‘The Voice’ with Kosciusko roots


Todd Tilghman, nicknamed ‘Holy Hopper,’ sang his way to the win on the popular contest show

How many people with Kosciusko roots have been a finalist on the NBC show “The Voice?”  The answer is one — current winner Todd Tilghman.

Although he currently resides in Meridian, Tilghman lived in Kosciusko from 1989-1992. His parents, Clarence and Teresa, pastored at the Abundant Life Church of God; in addition, his mom worked at First Family Financial. Tilghman, a minister himself, is married with eight children.

Tilghman has fond memories of his years in Kosciusko, including church, campouts, the Natchez Trace and the Festival.

“I remember things like swimming in ponds and riding bikes, and spending the night with friends,” said Tilghman about his growing-up years here.

As for his interest in music, it all started with singing in church.

“That’s where my roots are musically,” he said.

It is hard for Tilghman to pin down his favorite genre of music.

“Honestly, I don’t know if I have a favorite. Maybe classic ‘90s country? I really love most genres. I love folk and rock and roll, and I grew up on southern gospel as well as hair bands and alternative. I love them all!” he said.

Tilghman’s road to appearing on “The Voice” started when a friend sent him a link to register for the open-call auditions. The registration took place a few months before the auditions, and in that time, he decided not to go. But his wife encouraged him to do it.

“I did not think I would make it past that first song, forget about the finale!” he said.

After the first few episodes, the show transitioned to remote performances from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although all of the top 17 were disappointed at first, Tighlman said he doesn’t mind it.

“I’ve actually grown very appreciative of the format. ‘Love Me’ sealed the deal for how I feel about it, seeing my kids there and the photos of our history as a family,” said Tighlman of the remote performance in which his children, including the youngest daughter who was sound asleep, were in the video with him.

“Of course, it’s had challenges, and I’ve felt spread thin a few times, but it’s all been so very worth it!” he said.

Asked about some highlights of “The Voice” experience, Tighlman mentioned meeting the coaches and celebrity advisors, such as James Taylor.

“Also, the relationships I’ve made with other artists. I’ve been pretty inspired by the diversity,” said Tighlman.

Another highlight was winning the knockout round.

“It was a breath of fresh air, because I was pretty nervous about that,” he said. “The whole experience has been a highlight, really. Things like this just don’t happen to guys like me.”

What will Tighlman take away from the experience?

“I will take away a ton of confidence and a greater willingness to take risks, not to mention a few really valuable friendships and some really great connections,” Tighlman said.

Win or lose, one thing that will likely follow him beyond the show’s confines is his new nickname — “Holy Hopper” — given to the singing minister by coach Blake Shelton. Shelton coined the moniker after watching Tighlman’s dance moves as he sang.

Editor’s note: This story went to press on Tuesday BEFORE Todd was announced as the winner.