Todd Tilghman Wants to Love God, His Family and People After Historic Win on THE VOICE
By Cooper Dowd, Staff Writer
Todd Tilghman, the season 18 winner of THE VOICE, said he relies on his family and faith in God as he enters the next chapter of life in the music industry.
Tilghman, 41, is the oldest contestant to win the singing competition show in the history of 18 seasons and said that he trusted God through the entire journey, from audition to the eventual win last May.
“I want to say, I can’t take credit for it, but I just sort of fell into it backwards,” Tilghman said.
The father of eight children also pastored a church in Mississippi, the very same state in which he grew up. Tilghman told Movieguide® that since winning THE VOICE, his ministry both grew and went through some changes.
“God has given me a lot more opportunities that are not necessarily traditional ministry, to minister,” Tilghman said.
Although Tilghman’s travel schedule became non-stop after winning, he still recognizes the influence his winning had on his church body.
“There are also a lot more new faces here and there,” Tilghman said. “What really happened with our churches is the online viewership just went through the roof, like, just insane.”
Tilghman said there is an outstanding opportunity for him to offer encouragement in a time where many people are struggling and hurting.
“Hopefully, what I can offer, because everyone’s different you know… is some hope and just some fun and a little bit of joy. A lot of a lot of the stuff that I’m writing is sort of ‘slice of life’ type stuff, which I love.”
Tilghman also noted that not everyone responds to trials in the same way. Tilghman said he is not trying to be everything to everyone, but that he wants to spread joy and love through his music.
“That’s the thing about music, even sad songs, man, everybody likes to just sit around and listen to a sad song and be miserable sometimes, you know, like ‘do not encourage me right now,'” Tilghman laughed.
Tilghman said that suffering is an integral part of any journey and is especially important for Christians to realize in current circumstances. One of the scriptures that Tilghman mentioned he clung to during his journey is 2 Corinthians 4:17.
“The Bible says that our affliction is light, and it’s temporary, and it’s working for us and an eternal weight of glory,” Tilghman said. “And that, to me, is a big deal. Because a lot of times we forget that suffering is part of it, you know, people of faith, forget that, that suffering is going to be part of it sometimes. Now, that’s not the whole of it. And that doesn’t mean that our spirit and our attitude has to suffer alone.”
Tilghman’s singing prowess took America by storm. However, complications due to COVID-19 forced THE VOICE to film the final weeks of the competition remotely in the remaining contestants’ house.
Despite Tilghman’s only previous experience with singing happening at church and church events, Tilghman said his worship background prepared him well for the competition’s unique ending.
“It does teach you to connect with music on a level that’s not that sort of transcends the audience, you know, because you’re connecting on a different level,” Tilghman said. “I already sing by myself and just connect as much as possible because I’m singing to the Lord, you know. And so it helped when I’m trying to just connect with like a camera screen and no one.”
Tilghman also said that his church experience helped him win and accept the challenge in the first place.
“Ministry helps you learn how to do that,” Tilghman said. “And so I actually feel like even though I’m sort of like an old fart in the whole thing you know, I feel like it’s the right time for me. I had a whole lot of training.”
Another primary source of support and encouragement came from Tilghman’s wife and their eight children. Tilghman credits his wife for pushing him to audition.
He said that he trusted God with the timing of it all and that, although he does not call it a dream, he knew that this is something he wanted to do.
“I don’t know that I would call it a dream as much as like a vision or a purpose,” Tilghman said. “God knew when was the right time and that was the right time.”
In the aftermath of his historic win, Tilghman is taking the opportunity to take risks with a new book, new music, and a music tour as soon as restrictions allow for one. He is collaborating with an author and his wife on a book called Every Little Win.
“I think the [book] may sort of start out with me going on a national TV show, but then it sort of backs up to just our life and all the things [show] just really how miraculous God has been and just day to day circumstances for us,” Tilghman said.
Aside from his excitement to jump into God’s new opportunities for him and his family, he wants his audience to know his mission is simple—to love more people.
“I’m not out here trying to like get famous or anything. I just want to do this for the love of it and feed my kids,” Tilghman said. “[A] biblical concept that I would want to share with the world is just that I love them. And that’s it. I love them regardless of anything.”
Tilghman does not take the blessings for granted and is thankful for his journey thus far. He also said he is working on maintaining an eternal mindset while not ignoring the present gifts that God is giving.
“Scripture says the suffering that we’re facing right now is nothing compared to the glory that is coming,” he said. “I believe that that means heaven and eternity with God. But I also believe that, you know, David said we’d see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. So I think that there’s some glory that we can live in right here right now.”