Toby Friesen (piano • guitar) not only cares about what his students learn musically, but also their spiritual walk. Music is so deeply tied to what is happening in our lives and he loves connecting with the students on personal and spiritual levels.
Born in Kobe, Japan, to missionary parents and being raised there until he was 13, Toby Friesen started playing guitar at 6 years old and electric guitar at 12. He attended John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark. where he studied music, worship ministry and sports management before God called him to Nashville where his band Jackson Waters was signed to Word Records (Warner Bros Music Group). Following the call to pursue music, he moved to Nashville in 2005 with the band parting ways in 2009.
After his time with Jackson Waters, Toby toured with NEEDTOBREATHE for two years, and now tours with Jeremy Camp as his guitarist. Most recently he wrote and recorded the guitar track on the song “Free,” on Jeremy’s newest album Reckless. When not on the road, Toby plays with worship group All Sons and Daughters and spends time with his wife, Summer, and their two dogs.
Q&A with Toby
What type of music do you listen to?
I grew up listening to Christian music and find it absolutely surreal that I am now a part of it, and get to work on a daily basis with my childhood heroes. The first time I met Steven Curtis Chapman, I was working at Moe’s. He came in to purchase a gift card and I totally forgot how to make one because I was so flustered.
What is your favorite all time movie and why?
My favorite movie of all time is That Thing You Do with Tom Hanks. It chronicles the story of a one-hit wonder in the 1960s. It is hilarious and musical with great songs!
Of all the places you have traveled, which is your favorite?
I have been blessed to travel extensively both as a missionary kid and professional musician. Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Germany, Sweden, France, England, Scotland, Switzerland. My favorite place in the world is a small town in the mountains of Japan called “Karuizawa.”
What is your favorite Bible verse and how does it speak to you?
My favorite Bible passage is Psalm 146. I find that it mirrors my life exactly and it reminds me that God cares for those of us in need. In the NIV a verse reads, “He lifts up those who are bowed down.” I find that applicable in so many ways!