Q&A with Newsboys' Michael Tait

By by jennifer preyss/jlpreyss@vicad.com
March 28, 2012 at 3:04 p.m.
Updated March 27, 2012 at 10:28 p.m.

Michael Tait, lead vocalist of contemporary Christian band Newsboys, has been rocking the Christian music scene since the 1980s. Formerly of DC Talk, Tait's solo and band successes have garnered the 45-year-old Washington D.C. native more than two decades-worth of chart-topping songs and Grammy and Dove Awards.

Tait joined Newsboys in 2009, which formed in Mooloolaba, Australia in 1985. Band members include Tait, keyboardist Jeff Frankenstein, guitarist Jody Davis and drummer Duncan Phillips.

Best known for their Christian rock hits, such as "He Reigns," "It Is You," and more recently, "Born Again" and "God's Not Dead (Like A Lion)," - which is currently ranked No. 4 on Billboard's Christian CHR Chart - the Newsboys have solidified their name as a band with staying power.

Currently on a national tour, which includes shows in Canada, the Advocate got up close and personal with Tait, interviewing the lead singer about the God's Not Dead Tour, and the band's upcoming performance at RezFest, on April 5, at the Brackenridge Main Event Arena in Edna. The City Harmonic, Anthem Lights and Abandon are also slated to perform.

Do the Newsboys enjoy playing concerts in Texas?

We've done 450 shows and we're constantly on tour. But I love Texas, and we've played a lot of shows there - Texas, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas. The whole world loves Texas. You can do an entire tour just in Texas. I have never been to Edna, so that's a new thing, for sure. But I've heard good things about it.

How were you invited to join Newsboys in 2009?

I knew the guys really well, and knew them for a long time, so it wasn't strange for me to join. But to prove myself to them, that took some time. God took the reigns, and we've been doing well ever since.

Describe your experience so far on the God's Not Dead Tour?

So far, what amazes me, is that in this poor economic time, we continue to sell out shows. We've been blessed that way. Also the camaraderie has been great with the opening acts. It's magical.

Do you think people are feeling pulled to your message of God's love even more so because of the economic downturn?

I think people are searching for God all over the world, for sure. When they come to a show, they can find God in that moment, and get out of the norm, and spend time celebrating life and God.

Why do you think Newsboys have survived more than 25 years?

Because this band is all about change. We work hard at being relevant, and keeping it fresh. And of course because it's God's purpose.

RezFest is right before Easter Sunday. What significance does Easter hold for you?

Easter is for all believers, it's their day. It's the day Christ rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. It's the celebration of the resurrection.

Do you have any Easter traditions?

I get up for the sunrise service at my church in Nashville, then I go to McDonald's for a sausage biscuit.

Do Newsboys have plans to crossover to mainstream pop, or are you comfortable in the Christian genre?

We were just talking about this. We want to do that for sure, and we're looking at doing that in the future. There's no question about it.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

Yes. 1 John 1-9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." That is what I hold onto.

Will you stay with Newsboys for a while, or do you think you'll go solo again?

I see myself with them a long time, for sure. I ain't going nowhere. But I might consider a solo career in country or pop. My friend, Kelly Clarkson, always tells me, "Tait, you should be a pop singer."

If you could do a duet with anyone, who would it be?

Probably Dolly Parton, or that homegirl, Carrie Underwood.

What message do you want RezFest concert-goers to receive at the show?

That God cares about their every situation and fear, and that no sin is too big. That they're never out of God's reach. And to confess your sins. God is promised to forgive, or he's a liar.

Tell me something you haven't told any other reporter.

I was afraid to join the Newsboys because I thought they would not like me. It took me about six or seven months to get over that fear, but now we're all best friends.

Tell me something good.

You can never go wrong by doing right.



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