Student artist performs at ‘Music for the Soul’

Mallory Kutnick, Contributing Writer

Blooming recording artist and music major Tyler Seawood took to the stage to perform soul music in the 7th Street Underground of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union Wednesday night, accompanied by a group of his friends.

Seawood said he had scarcely picked up an instrument until the age of 13, when he began fiddling around with his father’s drum set.

By the age of 16, he taught himself to play the bass and the piano.

Now, Seawood has made what began with curiosity and drumsticks into the beginning of a professional career, jump-started with the release of his first album, “New Beginnings” this past summer.

“I do a lot of shows, but I usually play behind the scenes, but for my first show… If I could go back to that night…” Seawood said.

During that night, Seawood was stunned at the size of the audience who came to see him perform songs from “New Beginnings” live at Jackson Avenue Coffee.

“I think there were at least 100 people there,” Seawood recalled of the small coffee shop in Downtown Charleston. “It was amazing to see that many people of different backgrounds. It was such a diverse crowd and a diverse audience that were all loving the music that I was producing.”

Seawood said the next step in his career is to branch out.

He is now in the process of booking tours and venues in Mattoon and Champaign as well as other surrounding areas.

Along with his schoolwork and his off-campus musical gigs, Seawood plays in two ensembles at Eastern and two outside of the university.

He also plays the piano at his church and performs for weddings and funerals.

Between everything, he said he barely has time for himself.

“I’m kind of a workaholic,” Seawood said, adding that this has been the norm for him even when he banged on the drums for the first time.

However, when he graduates after the spring semester, Seawood hopes his schedule will be free enough to go further with his music.

“I have some people that I know in L.A. that I’m trying to get in contact with to help put me out there,” Seawood said. “I’m working with some really talented singers and helping them produce some music of their own.”

For now, though, Seawood is working to promote “New Beginnings,” with Wednesday’s concert being the second step in the promotion process.

With an enthusiastic audience singing along, Seawood provided bass solos and accompaniments to the voices of Adiare “Peety” Thomas, Kanitra Keaton, sophomore sociology major Taleiya Baker and Eastern alumna Bri Willis, who graduated in 2014.

“New Beginnings” is available on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play as well as Seawood’s personal website, tylerseawood.com.

Mallory Kutnick can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]edu.