TobyMac has collaborated with other artists during his career, but never as much as on his newest album, Life After Death.
He and Blessing Offor partner on The Goodness. On Cornerstone, it's TobyMac and Zach Williams. On Promised Land, it's him and Sheryl Crow. Other artists include Tauren Wells, Sarah Reeves, Jon Reddick, Terrian, Wande, Cory Asbury, Gabe Real, Michael Tait and Kevin Max. TobyMac's daughter Marlee sings with him on Everything About You.
All total, 11 of the 15 tracks are collaborations. Life After Death was the first album for TobyMac since the death of his son, Truett McKeehan, in 2019.
"I've always dreamed of doing a collaborative record – a record of collaborations," TobyMac told Christian Headlines. "And I thought this would be a better time than any because I feel like maybe I needed a little help from my friends to make it through it. After what I've experienced and losing my firstborn, I just think people came alongside me and helped me – helped me maybe sing some of the things that were hard for me to sing, and maybe made me a little stronger. So I'm grateful."
Perhaps the most surprising collaboration was the one with Sheryl Crow, a mainstream artist who has won nine Grammys.
"Our kids were both going to a small Christian elementary school," he told Christian Headlines. "... And when I met her, I honestly didn't know who she was at first. It took me a second. She was a mom there. ... And I just met her in the hallway. But I've been a big fan of hers since I was young, and just loved her vocal – the passion she sings with. And she seems to be a woman that keeps it real. Some people think it's a controversial choice. [But] I think it's amazing. I think that we're supposed to be together in things. And I know her heart, because I've talked to her."
TobyMac launches his annual Hits Deep tour on Jan. 26. It's a 30-city tour featuring artists like Crowder and Tasha Layton.
Touring, he said, is one of his passions.
"I think it's the ultimate moment for a songwriter. It's fun to write a song and record a song. It's fulfilling," he said.
It's even more fulfilling, he said, to sing the song "with the actual people that you're praying it would resonate with."
"When that song and that artist and those people come together," he said, "it's a special moment."
Photo courtesy: ©Blue Amber/Dove Awards, used with permission.
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.