Seth Ennis may have been raised a proud Georgia boy, but the young singer-songwriter is as worldly as the most seasoned traveler — and it shows in his eclectic brand of country music, a sound inspired by his hero Vince Gill, the pop-punk bands he followed each year on the Vans Warped Tour and smooth R&B stars like Usher.
Despite being just 23 years old, the multi-instrumentalist (he’s a natural-born drummer) has experienced a lot of life. Seth spent his formative years on a military base in Japan, cut his teeth as a touring musician while living in Raleigh and commuting to Nashville, and has now put down roots in Music City, where through perseverance and a dedication to his craft he landed a record deal with Sony Music Nashville.
As he likes to tell it, it was a case of being in the right place at the right time — and having the raw talent to stand out. “There was a battle of the bands competition here in Nashville and when one of the bands dropped out, I got the call,” Seth says. “I called my players together and we killed it.” With the victory, Seth secured a coveted performance spot at CMA Music Festival and caught the eye of Sony, as well as one of the competition’s judges, producer Corey Crowder. Crowder is now in the studio with Seth, both of them co-producing Seth’s debut album.
With the progressive musical risks of current pop music, the finesse of traditional country, strong R&B influences, and a healthy respect for organic sounds (he is a bluegrass fanatic), Seth’s music is poised to establish him as a fresh new voice in the genre, one with a rare global worldview.
“Country music is not that big in Japan,” he admits with a laugh while describing his type of music. “If I were raised in Georgia my whole life, I’d probably sound a lot different than I do. But because of how much I moved around, and all the cultures I experienced, my sound is especially diverse.”
It’s one that will fit right in on country music’s evolving landscape, where production has become just as key as songwriting. Fortunately, Seth excels at both.
“Production is so important to me, and I like to think I have an ear for it. I’m really picky,” he says. “And songwriting is something I’ve gotten better at since moving to Nashville and learning from great writers like Ben Hayslip and Rhett Akins. The best song always wins, even if it’s not my own. I have incredible respect for the writing community.”
For his debut single “Woke Up in Nashville,” Seth wrote with tunesmiths David Hodges and Blair Daly, creating an autobiographical account of his journey to Music City to pursue his dream as a singer-songwriter.
Fittingly, the song begins with Seth loading up his father’s truck and driving north from Georgia. In the studio, Seth played every instrument on “Woke Up in Nashville,” from guitars and bass to drums and piano. He even sang his own background vocals.
Being self-sufficient in the writing room and in the booth is important to the young singer, but he’s excited to collaborate in the encouraging country community. Seth is adamant about maintaining his own sense of identity. While he may unabashedly profess a love for pop melody and rock & roll energy, he’s a country disciple.
“Country is how I was raised. Its stories are about me,” he says. “But Nashville is also a melting pot right now, so I’m thinking huge: What can I do to play internationally? How can I have my songs heard globally? It’s about dreaming big.”
Which has certainly steered him right so far.