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Often perceived as the eccentric, attention-seeking member of the CCM trio DC Talk, Kevin Max grew up outside of Grand Rapids, MI. Formerly known as Kevin Smith, music played a vital part in his formative years. Max started singing at the age of four and remembers "being carted around to schools, churches, and radio programs." He attended college at Virginia's Liberty University, where he met fellow DC Talk members Toby McKeehan and Michael Tait. The three formed the band in 1987, merging the styles of rock, pop, and rap to create their unique sound. After the trio moved to Nashville, TN, they released their self-titled album in 1989. The release was followed by Nu Thang in 1990, Free at Last in 1992, and Jesus Freak in 1995. In 1997, Max married his wife, Alayna, and soon after saw his first book of poetry, At the Foot of Heaven, published. In addition to adding marriage and writing to his plate, Max changed his name from Smith and met his biological parents for the first time. Of the experience, Max stated in a CCM interview, "I personally feel like it was the best thing for me to do because I've always wondered about my roots." In 1998, DC Talk signed with Virgin Records and released Supernatural. A year later, in the summer of 1999, Max told fellow bandmembers he was leaving the group. However, after much thought, prayer, and discussion, he decided to remain with the trio. DC Talk's EP, Solo, was released in 2001, previewing tracks from Max, McKeehan, and Tait's solo projects. Max's project, entitled Stereotype B, was released in August 2001. His second book of poetry was also published in 2001.