Todd Tilghman was pastoring a church in Mississippi when he decided to try out for Season 18 of The Voice. After winning the season, by singing powerful songs like “Glory of Love” and “I Can Only Imagine,” Tilghman and his wife, Brooke, made the decision to leave their church, and their home state, and move to just outside of Nashville, so he could focus on music full-time.
The decision to leave his role at the church, he admits, wasn’t an easy one, but one that the couple had already been thinking about prior to his audition for The Voice.
“Frankly, between me and my wife — our kids didn’t really know a lot of that conversation had taken place before I even dreamed of auditioning for The Voice — we knew that ministry, traditional ministry, was wrapping up for us,” the father of eight tells Everything Nash. “I knew, but I’m not a one-man show. I have a wife and kids.”
It was about a year before he auditioned for The Voice that Tilghman began to feel that his time of pastoring his church might be coming to an end.
“I would say probably in 2017 or so, I had a conversation with my wife,” Tilghman recounts. “I learned a long time ago that if you’re feeling something, you need to share it because if it does come around, then you’ll remember that you shared it with someone. I had a conversation with another pastor friend of mine who lives over on the East Coast, in South Carolina. And then I had a conversation with a friend of mine who works in films. He makes documentaries and things. And all three of those, I told them what I was feeling, so that conversation had already happened.”
Still, while Tilghman knew his season of being a pastor might be coming to an end, he had no idea that it would happen thanks to a reality TV talent show.
“I guess I just never thought that it would happen this way,” Tilghman acknowledges. “I literally looked into all kinds of things. I was thinking about being a real estate agent. I was seeing what it would take to do that. I reached out on my social media one time and asked people what I had to do to become a barber. I like talking to people, and you get to do that when you’re cutting hair.”
After Tilghman won The Voice, he and his wife felt like their path had begun already leading them away from Mississippi.
“It wasn’t very long after The Voice was over though, that we started realizing — I’m a play it safe kind of guy,” he reflects. “And so I’m like, ‘If I’m going to make this big leap of faith, we need to do it now. We just need to go ahead and do it.’ And so that’s what we did.”
Even though Tilghman knew he was making the right decision, that didn’t necessarily make it easier when it was time for him and his family to say good-bye.
“My church was great,” boasts the singer. “It’s sad because there’s a change in the guard .and there’s a change in our chapters, and our lives, and I’ve been there for so long. So it was bittersweet. But the church, I cannot express enough: my feelings toward traditional ministry didn’t have anything to do with those people. They’re wonderful. We really pastored a really, really great church, so they were really supportive. They miss us, and we miss them, but I’m home just as much as I’m here back home. So I still see a lot of them.”
Tilghman shot the video for his next single, “Jesus and You,” in Mississippi. The song will be out on March 19.