By Stefanie Bainum
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- He has the coolness of the Rat Pack and the talent of Yo-Yo Ma. One meeting with violinist and Lowcountry native Seth Gilliard makes you look at his stringed instrument in a different light.
"It's the one thing I feel like I'm pretty good at and it's always been a pleasure for me, something I can do on my own," the 22-year-old musician said. "I've done it for so long, it's a part of me."
Gilliard picked up a violin at age five and was instantly hooked; practicing for hours on end after school growing up on John's Island with his parents and younger sister.
"When I got in trouble they wouldn't ground me they would take away my violin," Gilliard said of his parents.
Luckily, Gilliard didn't get in too much trouble and the hours of practicing paid off. After graduating from Porter-Gaud and attending Furman University to study music, Gilliard is back in his hometown doing what he does best.
"I wanted to give people a taste of what I could do and see what people liked," he said.
Gilliard released his debut EP The Introduction of Seth g. on Feb. 28. He mixes pop music with the violin, an oxymoron one would think, but Gilliard says the two go together quite nicely.
"I think a unique thing about my music is everybody can listen to it. There is no lyrics there is no one telling you what you have to think about the song or what meaning you are suppose to take from it," Gilliard said. "It can mean something totally different for someone else because it's instrumental music -- the scope is broader anybody can listen to it and enjoy it."
Wanting to create music his friends could listen to while riding around in the car, Gilliard started by experimenting with his favorite songs on the radio and the instrument he loves.
"It's just a matter of getting people to hear my stuff because then people are like, 'Whoa! OK let me check this out again,' and there is not that many people doing it," Gilliard said.
With pop, classical, and jazz running through his fingers to the violin strings, Gilliard says striking out on his own is rewarding.
"It's nice to be part of something that has the potential to grow. It makes me feel a lot safer because I'm not trying to do what everybody else is trying to do," he said. "Really for me it is about creating the music that's what I like to do that's what I'm good at," Gillard says. "That is the goal of this to see what people like and grow from that."
You can catch Gilliard and his unique sound every Thursday night at O-Ku on King Street and Wednesday nights at The River Course Clubhouse on Kiawah Island.
For album and contact information click here.