After more than two decades, the frontman of Christian pop rock band newsboys will be stepping aside and another renowned artist will be taking his place.
Though Peter Furler will continue with the band and make special appearances throughout the year, former dc Talk member Michael Tait will be touring with newsboys as the lead singer, the band announced this week.
The latest announcement comes less than a month after newsboys kicked off their "Join The Tribe" tour and reunited with long-time guitarist Jody Davis, who returned after a five-year hiatus to replace outgoing guitarist Paul Coleman.
"newsboys to me has always been a mission, and I entrust Mike, Jeff, Jody and Duncan to continue all that is in store for us as a band," said Furler, who was one of newsboys' original core members. "I'm looking forward to focusing on the band's studio career and spending time in my own bed after many years in a tour bus and hundreds of thousands of miles on the road."
Furler is expected to release a more detailed personal statement on the band's website in the coming days.
As for the decision to replace Furler with Tait, newsboys manager Wes Campbell said it was a "painstaking one."
"No one can replace Peter," he said, "but we know Michael will bring a new attitude, energy and vocal style that will thrill our audience."
"It's amazing that after many years of touring with dc Talk in the 1990s that in 2009 our paths would cross once again," Campbell added. "It's an exciting time for all of us."
Over the past few weeks, Tait has been on the road with the band working alongside Furler to prepare for the changes in the coming weeks. Prior to joining newsboys, Tait had been part of the Tait Band, which he had co-founded around 1997 – three years before three-man dc Talk went on a hiatus and launched the solo career of popular artist tobyMac. The Tait Band was expected to release an album titled Loveology, which had been in the works since 2006. The band stopped touring in 2007, however, and the status of the album remains unknown.
Regarding his new position in newsboys, Tait said he was "speechless" when he first received the call from the band.
"I immediately sought wise counsel and flooded the heavens with endless prayers for insight and vision, and I soon received a clear and definite peace," the 42-year-old singer recalled.
Last weekend, Tait performed his first show as newsboys' frontman to an audience of 12,000 people.
"I was completely wrapped in love and support by newsboys' fans, who are clearly the best fans on the planet," Tait reported.
"Now I know this is exactly where I belong in this new and wonderful moment in my life's history. This is a definite highlight of my career and for my 20+ years of walking with Jesus, and I am humbled, proud and privileged to call myself a newsboy."
With five gold albums, sales exceeding six million units, more than 20 No.1 radio hits, and a mantle of Dove Awards as well as Grammy nominations, newsboys has achieved phenomenal success in the two decades since its founding.
The band recently finished recording its new studio album, In The Hands Of God, which features Furler as lead vocalist on the entire album. The street date for the record is May 5.