Toby McKeehan (born Kevin Michael McKeehan; October 22, 1964), better known by his stage name TobyMac (styled tobyMac), is a Christian recording artist, producer and songwriter.
TobyMac was one of the first Christian rappers. He was first known for being a member of the Christian singing trio DC Talk, staying with them from 1987 until their announced hiatus in 2000. He has since continued a successful solo career with the release of four studio albums: Momentum (2001), Welcome to Diverse City (2004), Portable Sounds (2007), and Tonight(2010), as well as two remixed albums of the first two albums titled Re:Mix Momentum and Renovating Diverse City, respectively.
Between DC talk and his own solo career, he has sold more than 10 million albums. TobyMac has had six #1 hit CHR singles including "Gone", "Made to Love" and "Lose My Soul." His live concert CD+DVD combo album, Alive and Transported, was released in 2008 and received the Grammy Award for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album at the 51st Grammy Awards in 2009. His fourth studio album, Tonight, was released on February 9, 2010
DC Talk (19882001)
Toby formed DC Talk with Michael Tait in 1987, at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. He and Tait released Christian Rhymes to a Rhythm in 1988, while they recruited classmate, Kevin Max Smith. The three set out on-tour after they released their first album in 1989, DC Talk. In 1990 They released their first gold album, Nu Thang. After the Nu Thang tour they recorded their first platinum album, Free at Last. The Free at Last Tour was a success. They were invited to play on The Jay Leno Show and The Arsenio Hall Show, getting mainstream attention. They released their first single for their next album which immediately became a hit single. The album went multi-platinum and the best Christian album in the face of CCM music, Jesus Freak, which they released in 1995. The album led to the extremely popular Jesus Freak World Tour. They eventually released the tour CD, Welcome to the Freakshow. The tour ended in success in time for Supernatural, which would be their last album. The album would sell platinum. They then went solo in 2001.
The band has not toured together since 2001 (except for one show in Redmond, Washington in 2005, and when TobyMac made surprise guest appearances at Winter Jam in 2010 in Nashville and in 2011 in Greensboro, NC and sang "Jesus Freak" with Michael Tait). However, dc Talk has recorded several songs together since their hiatus: "Let's Roll" (a song about the September 11 attacks) in 2002, "Atmosphere (Remix)" on TobyMac's 2004 album Welcome to Diverse City, and "The Cross", a track on Kevin Max's 2007 album The Blood.
In 2001, TobyMac released his first solo album titled Momentum. McKeehan composed and recorded the song "Extreme Days" for the 2001 Truth Builder Productions film Extreme Days, which was featured on the Momentum album. The song Extreme Days was also used in the movie, Hangman's Curse, based on the popular book by Frank Peretti. His song "Get This Party Started" was featured on an episode of the TV show Roswell. His song "Yours" made it to the Top 5 on ChristianRock.net. His songs "Yours", "Extreme Days", "Get This Party Started", and "Momentum" were all recently featured in the Xbox 360 video game Crackdown. Momentum gained five Dove Awards and a Grammy nomination. In 2002 he released his only Christmas album to date, This Christmas with only two tracks: "This Christmas" and "O Come All Ye Faithful". In 2003 he remixed the Momentum album. This album was titled Re:Mix Momentum.
Welcome to Diverse City (20042006)
Welcome to Diverse City was released in October 2004. The album debuted and peaked on the Billboard 200 at number 54, selling 21,000 copies that week. The album's 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. Ohio Valley Wrestling performer Matt Cappotelli (who currently is unable to perform due to a brain tumor) uses "The Slam" as his entrance theme. In the movie Never Back Down Toby's song "The Slam" is featured in the main fight scene. "Diverse City" was featured in the Veronica Mars episode, The Wrath of Con. "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). The album gave TobyMac another Dove Award for Rap/Hip-Hop Album of the Year. A remix version of the album, Renovating->Diverse City, was released in 2005.
Portable Sounds (20072008)
McKeehan's next album, titled Portable Sounds, was released in 2007 and 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. "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. In September 2007, his song "Feelin' So Fly" appeared in the film The Game Plan starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Recently, "Ignition" received worldwide exposure when it was used as the Arizona Cardinals entrance music during the pre-game of Super Bowl XLIII, Then in March 2011, it was played during NCAA tournament promo during Arizona vs UConn game. TobyMac was awarded two Dove Awards for his work on this album, including Artist of the Year. His music video featuring the song "Boomin" was awarded a Dove Award for Short Form Music Video of the Year. Around this time also, he wrote his song, "New World" for the "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and recorded the song "What We Gonna Do?" for the VeggieTales movie, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie.
Alive and Transported (2008)
TobyMac released his first live album as a solo artist in 2008. Alive and Transported was a live recording of the Portable Sounds Tour in Houston, TX. It included covers of popular DC Talk songs "Jesus Freak" and "In the Light". The album included a DVD of the concert and gained him a GMA Dove and a Grammy Award.
TobyMac's fourth studio release, Tonight, was released on February 9, 2010. The album debuted at #6 on the Billboard 200, selling 79,000 units in its first week. The album's first single, "City on Our Knees", was released on August 14, 2009. The song reached #1 on Billboard's Hot Christian Songs and #1 on both Christian AC and CHR. Christopher Stevens and Dave Wyatt joined McKeehan in producing the album, as with the production of his 2007 release, Portable Sounds. Truett, aka TruDog, Toby's oldest son, was once again featured on a song as in the previous albums. The album is a mix of pop, rock, hip-hop, Latin, and funk, similar to his album Portable Sounds. The album charted #6 on the Billboard Top 200 and #1 on the Billboard Christian albums chart; selling 79,000 units in its first week. He recently finished touring with Skillet and House of Heroes on the successful "Awake Tonight Tour".The title track of the new album is featured in the intro of MLB Network's TV show 30 Clubs 30 Days. In March, he announced the "Hello Tonight" summer 2010 tour with Chris Tomlin. The song "City on Our Knees" gave TobyMac a Dove Award for Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year. The song "Showstopper" was used to promote World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) June 2010 Pay Per View, "Fatal 4-Way", and was used at least once in NCAA Basketball. It was also used as an introduction to Thursday Night Football in 2009-2010. The song was also promoted for ESPYS' Best U.S Male Olympian. Tobymac's "Tonight" was listed best Christian album of 2010 on iTunes as well as his Christmas single titled "Christmas This Year" (featuring Leigh Nash) was awarded the holiday song of the week on iTunes. He won the "Artist of the Year" at the 2011 Dove Awards. Additionally, the songs Get Back Up and City On Our Knees were recognized for being two of the Top 25 most performed songs on Christian radio over the past year.
TobyMac just ended a tour with Third Day, Michael W. Smith, Jason Gray and Max Lucado on the World Vision-sponsored "Make a Difference Tour 2010".
Tonight was nominated for a Grammy in the category Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album for the 53rd Annual Grammy awards