Todd Hanebrink

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EP 121: Todd Hanebrink (autogenerated)

Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it. Episode 121.

[00:00:08] Alrighty, let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Todd Hannah brink. Are you ready for this Todd?

[00:00:18]Todd Hanebrink: [00:00:18] Yes, what’s up, everybody.

[00:00:20] Dane Reis: [00:00:20] Todd has had an outrageously diverse career in the entertainment industry from Broadway to recording artist film, to Cirque de Solei. He truly has done it all. A small selection of his favorite credits include wicked and moving out on Broadway, Cirque du Soleil, Zumanity, the films that get down on Netflix and Christmas on the square and the pop group res Todd, that is a very quick intro of who you are and what you do, John.

[00:00:54] But why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself? Fill in the gaps. And a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.

[00:01:03]Todd Hanebrink: [00:01:03] I first want to say that. I have a ton more that I want to do. You’ve mentioned that I’ve done it all, but for myself, I feel like I haven’t accomplished nearly as much as I want to, but thank you for the compliment. I, I, um, I started this business when I was, well, I took my first dance class when I was around 10 11, and I was really, really, really fortunate to start off with an all boys dance class.

[00:01:28]Um, Um, and I was, yeah, and I was also taught by male teachers. So I was really, really one of the lucky ones too. You know, have those role models growing up, um, and being, you know, being able to get into this business, um, where most male dancers don’t have other male role models to follow and aspire to. So I was really, really fortunate to have that, um, which then led me to a ballet company.

[00:01:53] And then which led me to winning scholarships. Um, there’s many dance conventions all over the country and even. The world that travel that whole competitions and they give scholarships to the top studios in New York and LA. So during my summer vacations, um, in high school, I didn’t have those, you know, most people would go to Florida and, and have fun with their grandparents and summer vacations.

[00:02:16]Well, I was working in training and training in New York and LA. Just doing whatever I could to get as many as dance classes in every day, sometimes six to eight classes. Um, so the discipline aspect of my work ethic started really young, which definitely helped me with my career. Um, so it, it all began there.

[00:02:37] And the connections that I made in New York and LA with training led to, um, The jobs that I ended up booking, which was amazing and awesome. So yeah.

[00:02:50] Dane Reis: [00:02:50] Yeah, very cool. And you’re right. You are so lucky to have started off in an all males class with male teachers. Honestly, it wasn’t until I went to. My conservatory training that I had an all male dance class. And the difference is night and day

[00:03:09]Todd Hanebrink: [00:03:09] Oh, yeah. 

[00:03:10] Dane Reis: [00:03:10] you’re in 

[00:03:11] mixed classes. 

[00:03:12] Todd Hanebrink: [00:03:12] Well, especially partnering, you have to, um, you know, the female teachers only have the perspective of, you know, being partnered. So I was really lucky to have the perspective from a male to know how to partner, where to hold the woman. Um, You know, lifting her how to do pair wets, you know, when you have to spin that girl when she’s on point during ballet.

[00:03:30]So, um, a lot of technical stuff that, uh, guys learn later, I got to learn at an early age. So that definitely helped me out for sure. And gave me an advantage

[00:03:40] in audition.

[00:03:41] Dane Reis: [00:03:41] purely being in a room full of men where you can also be more challenged, I think, to move faster and

[00:03:48] Todd Hanebrink: [00:03:48] Oh, yeah. Cause well, men are competitive, so are women, but I feel like men are just a little bit more competitive, especially with each other and just having that energy and, you know, taking the good and the bad from each other male dancer in the room. Um, definitely helps. Develop my skills as well. So I was really lucky with that.

[00:04:10] And then, so I started working while I was still in high school, like really well, actually junior high. And then my parents were like, wow, this is actually really something. I didn’t come from a family of dancers. I didn’t come from a family of, you know, singers, although my dad can sing. He just never did it as a profession.

[00:04:29]Um,  kind of like, At first, this is just a fun little hobby. And then when I started working at such a young age, I’m making more money than I that’s fine. They’re like, Oh, this must be, this is actually kind of serious. So I had, they made me finish school first without doing any professional jobs.

[00:04:46] And then I already had a job. Uh, booked and ready to go before I graduated high school. So right after high school, I started my career right away. And, um, I’m from st. Louis, Missouri. So that’s where I’m born and raised. And then I saved my money with my first job and my dream was always to dance with Janet Jackson, um, and go on tour with her.

[00:05:09] And so I saved my money to go to LA and then. Sadly, my mom  passed away of cancer, like right after I graduated high school. So it kind of put a hold on a lot of the dreams and goals that I have because of that sad experience. But yeah. You know, sometimes I, you know, a lot of people say, you know, God can take a dark situation and turn it around for good.

[00:05:33] And. He did. And my life, I spent a lot of time just praying and asking him, where do I go? What do I want to do? I actually got an opportunity to speak to Janet Jackson on the phone. And, um, um, yeah, a friend of mine, uh, was working with her, doing makeup for her and he told Janet about me. And so she called me and.

[00:05:56] Or he called me, put her on the phone and left me a voicemail. And then I called him back and he put her on the phone and I got to speak to her and we just talked about, you know, just life and stuff and just, you know, um, what was going on in my life at that time. And she was really, really, really sweet and encouraging.

[00:06:12] And literally the next day I got a phone call about this pop group res RA Z E. Um, it was a contemporary pub. R and B Christian group actually. And I ended up taking that over, pursuing, uh, the dream to dance with Janet, which I never thought I would do, but yeah. Um, I’m glad I did. I wouldn’t change anything for the world.

[00:06:35] I actually really needed it. And I thought, you know what? It might be a more rare opportunity to, to be a voice and to write me music and sing. And not be a backup dancer for somebody else. You know what I mean? Even though it’s for Janet Jackson, which was totally fine with me, but I was just like, you know, I slept on it, prayed on it for awhile.

[00:06:56] I auditioned for the group and, um, we clicked very well together. Like brothers. Yeah, it was in sisters. It was two guys, two girls, um, uh, me, um, I’m a black guy. I’m a white girl and a black girl. And because we are in contemporary Christian music, It was really, you know, very, very eye catching because one, our look was very loud, bright colors, and we’re a mixed racial group, you know, usually most, um, black people are in gospel only.

[00:07:23] So it was kind of really, really ahead of its time for Christian music to have a band like ours. Um, Um, and I actually got to write a little bit. about my mom and that experience of losing her. So it was kind of a very unique, rare opportunity that I wouldn’t change for the world. And we got to tour Australia.

[00:07:41] We Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, New Zealand, and of course all over the States. Yeah. And we won three music awards, three, uh, dove awards. So, yeah, we, we performed at the grand old Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, where our record label was, and I got to meet a ton of different celebrity, Dolly Parton, which yeah. I recently just got to work with, um, this year, the Christmas holiday, um, movie, I think it’s going to be out on Netflix.

[00:08:10] It’s one of those feel good. Ho hallmark, Christmas movies, Dolly Parton wrote the music for and starring in Christmas on the square. So I’m excited for that. um, so then when the group, um, ended, I was only. 19. then I moved to LA after that and worked and started doing film and commercial work there.

[00:08:27] And then I moved, I booked wicked on Broadway and I was like, well, I have to experience doing Broadway, at least before I die. So I took that too, that opportunity. And that was amazing. I was in wicked for four years now. So the Broadway show  moving out, Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp. Teamed up together and created one of the most intense, amazing stories and probably the hardest dance show, dance musical.

[00:08:55] I think there ever was, it was intense. I was a swing and a swing position means you learn all the tracks. So I had to learn all the male parts and, um, so it was a different show for me every night, which kept, kept my brain really working as law as well as my body.  So I did that and actually I ended up breaking.

[00:09:16] I. I hurt my back really bad on that show. I had a really bad stress fracture and had to take time off. And the doctor said either surgery or intense physical therapy. And if I took the surgery, there wasn’t a 100% chance that, or are they not even 100%? They said most likely, you’ll likely you’ll never be able to perform the same again.

[00:09:38] And I was like, Ooh, well, I don’t want to do that. And I was only at that time, 24, 25 years old. 

[00:09:44]Dane Reis: [00:09:44] Yeah. 

[00:09:45] Todd Hanebrink: [00:09:45] then I chose the physical therapy and with close to, I guess it was maybe five months, five, six months. I got back into the show and then I’ve had a long career. I mean, I’m 41 now, and I’ve still been dancing until this day.

[00:10:01]So. That inspired, like the personal training aspect in my life. So I always did personal training on the side of performing just to keep up my body and to, inspire other dancers, even because we’re doing eight. When you’re in a Broadway show, you’re doing eight shows a week. Um, when I did Zumanity the search of salacious, that was 10 shows a week.

[00:10:20] And they think, and most people go, Oh, you must never go to the gym or you men, you must never work out. And I’m like, Oh no, no, no, no, no. I go to the gym before every show, just because you need to really take care of your body in this industry. Um, it’s so important. So I learned a lot. I’ve, I’ve learned a lot

[00:10:39] Dane Reis: [00:10:39] Yeah. Yeah.

[00:10:41] Todd Hanebrink: [00:10:41] music, writing music, how I, you know, how records are made.

[00:10:45]To how to recover from a broken back. So.

[00:10:47]Dane Reis: [00:10:47] Wow. You really have. Wow. That’s amazing. And let’s move on to this first section here. And Todd, look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote that you’d like to share with everyone?

[00:11:02]Todd Hanebrink: [00:11:02] Ooh. Um, what is my favorite quote? Um, if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I know it’s a cliche. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s the truth. And especially with social media right now, you can’t turn on your phone. Your computer, your TV without hearing negativity. And I’m just, I’m sick of it

[00:11:24] Dane Reis: [00:11:24] Yeah. And it’s

[00:11:25] also, you know, you also have to be aware and conscious of , what you put out there, especially in the social media world, like you said, because social media is also a big part of how we get booked for jobs now. It’s your running resume. It represents you. So you have to be


[00:11:43] Todd Hanebrink: [00:11:43] yeah. I mean, when I first was training there wasn’t social media presence at all. So, but even, so then, you know, I’ve worked with the same choreographer three or four times the director three or four times. So if you’re, you know, Not a nice person or you’re not, you know, likable and easy to work with.

[00:11:59] They take note of that and remember that, and it will not hire you again. So even the most talented people, I’m like, wow, this person did not get the job. And they were an amazing singer, an amazing dancer, but yeah, they just had a crappy attitude. So yeah, no room for egos.

[00:12:17] Dane Reis: [00:12:17] No, and let’s move on to this next section here. And Todd, of course you are an entertainer, I’m an entertainer. And I think that you’d agree that this industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest and personally emotional industries in existence. And do you know, as well as I, that in order to create and have a successful career in this industry, like you’re having now takes a lot.

[00:12:45] Of dedication and hard work. And while, yeah, there’s an outrageous amount of fun and excitement being an entertainer. There are also our fair share of obstacles, challenges, and failures. We are going to experience and we’re going to have to move forward through. So tell us, what is one key challenge, obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career and how did you come out the other side better because of it.

[00:13:10] Todd Hanebrink: [00:13:11] Wow. That’s such a deep, good question. Cause I’ve had a lot of challenges. Um, I would say, I mean, probably not to go repeat myself, but back when you know, my mom passed away.  you know,  I didn’t come from a family with a lot of money. Um, so aye. You know, I always promised myself that I would have as a successful career to not make all the sacrifices that my family and.

[00:13:37] May paying for my dance lessons, paying for my travel to go to LA, to in New York to train. Um, so that down time that I had, where I fell into some really deep depression, because I thought at that time, why am I doing all this? If my mom isn’t here to enjoy it, you know? Um, and I realized, you know what, like I know she’s watching over me and I also have to do things for myself.

[00:14:02]And, and that’s okay. And that’s not being selfish in a negative way. That’s being selfish to, uh, to empower myself. And so by me not giving up and pursue doing music, pursuing dancing still, um, even though through such a rough dark time, the outcome. You know, was well well worth it. Um, the people that I met, the people that impacted my life that changed my life and vice versa, um, were like God sent, you know, um, moments in my life that definitely flourished my soul and, and grew, um, my confidence and definitely helped me have a.

[00:14:41]Long lasting career that I’ll never forget and always cherish. So 

[00:14:47]I would say that not letting, cause I think, I think it’s because you know, a lot of people think  if there’s someone close to you that if they’re not around anymore, like, uh, you know, losing a husband or a wife or kid that you have to lose your life to.

[00:15:02]And that’s the last thing I think. The people that we love would want for us to do. And so I would say to anybody that is feeling that are going through that right now to not give up and to keep pursuing what you love, because that love and that joy that you have is going to overtake and overcome the sadness and the depression that you think is too overwhelming for you, for you at the moment.

[00:15:29] So. So. Love wins. Hashtag love wins.

[00:15:34]Dane Reis: [00:15:34] Beautiful. Wonderful advice. Thank you for sharing that.  and let’s move on to. The time that I like to call your spotlight moment. That one moment in time you realized, yes, I am going to be an entertainer for a living or maybe it was, yes, this is what I need to be doing as an entertainer.

[00:15:59] Tell us about that.

[00:16:01] Todd Hanebrink: [00:16:01] Well, I think for me again, it started when I was younger. I, I, every time when I came home from school, I, you know, I had a huge bully. Uh, I w I was bullied a lot and I, and when I came home from school, I would turn on my music. And at that time I was, you know, obsessed with Janet Jackson, just her beat, just her music was so it just moved through me and I, and I knew that that’s what I wanted to do.

[00:16:26] I needed to dance, like, cause when I was dancing and feeling music, Nothing could harm me. I felt invincible. So then when I got my first job, I knew right then and there that this is what I was going to do. Like that moment of you booked the job. I knew this is going to be the rest of my life.

[00:16:48] Dane Reis: [00:16:48] Ah, great. And let’s piggyback on that real quick and talk about your number one. Booked it moment. Walk us through that day, the auditions and call backs. If they happen to be a part of it, what was going on in your life? And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite? Booked it moment.

[00:17:09]Todd Hanebrink: [00:17:09] Well, first of all, every, anytime I, I book a job, I’m grateful. So I can’t say that one is more important than the other, but I, I will say though that one of the highlights was I was already in New York city. I booked wicked on Broadway and. Um, I didn’t have an agent there yet. And a friend of mine said, Hey, there’s a, there’s a movie audition.

[00:17:30]Um, and they’re hiring all white guys and they’re hiring all black guys. And I was like, okay. Um, so I went to the audition, they were doing, uh, the black guys first. And the doorman that was in charge of who gets to go into the audition. I asked, could I audition? And he said, well, this is an agent submission only.

[00:17:49]And I was like, Oh, well, you know, I can send you my resume and headshot. Um, and hopefully you’ll let me in. And so I emailed it to him really quick and he emailed me back and said, no, we don’t want to see you. And I was like, okay. And I was like, you know what, there’s a lot, there’s more rejection in this business.

[00:18:11] And there is, you know, success sometimes. So I was like taking the bullet and that, and then I, you know, I went to the gym and I was working out and my friend texted me. And he said they just finished the black guys. You have to come, just come. And so I said, screw it. So I just went, I left the gym, grabbed my bag, ran down to new world stages, which is in hell’s kitchen and in Manhattan where the audition was.

[00:18:36] And. Snuck past the door guy. I snuck past the door guy and went on and went on this stage because the audition ran like a class. They were going across the floor, like a ballet combination, then a jazz combination. And then they did, um, an African style, uh, dance combination. So each time I went down the floor, I, I, the choreographer kept me and other people were getting cut.

[00:18:58]Cut, cut. And I ended up. Booking it right then and there on this stage, as I grabbed my bag and I’m leaving that theater where the audition was, the doorman looked at me and he goes, I guess it pays to be persistent. And I just smiled at him and I just, I just smiled at him. And I was like, I didn’t even say anything.

[00:19:19] I just smiled and shrugged, my shoulders walked out of the audition. Like, yes, no one’s gonna tell me no, I believe in myself.

[00:19:26] Dane Reis: [00:19:26] Oh,

[00:19:28] Todd Hanebrink: [00:19:28] So that was like the highlight, I think, because it took a lot of guts and balls to kind of just be like, uh, no, I am going to audition even, even when I asked first and then they said, no, but, um, you know, sometimes you gotta to do that to get what you want.

[00:19:43] You just gotta be persistent and not give up. So.

[00:19:46]Dane Reis: [00:19:46] Ah, so cool. And let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And it’s a weird time, right? We’re amidst this global pandemic.

[00:20:01]How do you see this entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?

[00:20:07]Todd Hanebrink: [00:20:07] Well, I’m going to say this. I think entertainers, whether it’s acting artists, I should say we’re the most resilient. Group of people in the world and nothing is going to stop our art from being heard. And  even though it’s a little dark right now where entertainers are gonna prevail and you know, it is slowly starting to come back. I, um, I think in film, they’re quarantining the cast and you know, they’re checking, you know, their health everyday, their temperature.

[00:20:39] So things are gonna start moving and happening. Um, live performance. I believe will be the same as well. Um, it is a dark time right now, but with that, you know, in the dark times, I think, um, you find ways that you never thought you needed to work through before and you find strength that you never had before.

[00:21:02]Um, so even though it’s a little slow, it’ll become it’ll it’ll happen. But right now, um, I just, uh, will last year I filmed the movie Christmas on the square with Dolly Parton. Um, but that actually is going to be coming out this holiday season. So that’s coming up, which I’m really excited about. And Debbie Allen directed and choreographed it.

[00:21:23]Um, she,  was a force to be reckoned with. She was so inspiring and, um, it was a dream come true to work with her. I remember being a little kid and watching her on Fein. And I was like, wow, why can’t I go to a school like that? I was just in a, you know, a regular public high school where, where nobody was dancing down the hallways, but I will tell you, and I’m sure they didn’t have cameras back then.

[00:21:44] And I’m sure they have like security cameras and hallways now, but I would, no one was looking, I would dance down the hall. I would do like leaps and shinies, you know, just cause in a way it was kind of my leg. Middle finger to all the bullies. I was just like, you know what? I am going to make it. So I would like dance down the hall, like with a vengeance, you know? you know?

[00:22:03]And then when someone would turn the corner and see me, then I’d be like, Oh, I wasn’t doing anything.

[00:22:07] Dane Reis: [00:22:07] Yep. I’m normal. Nothing. Yep.

[00:22:10]Todd Hanebrink: [00:22:10] But yeah. So it is, it is a little slow. Um, but it’ll, it’ll. It’ll happen. Um, like I said, entertainers, artists are the most resilient human beings on the planet. I mean, yeah. I look at it as dancers, as gods athletes. And when someone said that to me one time and I was like, wow, that way it was so powerful because you know, we praise football players and hockey players and baseball players, but no one really.

[00:22:36]Looks at artists, especially dancers as athletes. And I’m here to say that dancers are the most athletic people. I know. So I’ve, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve worked my butt off. I’ve torn both my hamstrings. I’ve broken my back, torn ligaments, and you don’t do that by not being athletic. So

[00:22:57] Dane Reis: [00:22:57] Absolutely.

[00:22:59]Todd Hanebrink: [00:22:59] my God. Um, so NYC is a website. I started for indoor pet rabbit care. Um, a friend of mine, actually, Alan Silva, who is just on America’s got talent. He was in the finals. He was the little person that flew Ariel. I don’t know if you’ve watched the show this season, but. Yeah, he’s awesome. He, he, uh, is, has been in Zumanity for many years.

[00:23:26]Um, so when I was working with him, we were. Out at a pub or a little bar after work. And he showed me his picture of his buddies and he was like, I need to find a home for this bunny. And I was like, I’ll take them. I love it, animals. And I hadn’t had a pet since I was like a little kid, you know, animals, animals were my best friends.

[00:23:46] Cause I didn’t have a lot of friends cause I was bullied in school. So as an adult, I was like, yes, I miss that feeling of having, you know, something to take care of and to love. So I took that. Rather than, and I was amazed at how awesome they were. He, he lived cage free and my room, I got him a litter box.

[00:24:04] He was super clean didn’t smell. And he would come up to me all the time for it, like snuggles and he slept in bed, but he was like such a little, like a dog. He’d be like a puppy. He was so cute. And so that I was like, why don’t you more people have these as pets. They’re awesome. Because you know, especially me growing up in Missouri, all I knew of, of rabbits was they were raised for meat or they’re for.

[00:24:28]not as smart, intelligent creatures. So I was like, no, they’re super smart, loving. And they don’t deserve the life that they’ve been Levine. Um, that’s been promoted. So I want it to be kind of a, a voice for them. You know, my, the, the pets that I had at home when I was bullied, you know, um, at school, they saved my life and I was like, you know what I want to say.

[00:24:49]Their life back, you know, I want to be a voice for them too. So I created that website. I sell apparel, um, leggings, hoodies, mugs, you name it. And I give a portion of the proceeds to animal shelters. So I’m really excited about it.

[00:25:03] Dane Reis: [00:25:03] Yeah, very cool. I love that. I had no idea that rabbits were such good pets.

[00:25:09]Todd Hanebrink: [00:25:09] Yeah. Um, well I know neither did I. And after, after you get them spayed and neuter, their litter box habits are really good. 


[00:25:17] Dane Reis: [00:25:17] Wild. Very cool. And it is time to move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview. I call it the grease lightning round. I am going to ask you a handful of questions. I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another. Are you ready?

[00:25:37]Todd Hanebrink: [00:25:37] I’m ready. I’m nervous. Go ahead.

[00:25:39] Dane Reis: [00:25:39] right. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?

[00:25:45]Todd Hanebrink: [00:25:45] Come on in calling me back. Fear.

[00:25:48]Dane Reis: [00:25:48] Yes. Second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

[00:25:54]Todd Hanebrink: [00:25:54] don’t lead your life with fear.

[00:25:58]Dane Reis: [00:25:58] Perfect. Third question. What is something that is working for you right now? Or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on? Pause.

[00:26:10]Todd Hanebrink: [00:26:10] , the confidence that my mom gave me, always remembering that helped me through everything.

[00:26:15]Dane Reis: [00:26:15] Hmm, fourth question. What is your best resource? Whether that’s a book, a movie, a YouTube video, a podcast, or maybe a piece of technology that you found is helping your career right now?

[00:26:27]Todd Hanebrink: [00:26:27] Definitely my iPhone everything’s on there.

[00:26:32] Dane Reis: [00:26:32] And the fifth question, if you had to start your career from scratch, but you still had all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in this industry, what would you do or not do? Would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same?

[00:26:49]Todd Hanebrink: [00:26:49] Man. Um, I’m supposed to answer fast. Jeez. I mean, I, I guess I would keep it the same because I really, I really experienced so much. I mean, most people that go into Broadway only stay on Broadway. Most people that go into pop, pop music only stay in pop music the same, you know, if you’re a Cirque du Solei, performer, that’s all you stick with.

[00:27:07] So I wanted to experience everything. So I took. Everything that I could learn. And I applied it and pushed myself to have as much variety as possible. So I, I wouldn’t really change anything. I mean, I mean, I would have loved to have yeah. Also dance with Janet Jackson, but you got to be, I’ve got to be an out platinum music group, um, and be a voice and inspire people.

[00:27:30]Well, and, you know, I met other kids that had their parents at a young age, die of cancer. And so I was, you know, at first I didn’t know what I was doing, you know, I don’t have the best singing voice in the world, you know, so I, I had those insecurities, but you know what. I just felt, God kind of just telling me, you know, what, I see something in you and that’s what matters.

[00:27:49] And I just followed that voice and it led to touching a lot of people and growing and learning about myself in a way that I never did before, by hearing other people’s stories that were similar to mine. yeah, it was, it was. Probably I would have to say I wouldn’t change anything because of that.

[00:28:07]there was actually, uh, when I moved to New York city, it was soon after, you know, , I finished the group and there was, uh, I got a blocked phone call. I come out of the subway and I got a blocked phone call from this. Teenage boy who said he wanted to commit suicide because he was gay and his parents were ministers.

[00:28:24] And he said, I know if they find out that I’m gay, they will disown me and all this stuff. And he said, you know, I kind of sensed that. Maybe you were gay, you know? And how do you, how do you deal with that being in a pop Christian music group? That was huge. I mean, I mean, we were, we were selling, you know, a lot. and I told him, I just.

[00:28:41]I said that God loves you for who you are. He, he sees your heart and that’s what matters. You know, if you put him first, that’s all that matters. And, and I made him promise me to keep in contact with me to make sure that he wasn’t going to take his life. And he did. And, and the really cool thing is that he always called me on a blog number.

[00:29:01] So I knew it wasn’t just like a crazy fan that was making up a story just to talk to Todd from Ray’s like he really genuinely was feeling pain. And so that really, um, that touched me. I mean, I mean, I’m choking up a little bit right now, just thinking about the phone call, um, and the shakiness. And his voice when he was talking, it was so real and so genuine.

[00:29:21] And those moments are life changing for me as well. And now you can’t put a price tag on that,  so, And he’s doing well. He is doing really well. Um, I keep his name private cause he, he never wanted that revealed or anything, but he’s awesome. And he’s doing really well and he’s alive today and, and that made.

[00:29:41] Everything makes sense of all the doubt and all the fear that I had in the back of my head. Come together to finally be like, wow, I’m sure. You know, when you’re in life situations, you don’t understand why am I here? Why am I doing this? This sucks. Or why am I doing this job? It doesn’t pay me well, but then people start coming into your life for a reason.

[00:30:01] And that happened. It’s like, Oh, I get it now. See, I shouldn’t have been doubting myself. So 

[00:30:09] Dane Reis: [00:30:09] Wow. That’s so amazing that you were able to be there for someone like that. That’s amazing.

[00:30:14]Todd Hanebrink: [00:30:14] Yeah. And if I, if I didn’t like, listen to that voice, you know, God’s saying, Hey, I know you’re, you’re not the best singer and all that, but it doesn’t matter. That’s not, that’s not why I want you in this group. I want you in this group for many, many other reasons that maybe you don’t even understand yourself.

[00:30:30] Todd and I just had to be disciplined believe in that. And. I get a phone call like that. And you know, he is alive today. any award, I won that over trumps everything, you know, that, that overtook everything. So it was well, well, worth it, just for that one phone call, because if I wouldn’t have even joined the group, I never would have met this kid and help help him through a dark time.

[00:30:54] So just, um, That meant everything to me 

[00:30:57] Dane Reis: [00:30:57] Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much for sharing that. And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in this industry? Three. You’d like to leave with everyone

[00:31:12]Todd Hanebrink: [00:31:12] my golden nugget,

[00:31:16]um, I guess it would just be.   not letting those voices of doubt overtake you because th the thing is, is when you’re in this business, people it’s sad, but people can be mean back stabby and jealous. And if you. Don’t listen to that negativity and you believe in yourself, you know, when you’re on the right path and  you, you know, and,  you, you know, when you’re kind of going yeah.

[00:31:34]Off, off track. So I, I would just say, not listening to those voices of doubt, negativity, overpower, what you know, and your goals that are going to be in your heart that you need to see through. So if I listened to those voices of doubts, I wouldn’t have had the career that I’ve had. And so I think for sure that would be my advice on that and my takeaway on the golden moments, I guess.

[00:31:59]Dane Reis: [00:31:59] Yeah, beautiful advice.  And to wrap up this interview, Todd, it is time to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?

[00:32:13]Todd Hanebrink: [00:32:13] Yes, my Instagram is Todd burns, T O D D D B U R N Z. And then you can also follow my pet rabbits and their awesome journey at NYC B U N S.

[00:32:29] And you can find more apparel and fun with the pet rabbits and you booked it. forward slash NYC buttons.

[00:32:40] Dane Reis: [00:32:40] Beautiful. And for everyone listening out there, I have put the links to everything. Todd just said into the description of this episode, make sure you go to you forward slash NYC buns. So you can grab your rabbit apparel, 

[00:32:58] Todd. It has been such a pleasure to have you on thank you so much for sharing so much of your life and your career.

[00:33:04]Todd Hanebrink: [00:33:04] I appreciate it. And this time with the industry, kind of at a slow pace, anyone that’s hearing this, I hope it encourages you and just keep being yourself and keep that focus. The focus of your dreams, the focus of your goals. Don’t listen to the haters. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s true. It really is true.


[00:33:23] Thank you so much.