With his anthem, “Your Great Name” still doing great numbers on the charts and his latest single, “You’re Doing It All Again,” Todd Dulaney is walking in his purpose with stride. MADE sat down with the Grammy-nominated gospel artist to discuss his new single, leaving the New York Mets and how he’s living the life God promised him years ago.
MADE: Your song, “Your Great Name” has swept the world in a time where saying the name of Jesus is not very popular. What are your thoughts on the overwhelming response to this single?
Todd: It’s a lot because my whole life, I’ve seen other people with hit songs and I don’t think you can comprehend when people say you have a hit song. And, not just a hit song, it is a church anthem right now and to know that that came through me is like whoa. I can never amount to what God can do through me. But the other part—I want to remember what you said because that’s a loaded question that you asked me about the name of Jesus and it not being popular to say His name. I’ve been very intentional about it. I’m like, Lord I’m going to say Your name because His name is one of the most potent weapons we have in the body and that’s the deception part of the enemy—to try to make us not say His name. We take the greatest weapon we have and not use it. So, it’s intentional. I want His name to be the drawing card.
One of the things I always tell myself is that the spiritual component of everything is always greater than the natural. So natural logic tells me if I that don’t say His name, then we’ll be able to play this song in more places, but the spiritual point is stronger than that. So as wise and as witty as we think we are by coming up with that idea, it’s not as wise or as strong as the spiritual principle that the name of Jesus being the strongest name given to men.
MADE: Many artists aspire to have the influence that you have but oftentimes, they don’t want to go through the process of cultivating their gifts or talents. How do you feel you were able to cultivate your gift while being able to serve under someone like Smokie Norful?
Todd: Serving is not just being under someone. I do believe that everyone should take a season and serve under someone where they can grow. Serving is a posture of your heart and it never stops. Like now, I’m still a servant even though I’m a headliner and I’ve kept that posture and it’s allowed me to win. My whole band and team, we have the heart of serving the people. I’m not going there to be a star. I’m there to serve you with my gift and as long as you maintain that posture, you’ll always be rising. I don’t want people who are aspiring to say, “Let me serve somewhere until I get somewhere.” No, you are a servant. When we show up at these churches, we are there to serve. We’re not there to be divas. We’re not there to be great. We are there to position ourselves. We’re here for you, we’re here to encourage you and hopefully by the end of the night, someone who doesn’t know Jesus will know who He is. So, our serving never ceases.
And when it does, you’ll be done. When you stop serving the people, when you stop serving in any capacity of life, you’re done. Imagine if businesses and corporations said they would stop serving people, the business is done. Whatever your gift is, if you can the maintain the mindset of “I’m here to serve,” you’re always going to have a business.
MADE: You are so disciplined in your craft. Where does that come from?
Todd: I picked up a lot of discipline from playing baseball, playing sports. So being competitive and having an attitude of “I will not be stopped,” I carried that over into ministry. Not everyone can work with me. It takes a certain kind of person that can handle that because I am not just going to accept mediocre. It all boils down to the brand of what you’re trying to put out. We’re talking about business and branding. I like to think of it as when someone comes out to see us, they’re like, “That was excellent,” and not just, “It was anointed.” It’s just excellence. You’ve got to want it for yourself, for the brand of the ministry, for everything because people need to be able to say that.
MADE: Speaking of baseball, you walked away from being a professional baseball player for the New York Mets to fulfill your calling in ministry. Can you walk us through what that experience was like because that is beyond an act of faith.
Todd: I just felt like I found my purpose for being alive and my purpose was playing baseball. That was just a passion for me. It bought me a lot of happiness and I had fun, but it wasn’t my purpose for being here on earth. My purpose for being here is to lead worship. I’m a worship leader, period. Once I found that out, that makes the decision easy. When you find out why you’re here, you don’t have to wrestle with the decision of whether something else even amounts. You’ve got your purpose and then you’ve got everything else. Once you find out the reason you’re alive, everything else fails in comparison.
The only fear I had was how I was going to pay the bills. But the fear wasn’t whether or not I’m doing the right thing, [For me, it was] “I know that this is why I’m here, but how do these singers pay their bills?” This is gospel music. This is not R&B, so its not like we’re making millions of dollars. We’re making money, but I didn’t even know that [gospel artists] made this much money. At the time of transition, I didn’t even have a clue because I wasn’t thinking about being a recording artist, I was thinking about being a worship leader. I knew that my purpose vs anything else—my purpose is going to win.
MADE: You attribute your wife to making your family dreams a reality. How do you balance your family and career?
Todd: They have to be the top priority. They have to be over the ministry. The times where they drift into second place, it doesn’t work. Because you can’t do good ministry when you have a miserable wife. You can’t really do anything with a miserable wife. It’s hard to focus, its hard to see straight. Everything is off. I had to learn that until I keep the house good and in tact, everything else is going to be all over the place. Once I learned that, I realized that I can’t do it without them. People try to do it and it will not work. When the bible talks about the woman adding favor to your life, I can see it. You can see that when you guys work together, things open up for you. Doors open up for you. My balance is that they have to be first. God honors that. People try to be so focused on their ministry because they’re like, “God gave me this.” But this thing at home—if you get this right, He’ll honor everything else. He’ll bless everything else. If you ever try to do this and put family on the back burner, this is going to crumble.
MADE: Congratulations on your new song, “You’re Doing It All Again!” I know there’s a story behind the lyrics of this powerful song.
Todd: I just wrote a song and the heart behind it was to remind everybody that [God is] still healing. We were talking about my kids earlier—I have miracle children, Todd Jr. and Taylor. They were born at 24 weeks and 23 weeks. And I never really tell that story because I don’t like pity. But there’s a scripture that says we overcome by the word of our testimony. I want to tell the testimony, but I don’t want to lay in pity. I want to talk about the victory that I get in Jesus. Our kids were born and 24 and 23 weeks. My daughter was a twin and we lost a twin and so we had tough pregnancies and those were miracles for us. Those doctors told us there’s nothing we can do and those are our miracle children. I want people to know, He’s still doing it. He’s still healing, He’s still providing and He’s not changing. So, that’s the song and I’ve got high hopes for it. I think it’s just as big or bigger than “Your Great Name.” It is another anthem.
MADE: In a previous interview, you talked about how you’re living the part of your life that God promised you. Most people give up at the brink of their breakthrough. What would advice would you give to our readers who have seen the promise, but have yet to live in it?
Todd: Walking out the promises of God is an art. There’s an art to it. You’ve got to stay in it. Once you get one victory, then it teaches you how to get future victories. Then you grow in learning how to win and how to stay on course for the promise. Like you said, people give up before they touch the promise. Sometimes right before they get to the promise, but it’s an art. It is an art to stay in faith all the way through the promise. I honestly would like to one day teach about walking out the prophesies that were spoken over my life. I would like to teach on that because people get mad at the prophet when they prophesy over their life and they never see it. They can’t prophesy over your life and then you just go to the basement, lay down and stay asleep. What happens for me is that the promise is spoken over my life and then I begin to act like the promise is already mine. That’s the art of walking out the promise. Somebody gives you the prophesy—you’re going to be a multi-millionaire…
MADE: I receive it!
Todd: So now you begin to line your life up like you’re a millionaire already. You begin to think like it, you begin to talk like it. You don’t let anything come out of your mouth that’s other than what that is. You just start doing it and before you know it, you look around and you’re like, “Dang, what’s happening?” It’s changing. That’s the art of it. That’s the art of walking out the promise. I just walk like I already got it.