Eric Todd is a music artist and author of a new book called 'The Fullness of Love'. A companion album to the book has also been released, featuring nine stunning tracks from Christian artists whose music is inspired by ancient musical traditions. Louder Than The Music spoke with Eric to find out more about his book, the incredible album, and his thoughts on music in general.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in both music and writing?
I honestly believe that I didn't choose music, music chose me, because as a little kid I could play any instrument by ear that my parents brought home. If there was anything innately programmed into my brain, it was music. My passion for music evolved to include several close calls with major record deals and fame, but nothing ever stuck.
When I was 18, living in NYC, in an attempt to avoid college, I happened to meet Julian Lennon and thought, “Well, that was easy - here we come - the second coming of the Beatles.” Umm, not so much. One false start after the next with labels, managers, and publishers led nowhere fast as an artist crossing genres from rock to jazz to electronic to CCM and back.
However, I never lost passion for music and the business of music, which led to a successful consultancy practice, which in turn led to my company YFM.World, an A&R discovery and promotion platform.
My faith journey was and remains a wild ride in the desert and for most of that "part" of my life, it was exactly that - compartmentalized. And politically uber conservative and shallow. It wasn’t until a self-imposed exile and a subsequent awesome metaphysical experience that occurred when my mom transitioned to the next world, that faith evolved to be immersive, free of religiosity, and toxic politics.
I’ve always felt a higher call to mission, so music, faith, writing, and the mentoring of creators and social entrepreneurs coalesced into what we are building right now with “The Fullness of Love.”
Tell us about your new book 'The Fullness of Love' and what the inspiration behind it was?
I was inspired to write as a form of my own therapy as a new kind of faith was emerging after years of deconstruction, self- examination, research, and inexplicable experiences, all of which are detailed in the book. Through it all, I learned that God could handle our doubt, faithlessness, and tough questions, and that authentic faith knows more questions than answers. True peace is found in the unknowing mysteries of God, as opposed to unqualified dogmatic certainty, which turned out to be false security driven by religious nationalism. The book reimagines western belief, dives head first into life after death, and promotes a love forward experiential faith.
There is also a companion album that goes with the book - how did that project come about?
I had the incredibly good fortune to discover Ben Tatlow’s label, “Echoes Blue” through artists like “Salt of the Sound.” During the pandemic we met over Zoom as Ben was based in Hong Kong and I was on the East Coast of the US at the time. We instantly hit it off and quickly realized that we should collab. My experience with Ben has been incredible. I’ve never had a project go so smoothly and professionally start to finish. And this is just the beginning.
The book touches on experiential faith and contemplation. Ben’s label and associated artists create stunningly beautiful ambient contemplative and worshipful pieces. The album is a perfect complement to the writings in the book.
The album contains some truly stunning music, not least your own contribution 'The Love Which Moves the Sun & Other Stars', which sounds like it should belong in a big Hollywood movie. Talk us through that track and what you were trying to convey.
First, thank you so much for the kind words. The title comes from Dante’s Paradiso, referring to God’s enduring love. Chapter Three reflects the same title, which dives deep on the book’s main theme based on three of the most beautiful words ever uttered on this earth by Jesus, “It is accomplished.” Those words and Dante's description of that capital "L" Love inspired the dramatic composition.
What message would you like people to take from the album?
To me, the album is an immersive experience that can transport the listener to connect with God in contemplative meditation in the presence of the Presence. That is the goal. Disconnect from everything and everyone to connect as One both in space/time and eternity simultaneously. In other words, to "know deeper." And then try to live in that space all the time even without stunningly cool music in your ears.
How would you define success in your career as an author and artist?
At the risk of sounding cliché, I need to find joy in the journey and understand that whether financial success or fame is part and parcel of this experience, it just doesn’t matter in this lifetime. I need to keep the faith that what we are creating will mean something to someone at some point whether now or in 100 years. But I won’t lie, a best seller would be kind of awesome…someday.
What are your favourite all-time desert island albums?
Wow! That's a great question! In no particular order, as these are all my babies...
Dave Brubeck Quartet - Take Five
Antonio Carlos Jobim - Wave
Todd Rundgren - Todd
XTC - English Settlement
Radiohead - OK Computer
St Germain - The Tourist
Esperanza Spalding - Emily’s D+Evolution
Rich Mullins - A Liturgy, A Legacy, & A Ragamuffin Band
Pat Metheny Group - The Way Up
Donald Fagen - The Nightlfy
The Beatles - Revolver
Phillip Glass - Heroes Symphony
What does the next year hold for you?
My team and I are planning to go big to transform the world one heart at a time through books and music like “The Fullness of Love,” and by mentoring social entrepreneurs with a complementary vision to build a better world. We’ve built a world-class social web platform called Charismata (launching Spring 2023), which is a global digital intentional community that we will leverage to impact individuals, communities, and the world by funding and crowdsourcing charitable projects and social enterprises in a world-wide collaboration of people from all walks.