At PUC we encourage our students to take chances, strive for their dreams and find where God is leading them. Tad Worku’s journey led him back to PUC where he’s combined his inspiring musical gift with his desire to help and uplift his community. This February 28th he will be performing with the Oakland East Bay Symphony, and all proceeds from the concert will go directly to fund a free health clinic sponsored by PUC.
We spoke with Tad and asked him to share a little about his journey.
You’ve graduated before, what degrees do you hold and what are you going to school for currently?
I have a degree in Business Marketing and an Associates Degree in Nursing. I am currently in the BSN program and I finish in June!
Why did you choose PUC?
PUC has always been home for me. I was born at St. Helena Hospital and grew up in Angwin. I had great memories growing up around PUC and when it came time to choose a college, it was a pretty easy decision to make.
Music is a huge part of your professional life, tell us about that.
My journey with music has been a very interesting one. After I graduated in 2008, I moved to San Francisco to pursue a career as a professional musician. I got my first break in 2009, when I was given an opportunity to headline at Yoshi’s San Francisco. We sold out the show and from there things started to pick up. Over the next few years, I performed multiple shows, wrote music for other artists, and finished a full-length album.
During this time, I began to question the direction I was heading as a pop/soul artist. There were things that didn’t fit with what I valued and I found myself conflicted. I had always dreamed about making a successful career out of music, but something deep down inside was telling me that this wasn’t the direction for me. This was a time in my life that really tested my faith and after wrestling with the situation, I decided to walk away from my completed pop/soul album and return the substantial amount of tour funding I had just received. I started praying about what I would do next and doors opened for me to study nursing. A few weeks later I was back at PUC taking pre-requisites to get into the Nursing program.
While in the Nursing program, I began writing music again, this time with strong Christian themes and stories that reflected my recent journey. Soon, I had developed enough songs for a new project and began to see possibilities opening back up in the area of music. Through a long list of providential encounters, I found myself talking with Michael Morgan, the director of the Oakland East Bay Symphony, about performing this new Christian project with the Oakland Symphony. He thought this would be a great idea – and the rest is history as they say.
Tell us how you plan to use both your music and healthcare skills.
At first, I had absolutely no idea how music and healthcare could be related. It wasn’t until I started sharing my vision of using music to contribute towards a larger cause that I began to discover how these two areas might be related. I remember sitting in Mark Ishikawa’s office (Director of Alumni Relations at PUC) and telling him about my vision of using music to really live out the Gospel. During our conversation, Mark mentioned the work that Adventist Medical Evangelism Network was doing, providing free medical, dental, and vision clinics for high risk populations. This idea inspired me to see how music could fit into this model. I decided to use all of the proceeds from my music to help fund and build an infrastructure to do this type of medical mission work on a larger scale.
My goal is to use the resources and influence provided through music to help create an infrastructure and build a network of providers for the purpose of giving much needed medical services to those in desperate need. My plan is to develop this concept into a model and duplicate it in as many different places as possible.
What inspired you to come up with the idea for the Love is All concert?
After giving up my career in pop music, I decided whatever I would do next would be something connected to my faith and values. I chose Nursing because it would give me the ability to directly serve those in need. When the opportunity presented itself to get back into music, I knew exactly how I wanted to use my stage. I knew that connecting the proceeds from the concert to a free clinic for those in need would be a powerful way of showing what the Gospel of Jesus Christ looks like today. This was my motivation behind the idea.
Tell us why this cause is so important to you.
I believe our generation has the ability to make a huge impact on this planet and also share the good news of the Gospel in creative and innovative ways. I want to create or contribute to an infrastructure that helps my generation dream about ways we can impact this world. I know this event is just a small seed, but my hope is that people would be inspired by this and help the story continue far past this event.
You have a very interesting professional story transitioning from music to healthcare. In what ways have PUC faculty and staff helped you get here?
I have received so much support from PUC faculty and staff. When I decided to come back to school, I talked with the Nursing department about what it would take to get into the program and they were extremely helpful and encouraged me along the way. Laffit Cortez, the former chaplain, gave me an opportunity to speak for Student Week of Prayer to share how I ended up back at PUC. Both Mark and Walter Collins (Vice President for Advancement) mentored me and helped me develop the framework for the Love Is All Concert and Clinic. There are so many others who have been such a big support and encouragement to me.
If you could go back in time and tell your freshman self one thing, what would it be?
I probably would have told myself not to be afraid to completely follow God. Back then, I thought I would miss out on a lot if I chose to follow God completely.
What are your plans for 2015?
I want to finish recording an album. I have waited for the right opportunity and resources to come together and I think it is finally the right time to get it done. I plan on doing more concerts and health clinics and I am also exploring some opportunities to begin working as a nurse.
Tickets for the Love Is All concert are still available! Visit tadworku.com to purchase yours and for more information.