Singer/songwriter and former American Idol contestant Dave Pittman is set to bow his much-anticipated sophomore recording, Different Kind of Love, January 11. Produced by Jay Speight and Tyrus Morgan-whose combined production and writing credits include Trace Adkins, NewSong, Unspoken and Ginny Owens, among others-the seven song set features six original selections, along with a fresh arrangement of the beloved hymn "I'd Rather Have Jesus."
Arkansas native Dave Pittman suffers from Tourette Syndrome, a neurological disorder causing involuntary repetitive movements and sounds. As a child, Pittman's disability made him the target of bullies, and he eventually became suicidal. Attempting to take his life at only 10 years old, he stopped short of pulling the trigger of his father's gun when his parents returned home from an errand. With the love and support of his family, Pittman's faith began to blossom, and he grew to fully embrace and understand his worth in Christ.
A graduate of Liberty University, Pittman's soulful voice and touching story endeared him to millions during his appearance on American Idol's 9th season. While auditioning for the show, he was dubbed "crazy brave" by guest judge Neil Patrick Harris. Those words inspired Pittman's 2011 debut album of the same name and became a beacon of encouragement for the singer/songwriter's career. In addition to performing at churches and various venues across the country, Pittman has shared his powerful testimony at conferences, schools and special events for those affected by Tourette Syndrome.
For further information, visit davepittmanlive.com or turningpointpr.com. Follow Pittmanon Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Q: Dave, thanks for doing this interview with us. From a young age, you suffered from Tourette Syndrome, what is Tourette Syndrome?
A: Thanks so much! It's my joy to do it. Yes, I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at the age of 9. TS is a neurological disorder causing involuntary repetitive movements and sounds.
Q: You were often bullied which led to a time you wanted to end your own life. What happened there?
A: After my diagnosis in the fourth grade, I became a target of bullying from some of my peers at school. It was devastating to me because I couldn't understand why God had allowed me to carry such a burden. The questions of "Why me?" began to take over my every thought. Those thoughts continued to brew, and by the end of the following summer I couldn't bear the thought of living through another year of it. I was more afraid of living through it again than I was of dying, and I became suicidal.
One summer morning, about two weeks before starting the fifth grade, my parents left me and my siblings at our house to run an errand. While they were out I wrote a note saying, "Mom and Dad, I love you, and I'm going to miss you," and I drew a frown face with tears. I went into my parents' room, locked the door, and put the note faceup. I got my dad's gun and was about two seconds from pulling the trigger when I heard the front door of our home open. I knew my parents had come home earlier than expected, ultimately ending the process. I rushed to get things back in place and turned the note facedown. My parents tried opening the bedroom door, but because it was locked they then began knocking. After getting things in place, I finally let them in. They proceeded to ask me what was going on and why I had locked the door. I was silent, because I didn't want to reveal my plans. My mom saw the piece of paper on the floor so she grabbed it and turned it over, reading the horror on the other side.
After the events of that day, I received some counseling to work through the pain and my parents decided to remove me from the public school setting and homeschool me during that fifth grade year.
Q: What caused you to turn around and embrace Christ and his redeeming love?
A: After the suicidal incident my parents began to encourage and lift me up, drilling into my head and my heart the importance of accepting myself for who I was-and more importantly who I am in Christ. And to not only accept it, but to embrace it, because there is a difference. I realized that my identity was not in what I did, what I had or didn't have, or in my past failures or successes, it is in Christ alone. God taught me, like the Apostle Paul, that His grace was sufficient enough for me, and that He still wanted to use me and He loved me just the way I was. Even though I lacked understanding in those early years, I know now that God doesn't waste our pain and He uses every bit for our good and His glory. There are three main verses of Scripture I've clung to over the years: Proverbs 3:5-6, James 1:2, and Romans 8:28. They say it all.
Q: Later, you were part of American idol, tell us your experience on the show? And what prompted you to take a part in it?
A: I had recently graduated from Liberty University and was ready and free to pursue my music career. I temporarily moved back home to Arkansas and auditioned for a few shows in Branson, Missouri, to no avail. Then my dad asked me what I thought about trying out for AI. I had watched the show through the years but never had the opportunity to go. Since I had nothing holding me back this time, I drove over seven hours to Arlington, Texas, and auditioned at the Dallas Cowboys' stadium. There were 11,000 contestants there and I was one of about 24 to make it through to Hollywood from the Dallas auditions. In Hollywood, I made it to the top 70. I'm very grateful to the Lord for opening up the opportunity. My experience was amazing, and I learned so much along the way. It definitely set a course for my career that I wouldn't have had otherwise.
Q: You have a new record coming out. What is it about these songs that excite you?
A: The main theme of my life has been Hope, and I wanted that to be evident throughout this album. The album is a journey through some of the various seasons of my life. Our culture today is extremely self-focused, so I wanted the title-track, "Different Kind of Love," to convey the true meaning of what real, sacrificial love looks like: Christ. Another personal song for me, 'Fight to Win,' came out of some hard lessons my wife and I had to learn in those first years of marriage, and 'I'd Rather Have Jesus' is simply the core of who I want to be.
Q: How do you wish this new record would encourage your listeners?
A: Our identity is not in what we do, what we have or don't have, or in our past failures or successes, it is in Christ alone. This is the heart cry of Different Kind of Love, because I want people to know that if they put their hope, trust and faith in Him, He will help pull them through their toughest times.
Q: What words of hope do you have to say to our readers who are suffering and/or being bullied?
A: God never promised us a life free of suffering while here on this earth. Rather, He said we would suffer greatly in this fallen world because of the sin of man that entered through Adam and Eve. But because of His great love, Christ came and died for us so that sin no longer separated us from Him. And since God raised Him up that third day to eternal glory, we too have that same Hope. Don't let what others do or say determine what you believe about yourself. God says you are fearfully and wonderfully made and created in His image. He has plans for you and wants to use you in a powerful way to bring light into this dark world. So set your Hope on things above, not the things here on earth, and start believing who God has already said you are.