Although various rock predecessors have examined spiritual issues - U2, Van Morrison, and Bob Dylan immediately come to mind - dc Talk has taken the notion to new lengths, both in commercial terms and depth of artistic exploration. Numerous Dove Awards, three Grammy Awards, one multi-platinum album, two platinum albums, two gold albums and two gold-certified long-form videos attest to the group's ability to bridge the wall between religious and secular audiences. "We're very open about our Christian faith," says Toby McKeehan, "but when we make our records we want to create a musical experience that anyone can immerse themselves in. One of our goals is to encourage listeners to question themselves and to seek out truth."
But McKeehan and his dc Talk partners Michael Tait and Kevin Max have more far-reaching goals than just marrying lyrical correctness to music. The smoldering "Consume Me", from their 1997 album Supernatural, expresses spiritual devotion in intimate terms. "We view our relationship with God as very personal," says McKeehan, "and some people might get upset because the relationship in 'Consume Me' is so passionate and real, rather than ritualistic. We wrote this as a spiritual song because to us, faith is a passionate, personal, committed love relationship with Jesus Christ." "Yeah, part of us is message-oriented; another part is entertainment driven," says Kevin Max. "I'd like the music to make an impact on as many levels as possible," admits Michael Tait. "If that sounds like a lofty, ambitious goal, that's okay. If one person likes the way it sounds, and another likes what the lyrics are saying, both are valid and both are important."
After relocating to Nashville, dc Talk released a series of increasingly ambitious and successful albums, beginning with their self-titled 1989 debut; followed by their gold-certified 1990 sophomore album Nu Thang; the platinum-certified 1992 opus Free At Last; 1995's Jesus Freak, a double-platinum watershed which afforded the group more mainstream success than ever before; as well as 1997's platinum-selling Supernatural. In addition to their recordings, live performance has been a crucial part of the dc Talk story, and the group's fiery on-stage delivery earned them respect from virtually all quarters. "Live music is what being a musician is all about," says Max; "When you perform a song live, that's when you really begin to understand the song's meaning." Tait adds 'when you yourself are having as much fun -if not more- than the audience, that's the essence of a live show."
Whether forging strong bonds with concert audiences, or expressing their faith in the recording studio, dc Talk strives to treat their listeners as equals, rather than receptors. McKeehan says, "We want to make music that encourages people to think about the things we think about spiritual issues and truth." Max adds, "Just as we all share the idea of caring and conscience, we also share the hunger to find truth and meaning in life."
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