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Grammy winner TobyMac reveals his inspirations

8:22 PM, Dec. 6, 2012

Top Six

1. “Legend,” Bob Marley.
2. “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” Lauryn Hill.
3. “Synchonicity,” The Police.
4. “Lead Me On,” Amy Grant.
5. “Rock ’n’ Soul Part 1,” Daryl Hall and John Oates.
6. “Off the Wall,” Michael Jackson.
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Who are the most inspirational people in your life? Who ignites your craziest dreams and motivates you to follow your heart and never give up?

When I asked that question of TobyMac, the Grammy Award-winning artist who performs Thursday as his “Hits Deep Tour” visits the Pensacola Bay Center, 201 E. Gregory St., his answer was immediate: “My wife. She’s an amazing woman.”

As a member of the ’90s Christian rock/rap group DC Talk, TobyMac used a foundation of faith to build his pop success. In November, he earned an American Music Award for Favorite Contemporary/Inspirational Artist, and his latest album, “Eye On It,” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart.

Following his wife, TobyMac also gave credit to another inspirational leader who introduced the artist to a wider audience.

“I got to do about 12 to 14 concerts with the Rev. Billy Graham,” he said of the popular evangelist. “I was blessed to watch a man step out of his comfort zone and reach out to youth culture in a way that only he could in stadiums full of people.”

Mandisa and Brandon Heath and Friends will share the bill at the Pensacola Bay Center on Thursday, with doors opening at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $28 to $51.60 at the Pensacola Bay Center box office, Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at (800) 745-3000. Additional fees may apply. For more, visit

Inspirational dad

For Grayson Capps, who performs tonight at Vinyl Music Hall, 2 Palafox Place, inspiration also was found close to home. The Alabama native whose music touches the American roots of rock, blues and folk named his dad as the most inspirational person in his life.

Capps’ journey — full of unique destinations and people who are sometimes revealed in song — began as the son of author Ronald Everett Capps.

“He’s like a vessel through which inspiration comes,” Capps said of his father.

Adding to his list of inspirations, Capps poetically included Doc Watson and “people like Woody Guthrie who inspire me just because of the simplicity of three chords and the truth and how powerful they continue to be. John Prine songs will outlive Britney Spears. My inspirations weren’t like Yngwie Malmsteem; more like Hank Williams-induced.”

Playing bars, clubs and concert halls around the world, Capps has taken a raw and rustic road through the music industry.

“I came into music kind of backwards,” said the musician, who also earned a theatre degree at Tulane University. “I did exactly what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it, musically, because I wasn’t making a living at it most of my life.”

The message for Capps hits just as deep.

“Music to me is more an education and less entertainment,” he said. “I like it when people dance to music, but mostly, I want people to listen. Music is for healing and spiritual and growth for everybody concerned, and that seems to be the biggest motivation for me.”

The Mama Lucky Band and Reed Lightfoot open the show tonight at Vinyl Music Hall. Tickets for this all ages show are $5, with a $5 surcharge for those younger than 21. Doors open at 8 p.m. For more, visit

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