Music Roots At Liberty
Throughout its history, Liberty University has witnessed a tremendous number of individuals go on to impact the world in extraordinary ways after graduation. Some of these alumni have become known in the public eye as being world-changers for Christ, and this extends to the world of music as well. These and other incredibly gifted individuals have pursued their dreams of glorifying God through the talents and abilities He created them with. Several notable figures in the Christian music industry, such as Meredith Andrews, Michael Tait and Toby Mac, got their start while obtaining a college education from Liberty and have since become pioneers in their sphere. Such individuals serve as a prime example of using their gifts to give God glory, whether in a small local setting or on a stage for all the world to see the bright light that shines through them.
Just before coming to Liberty in the early 2000s, Meredith Andrews felt a calling to spend her life using her musical gifts to serve God. Andrews grew up singing — beginning at the young age of 6 years old — but it wasn’t until she was an older teenager that Andrews knew she was meant to be a singer-songwriter for the glory of God. During her time at Liberty, where she studied family and child development, Andrews served in what was then known as Campus Praise Band, a root of the current Liberty Worship Collective, and enjoyed leading worship among her peer group of college students. After her graduation from Liberty in 2005, Andrews worked as a worship leader at Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago and established music connections in Nashville, where she met her husband. In the ensuing flurry of music awards, tours, albums and guest appearances, Andrews has prioritized balancing her music career with her family life, while also returning on occasion to Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University, where her heart for ministry was cultivated.
Hoping to appeal to the up-and-coming generation, Michael Tait has seen and implemented the value in expanding the musical scope of contemporary Christian music. Tait and Toby McKeehan (Toby Mac) met while living in Dorm 8, and the rest was history. It was in that dorm that the two friends began writing songs together and formed the band DC Talk along with Kevin Max. DC Talk became a special part of campus life at Liberty in a musical sense, eventually launching the friends into successful music careers that would include numerous collaborations with other Christian music artists and extraordinary opportunities to share the love of Jesus with the world. Tait became the lead vocalist of the Newsboys in 2009, an influential group whose hit song “God’s Not Dead” was the namesake for the 2014 film featuring a cameo appearance of the Newsboys. Even in the whirlwind of a successful career, however, Tait has a special affection for the university where his passion for sharing Christ through the gift of music first began. He has returned to perform for students on several occasions in events such as Liberty’s Convocation and College for a Weekend.
While he originally had no inclination to pursue a career in music, Toby McKeehan (Toby Mac) has become a top name in contemporary Christian music. McKeehan graduated from Liberty in 1988, where he studied political science, grew spiritually and took ownership of his faith. There, McKeehan met Kevin Max and Michael Tait, who shared his passion for music, and they formed the groundbreaking contemporary Christian band DC Talk before venturing out in their own solo acts, as Toby Mac did, or joining other groups, such as the Newsboys (Tait) and Audio Adrenaline (Max). McKeehan’s music endeavors were especially momentous, pushing the limits of the Christian music world where rap and hip hop had no solid footing at the time. According to McKeehan, however, Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr. was supportive of his efforts to extend the message of Christianity to the rap and hip hop music genres. Since his Liberty days, McKeehan has won Grammy awards and made appearances at Liberty’s Convocation and College for a Weekend.