Now in its 18th year, the Winter Jam Tour Spectacular is making a stop in Omaha.
The Christian music concert is Friday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Auditorium.
The tour, founded and hosted by Grammy-nominated group New-Song in 1995, has featured some of the genre's biggest names and introduced Christian music to new audiences across the country.
This year's 44-city tour will be headlined by Grammy award winner and multi-platinum recording artist TobyMac. It will also feature performances from RED, Matthew West, Jamie Grace, Sidewalk Prophets and Royal Tailor, and a message from speaker Nick Hall.
The Youth Music Vault Pre-Jam Party will include performances by Jason Castro of “American Idol,” OBB and Capital Kings.
We recently spoke to TobyMac by phone about relating his faith in his music, the rap genre in general and the possibility of a DC Talk reunion.
Question: You've played Winter Jam before. What do you like about it?
Answer: I love Winter Jam. It's a really diverse night of styles of music. The big stages serve (my music) well because it's like a big party going on. It's about sharing my music live. My music's about all the things I go through in life. I write about things that I live, whether I'm looking at the day as an optimist or a pessimist. My faith and the hope that I have in that is something that comes out in my music because it's something that I love.
Q: You're a Christian musician and you also rap. What do you think of mainstream rap?
A: I think rap is a very wide lyrical genre. I think there are rap songs about everyday life, there are rap songs about the women rappers love, and there are rap songs about living the gangster life. I think there's some amazing rap songs out there that cause me to think. Then I think there are some other ones that I don't prefer.
Q: Do you think more faith-inspired songs are going mainstream?
A: I do. I think people realize that's a part of a lot of our lives, whether or not it's the exact same faith. It shouldn't be taboo because it's something that a lot of us believe in. It's really important in our lives. To talk about it in our music is a natural thing.
Q: Why have you chosen to be labeled as a Christian artist?
A: I don't think I necessarily chose the label. I'd rather be an artist that is a Christian. Sometimes when your art has that heavy of a label, people won't listen to it with open ears.
Q: Are a lot of your songs about your personal life?
A: I'm finding that when I write personally, the more people relate to it. They tend to resonate with those songs even though I wrote them about my specific situation.
Q: What was it like to find out that your most recent album, “Eye On It,” won a Grammy?
A: I was really so honored and grateful. “Eye On It” was a labor of love. I'm grateful for the people who helped me make it.
Q: Where do you go after winning a Grammy?
A: I think as long as I remain passionate about writing songs, making music and sharing it with people, I'll keep writing songs and touring.
Q: Is it hard to live up to your reputation as a successful artist?
A: Being an artist, it's a day at a time of course, but it's really a song at a time. I think as long as you remain in that hopeful, edge-of-your-seat state, the passion will remain. When it starts becoming another record or another song, that's when I get worried. I want to sit on the edge of my seat and wonder.
Q: You were part of the trio DC Talk. Do you think about them as you write?
A: I always consider them because we came up together. We learned how to be artists together. We learned how to perform together. They're always in my head and my heart.
Q: Do you think there will ever be a DC Talk reunion?
A: I can say I don't think any of us are closed to it. It's just a matter of timing has to be right for all three of us. We're friends, so the door's always open.