding Favour and Hollyn, all artists who are his friends and all people with whom he likes to tour. The concert plays out like a Motown revue, which each performer playing their hit songs.
“That was the goal of this tour,” TobyMac says. “It’s hits all night long.”
TobyMac, “Hits Deep” tour
- 7 p.m. Saturday, March 5
- Save Mart Center
- Ticket Prices: $15-$69.50
- 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com