Dan Gardner...Just Living Life


Charles White



In 2002, a young hopeful from the small town of Goshen, Indiana, sent in his tape for a contest that NBC’s Today Show was running.  During the course of the contest, a staggering one million fans logged onto the Today Show website and elected him as The Today Show Superstar.  On the verge of achieving everything he has dreamed, Gardner has never forgotten that it is his faith, family and friends that have been with him every step of the way.


Dan Gardner was born in New York City. When he was still just a baby, Dan was adopted and moved to the small Mid-Western town of Goshen, Indiana. There, he grew up along with his two older brothers, who were biological children of his adopted parents and two older sisters, who were also adopted. He learned from an early age that he was adopted, but was never treated different by his parents. Instead, all of the couple’s five children were treated as biological members of the family.


His parents were members of a small Mennonite community in Goshen and raised him and his other siblings in the Christian faith. From an early age, Dan began singing the four-part acapella harmonies that were a staple of the Church. As he got older, he began to branch out and explore other instruments besides his voice, such as the piano and saxophone. His love of music followed him throughout high school and into the two Christian colleges, where he honed his craft. For the last nine years, Dan has called Atlanta home, where he has worked as a respected vocal teacher while pursing his dreams of becoming a successful musician.


As he strove to achieve his dreams, Dan always thought back to his family and friends when times got rough.  His parents and close friends taught him to reach for the stars, chase your dreams and never give up, no matter how hard things seem. “If you’re doing what makes you happy, then it’s possible to achieve those dreams even if they seem pretty big. Anything is possible if you enjoy what you’re doing and work hard.”


With The Today Show contest came the possibility of stardom. However, Gardner never forgot the two most important things in his life: his family and his faith. “During The Today Show, I would talk to my parents every day and ask them to pray for me tonight. The prayer wasn’t that I do really well on the show. Instead, it was that I continue to have fun and stay focused.”


Following his success on The Today Show, Dan signed with DGP Records to release his first album. The first single has already landed him in the Top 40 on the Adult Contemporary music chart and is quickly gaining support among fans. In September, Gardner is set to release the entire album and seems well on his way to becoming a successful Pop star.


Whether the album is a hit or not, Dan is already a success in his own mind because he has had the opportunity to do what he loves. “Success is going for and accomplishing what you really want to do in life and making sure you’re enjoying it. Success in life is about enjoying life while you are here. It’s certainly not about being bitter and complaining. Right now I am living my dream and enjoying my life every day.”


What’s the biggest lesson that he has learned so far? “Have faith that you can go to when you need to and pray and ask for support and help. Life goes by so quickly that when you’re 70, you don’t want to wake up and think,’ Wow, I’ve just been trying to get through life and not living it.’ ”