Skip to content

Musician and Nurse Tad Worku Honors “Man Behind the Music”

Tad Worku - Screen Capture from

Musician, speaker, and healthcare provider Tad Worku has meaningfully impacted countless people by intertwining his careers and passions. While Adventists may recognize Worku for his musical contributions, he is becoming widely recognized for the healing and hope he provides through nursing.

Worku’s music feels like savoring a warm cup of tea on a chilly morning or like a heartfelt conversation with a close friend. The soothing, refreshing quality of his artistry exudes restoration.

While speaking with him and listening to his music, I observe depth and richness in his brilliant compositional skill, the professionalism of his Grammy award-winning team, his extensive experience in the music industry, but more than all of that, divine inspiration.

Worku credits his Ethiopian parents with his orientation toward service. His parents began their education in their teenage years—his father at 15 and his mother at 18. His father’s education began unexpectedly when an accident almost cost him his eye. He walked two days to the nearest hospital for help. Providentially, the hospital was near a school and a church. Watching school children playing sparked a desire for education, leading him to enroll in first grade at age 15.

With the support of a sponsor, Carolyn Stuyvesant, Worku’s father eventually earned three master’s degrees and an honorary doctorate. He returned to his village, and over the next decades he oversaw the construction of high schools, women’s health initiatives, cataract surgeries, and water well digging. Remarkably, the village where he nearly lost his vision now provides hundreds of cataract surgeries each month.

Worku’s mother’s journey, though not recounted here, is equally miraculous and significant. “Both of my parents were born into a world I can’t comprehend,” Worku says. “They lived in mud huts, experienced siblings dying from childhood illnesses, and lived with the uncertainty of not knowing how many years they had to live. In their world, nobody leaves; nobody gets out.” But there was something else in store for them both as they made their way to the United States.

Born in America, Worku and his brother enjoyed privileges their parents never did. Like many children of immigrants, they drew inspiration and a desire for greatness from their parents. This drive led Worker to pursue a career in music. Though he now lives to serve people, he once sought acclaim.

“I initially chose music because I saw it as a path to wealth and fame. If I developed my talent enough, I could become somebody,” Worku said.

As his career progressed, he transitioned from playing shows to securing deals and headlining his own concerts. He also found success in songwriting. He encountered influential figures in his field. For a while, Worku prioritized music over his faith. But as he met more accomplished individuals who seemed unfulfilled, he suspected they missed the thing he had abandoned—his faith.

This self reflection led to what Worku describes as an invitation to go deeper with God, which prompted dramatic changes. Even as his career thrived, he began feeling deeply compelled to leave it behind. He sensed God drawing him away from the music industry. The decision to quit music did not come easily and was a choice many did not understand. He ultimately decided to leave music and follow a calling into the unknown. A week after making the decision, Worku learned he received funding to go on tour. But he had already made up his mind. He returned to school and pursued a degree in nursing.

Worku’s secured a nursing job at Loma Linda University Medical Center’s emergency department. Despite the career change, music remained important. He sensed God leading him back to music with a new outlook.

For Worku, being immersed the medical field and its challenges fueled a deeper interest in people and their stories. In 2018, he completed an album highlighting stories he gleaned through nursing. He hoped to release the album that year, but he felt compelled to wait.

Two years elapsed before he released the album in January, 2020. He and his team prepared to tour. Then the pandemic hit and the world shut down. Unable to tour, Worku returned to the Emergency Department as a frontline worker. What seemed like a major setback again proved providential.

Worku’s album made from stories he gathered in hospital halls became a beacon in a world thrown into chaotic darkness. Amid voices of fear, political division, racial tension, and uncertainty, his unique position provided something the world sorely needed.

Worku landed interviews globally—outlets for his message of hope and healing. He marvels at the providence of it all.

“Had I released the album when I wanted to, it would not have had the same impact as it did because I waited.” Worku saw it as confirmation that trusting God leads to better outcomes than one can ever imagine.

Tad Worku still balances music and healthcare. He works as a mission coach, uncovering purpose, meaning, and joy in the work healthcare professionals and leaders provide. He has completed writing his next album and has begun work on a release schedule. He hopes for a multi-platform release including podcasts, a planned book, and other avenues for sharing his message.

Worku still draws strength from his parents’ stories, and the many mentors whose shoulders he stands on “with muddy feet.” He feels that without their varied support, his accomplishments would have been impossible. But he credits God as his richest source of inspiration and calls him “the man behind the music.”

About the author

Ezrica Bennett graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Oakwood University. She has worked as a book editor for the Loma Linda University School of Medicine and has written for the Adventist Review and the Southeastern California Conference. She is a writer, public speaker, and coach, passionate about working with young adults to help them navigate life and faith, and a youth elder at the Loma Linda University Church. More from Ezrica Bennett.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Spectrum Newsletter: The latest Adventist news at your fingertips.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.