Todd Tilghman Recalls Being the ‘Dad’ With the Younger Contestants on ‘The Voice’

In many ways, Todd Tilghman might have seemed like a fish out of water when he competed on Season 18 of The Voice, but in other ways, he was exactly where he belonged. The father of eight, who was 42 when he won the show, knew very little about the music business, but knew everything about being a dad.

“It’s funny now, but at times it didn’t feel funny at all,” Tilghman shares with Authority Magazine. “For example, in rehearsal, they would use a lot of lingo that I didn’t understand, since I’ve never been in music professionally. I’m thankful that I was in my 40s when I faced this. If I’d have been in my 20s, I would have just pretended I knew what they were talking about. In my 40s, I was just like, ‘You know what, y’all, I’d like to do what you just asked, but I don’t know what that means.’ Then, I’d get clarification.

“I did know a lot about life,” he continues. “I did kind of garner a reputation of being the ‘Dad’ of the group. There were times when I sat by the pool with some of the younger artists, who were like 19 and 20 years old. They’d be in a crisis, and I just sit out there and talk to them. I guess I learned that while I didn’t know some of the lingo, I did have things to offer. I mean, that was a good takeaway. I even used my pastoral skills on my own self when I would get anxious, you know. I talked myself off the ledge a couple of times when I felt completely out of my element.”

Tilghman learned, in his role as a parent and a pastor, that the best way to lead and influence others is by example.

“To me, leadership is defined as influence,” Tilghman shares. “The best example that I can give you is that sometimes, if there’s a big mess, a real leader picks up a broom. Then others see what you’re doing, and they pick up one too. Leaders are worthy of being followed. A leader works in areas of influence and inspires others to do the same.

“This is true in work and in family,” he adds. “If I’m leading in my family, then my wife or my kids will come to me if they want advice. It means I have influence in their lives, you know? In my adult life, especially through the years, I pastored a church, I always said that authority does not exist where it has to be stated. You know, like if you have to tell people you’re an authority, you’re really not.”

Tilghman and his wife Brooke will release their telling book, Every Little Win: How Celebrating Small Victories Can Lead to Big Joy, on June 22. It is available for pre-order here.*

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