Concert-going can be a pricey hobby, but the Hits Deep Tour coming to Grand Canyon University Arena on Feb. 28 gives you more bang for your buck. Hosted by the multi-Grammy-winning hip-hop artist TobyMac, the concert features a hit-parade of contemporary Christian music from stars like Mandisa, Matthew West, Brandon Heath and Matt Maher.
GetOut recently spoke with TobyMac about his latest album, his collaboration with hip-hop artist Lecrae, and why he likes Bob Marley.
Q: Your songs have met with great success on both the Christian and secular charts. Why do they have such broad appeal?
TM: I try to write songs from my experiences, from what I’m going through personally, whether it be my struggles, the things I’m able to overcome, my friendships, when I failed to be there for a friend, or when a friend has been there for me. When I write from my experiences, people relate to them. ...(My songs) are about living in this world and trying to do the right thing and staying true to what you believe — in my case that’s my faith in God, my Christianity.
Q: “Me Without You” — the first single of “Eye on It” — takes an inverted look at your life, what you’d be like without your faith. Why did you write a song from that perspective?
TM: When you take a long hard look back at your life, you start to play things back: Would I have gone left or right? It was a matter of where I’d be without God in my life. It drives (me) to be thankful, because I realize I would be a mess without God.
Q: You collaborated with Lecrae on the song “Forgiveness.” Why is this concept so important to you?
TM: I think people perceive forgiveness as something that’s not available to them. People, including myself, think we’re not good enough for forgiveness, we’re too far away from forgiveness. (Forgiveness) is turning around from the direction you’re going in, reaching out your hand to a fellow human being or to God. If we’re willing to turn around, He’ll meet us right where we are.
Q: Your album includes a song about your family. How do you balance being a husband and father with writing songs, recording and touring?
TM: It’s a delicate balance to be sure. I just try to be there when I’m there and make my family my priority. We made certain decisions: I stop recording around 6 p.m. so I can be home, sitting down around the table and asking everyone the best part of their day, rocking a song real loud in the kitchen (we call it the clean up song).
Q: You’ve referenced Bob Marley as an artist you emulate. Tell us why.
TM: Bob Marley took culture and spirituality and blended that in songs. Our spirituality is not the same — I’m not a Rastafarian, (but) spirituality was how he believed you should deal with things in your world: culture, government. He’s writing songs about life — about the life of a Jamaican, about government, when they felt oppressed. I don’t think it’s that different.
IF YOU GO
What: TobyMac’s Hits Deep Tour
When: 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28
Where: Grand Canyon University Arena, 3300 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix
Information: (602) 639-8979 or GCUArena.com