When Seth Gilliard’s parents needed to punish him as a child, they didn’t put him on restriction or prevent him from going outside to play with his friends. If Rodgers and Andrea Gilliard really needed to get Seth’s attention there was only one sure-fire way: Take his violin away for a while.
Seth, now 21, graduated from Furman University this spring with a major in violin performance. His parents obviously didn’t keep him separated from his music too many days.
Seth attended Ashley River School of the Creative Arts and then Porter-Gaud. As a child, he knew this was “my skill, my talent,” and he’s now trying to see where his passion for music will take him.
His dad, Rodgers, manages a car dealership. Mom, Andrea, is a virologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Seth says he sat down with his folks and they’ve agreed to let him chase his dream. He believes his violin is his voice and he is certain there is a market for his music. Just what is his genre? Blending classical and hip-hop. Gently stirring Beethoven with The Black Eyed Peas, if you will.
Market Street It’s not unusual to see Seth on Market Street with his violin and a boom box. It’s just one of the ways he’s demonstrating what he’s trying to do. He writes some original songs, but primarily, he performs songs from well-known artists because that usually makes people stop and listen. He may use his classically trained fingers to flawlessly perform “American Boy” by Estelle. The hip-hop artist Drake’s “I’m On One” is another familiar tune that few people have ever heard from a concert violinist. During the applause, he won’t spend too much time taking a bow; he’d rather use that opportunity to pass out a few business cards.
Seth is no Johnny One Note, though. This summer, he’ll play in a few weddings, perform late nights at restaurants and bars and then teach some younger students a few hours during the day. His goal is to use the rest of this year to gauge the possibilities of his music as he builds a website that he hopes will build a fan base.
‘I Got the Music In Me’ Seth wrote his first song in high school, but it was a performance in the school’s talent show that really convinced him he “might make a career of it.” He knows he will always be able to find a job playing with an orchestra. His skills on that violin and his classical training provide serious fall-back positions.
He’s not preoccupied with being “the next star,” but believes people like his music by their reactions and now he just wants to get his name out there.
He often refers to himself as Seth G. The young man is mannerly and often replies with “Yes, sir” during conversations. Right now, he’s a young man with mad skills on a violin who is willing to keep working hard to be noticed.
If you get a chance to see him at work around town the next few months, give him a listen … and then make sure to thank his parents that they didn’t keep that violin out of his hands for too long.