Travis Greene Talks Grammys & 'Crossover' Tour: 'I'm Not Holding Back'

Kayla MaDonna
Travis Greene

Gospel star Travis Greene is heading into the 60th Grammy Awards season with his third nomination: best gospel album for his 2017 set Crossover: Live from Music City, recorded in Nashville. His two previous nods were in the best gospel performance category for “Made a Way” in 2017 and “Intentional” in 2016.

While he’s not yet won the coveted gold statuette, he tells Billboard with a laugh, “I think I’m getting closer and closer and closer. But either way, I’m just excited. It’s something I don’t take for granted. Each nomination carries its own personality, if you will, just because of the different projects being recognized each time.”

In the meantime, Greene—who also garnered nine nominations for the upcoming Stellar Awards in March— is busy getting into the Grammys’ social consciousness spirit. This Saturday (Jan. 27), he will participate in a panel discussion titled “Engage Culture.” Joining him in the conversation at Sony Music Entertainment’s New York office are Christian music artists Tauren Wells and Danny Gokey, musician/producer Bernie Herms and JJ Hairston, director of the Youthful Praise gospel choir with moderator Dr. Holly Carter.

“It’s a conversation about how we can do our part to help field change,” says Greene. 

Next month, Greene will launch his first formal domestic tour in Detroit on Feb. 18. Borrowing its name from his No. 1 Top Gospel Albums set, the Crossover: Live Tour will make its initial U.S. run through March 1, including stops in Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C and Atlanta. Then, notes Greene, the tour will head to the Caribbean, the U.K. and Africa before returning for its second U.S. leg; click here for tour dates.

Here are a few more takeaways from Greene’s chat with Billboard:

Favorite thing about recording live albums: It’s just the energy that you’re able to feel. The adrenalin that happens in the room is something that can’t be duplicated in a studio. It also allows you to do things that you normally wouldn’t do. I come alive: It’s almost supernatural what God is able to do through me.

Strategy behind releasing five videos in support of Crossover: I always ask the question why not? If other genres can do this, why can’t we? This was the first time I’ve done something like this. It’s about breaking down the barriers of what gospel music has done and what it is. I want to be cutting edge and help pave a wider road.

View Greene’s most recent video “Worship Rise”:

Going domestic: I’ve performed in every major city in America over the past few years, but I’ve never done an organized tour in the U.S. For the past couple of years, we’ve been covering the international circuit. This time, we wanted to coordinate a domestic tour that mirrors what we’ve been doing overseas—but bigger and better. The idea is to bring something cool and vibrant to the genre like what you get from a Bruno Mars show.

Gospel’s popularity in Africa: Gospel over there is like R&B/hip-hop. Christianity is celebrated there not tolerated. At the concerts that we’ve done there—including Zimbabwe, where gospel is really a big deal —we’ve attracted 30,000 people and upwards.

His next musical calling: I’ve been thinking about doing a holiday album this year. There’s also the newly released single “Do It Again,” featuring me and Kierra Sheard, and produced by Israel Houghton [for Elevation Worship’s Feb. 9 album Elevation Collective]. This year, I’m not holding back. I’m pushing the envelope forward. The question really is, am I bold enough to do what’s in my heart? That’s what I’m going after.

2018 Grammy Awards