Everyone has heard the old expression: “Art imitates life.” However, sometimes for art most effectively to imitate life, an artist needs time to process his experiences. That’s what Toby McKeehan, a.k.a. tobyMac, has been doing as he prepares for the release of his second solo album.
“This record has been different for me because rather than record at a specific time, I’ve recorded over the last two-and-a-half years,” says McKeehan, who admits he’s been used to setting aside a shorter amount of time and working intensely to get a project done.
“I think it’s going to reflect life a little more for me,” he says of the new album, out in October on ForeFront Records. “Life is more than just making records and meeting deadlines. Your music should be moving through your life and what is moving through your life should be in your music. [This album] will be a greater depiction of thoughts, feelings and life versus just one snapshot of a given moment.”
McKeehan has had a lot to inspire him the last few years. He and his wife, Amanda, adopted twins (Moses and Marlee) and also have a five-year-old son, Truett. dcTalk, the trio McKeehan rose to fame in along with pals Michael Tait and Kevin Max, is still on hiatus with each member pursuing individual projects. Thus, McKeehan has been touring with Warren Barfield and Third Day, and working on his next solo effort.
One song slated to be on the new album, “Slam,” was inspired by Mel Gibson’s film The Passion Of the Christ.”‘Slam’ is about Christ doing it all on the cross,” says McKeehan. “It’s not direct. When you hear the song, you wouldn’t think that it was about The Passion. It’s a little more loosely tied lyrically, a little more abstract, but it basically says in a nutshell this is the slam, he’s the one, he came to do it like it ain’t been done before.”
McKeehan says the album expands sonically on his solo debut Momentum. “It’s pushing the boundaries of Momentum, probably like pushing every wall out a little further — meaning the rock & roll things rock a little hard, the funk element grooves a little harder and the hip-hop probably bumps a little better. It’s not like I was trying to reinvent tobyMac. I’ve just been in this crock pot a little longer now with this tobyMac thing, and things are starting to run over the edges of that pot I call my musical gumbo. There’s pop, rock, reggae, hip-hop. I’m putting everything in and stirring it up. It’s like a big pot of gumbo and everyone’s invited to the party.”