Rising gospel star Todd Dulaney talks faith, family, and fatherhood

Photo credit: Jessica Rifis via Facebook.com/ToddDulaney
Photo credit: Jessica Rifis via Facebook.com/ToddDulaney

Todd Dulaney has a story to tell.

From giving up a pro baseball career and leaving the New York Mets’ organization behind to navigating his way through the rocky waters of the music industry to balancing it all while remaining a devoted husband and father, Todd Dulaney has a testimony that he wants to share with the world.

The Chicago native ended up singing behind Grammy Award winner Smokie Norful and assuming the role of the worship leader at Norful’s church before releasing his independent debut album, Pulling Me Through, in 2011. Now signed to eOne Music, Dulaney is preparing to release his much anticipated sophomore album, A Worshipper’s Heart, early next year..

Rolling out recently caught up with Dulaney to discuss his faith, his journey to this moment, and his latest single, “The Anthem.”

Who were your musical influences?
I’ve always loved the sound of Israel Houghton’s music. I love how it’s appreciated by all cultures. Also  when I was a kid my brother had a Deitrick Haddon cassette tape that I played out!! “Don’t Let Me Fall” was my jam. So I’d say those two guys really impacted me coming up.

Tell us about your decision to leave professional baseball to pursue your ministry and recording career. Did you have an epiphany or was it something you had been considering for a while?
I guess I can say it was an epiphany because if you had asked me as a child what I’d be doing now, you couldn’t have paid me to say I’d be singing. But my faith gave me a perspective that I never had before. Once I realized what I believed, then my priorities changed and things like playing pro ball took a back seat to what I now believe is my purpose, and that’s to spread the Gospel through song.

What are some of the things you learned while touring and working with Smokie Norful?
Pastor Norful taught me to study and not just sing. He taught me how to address media and probably one of the most essential things, he taught me how to completely write a song. I remember I had ideas of songs and I’d bring them to him to listen, and he’d say “It’s not finished.” I would say “Well that’s all I got!” but he’d tell me to go back and work harder to finish it.

With Father’s Day approaching, can you tell us a bit about your story/journey into fatherhood?
Well, my wife Kenya and I have two kids (Taylor, 2 and Todd Jr., 4) and we are expecting one more on Aug. 15. So we’ve kinda jumped into the world of parenting with a full steam ahead. Our journey is one of constant learning and adjusting. I’m always watching my children to see where I need to step in and help them see things with a clear set of eyes. One of my parenting slogans is, “It’s my job to see it until you’re able to see it yourself.” We’re raising kids in a time where, there is so much going on in our nation, that as parents we absolutely must have a good grip and pulse for what’s going on in our kids lives

How has your faith helped you endure not only your family adversity, but career and life adversity as well?
For me faith in Jesus  is the most powerful weapon that I have as I journey through life. My faith in God allows me to rest in adverse situations, because I KNOW that EVERYTHING is going to work out for me. Rather it be family, career, health, it doesn’t matter. I have so many promises in the Word of God that cause me to live my life free of worry because I’m not waiting for a person to bless me or elevate me, my Father in heaven has me covered.

Tell us about “The Anthem,” your latest single.
“The Anthem” is one of those songs that will last throughout time because of its timeless message. It was written and performed first by Planet Shakers (A worship movement in Australia) and I would always sing it like it was my own so as we were preparing the songs for my upcoming record I was asked, “Are there any songs that you’d like to cover”? I thought to myself … yes!  And I’m thankful that I did.

What can fans expect from your upcoming sophomore album, A Worshipper’s Heart?
We’ve loaded this sophomore project with songs that we can engage our congregations with, songs that are easy to catch on to and sing along. This album is my first live album and the entire night exceeded my expectations. So I’m believing this album will by far be my best work yet.

Any advice for those looking to break into the world of gospel?
I’d say, sing! Always look for opportunities to share your gift. If you are meant for this, then people will take notice. But you must keep singing and building a following of people that appreciate what God is doing through you.

Name one thing fans would be surprised to know about you?
Hmmm maybe that I love the smell of new book pages. Anyone that knows me calls it weird. They catch me sniffing the pages and wonder what’s going on. But that’s my thing. *laughs* New Bible pages are the best!!! (Weird I know, don’t judge me)

What’s next for Todd Dulaney?
This summer I’m slated to share a little of everywhere (Tallahassee Florida; Oakland, California; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Baltimore) and we don’t plan to slow down at all especially with the album marked to release in early 2016. So life for me is speeding up and I’m entering my grind mode in preparation to release a powerful album to the world.

For more information on Todd Dulaney, please visit www.todddulaneyland.com.

Facebook: ToddDulaneyLand

Instagram: @ToddDulaney1

Twitter: @ToddDulaney

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