“I look at a vocal on a song like any other instrument on a track. You need the right paintbrushes and colors to create the perfect piece of art, and sometimes my voice isn’t the right paintbrush for the song and sometimes it is,” country artist and multi-instrumentalist Seth Ennis tells American Songwriter.
On his new single, “U-Turn,” his voice is undoubtedly the necessary tool to bring this song to life. Co-written with Alysa Vanderheym (Florida Georgia Line, Jake Owen) and Brett Tyler (Luke Bryan, Maren Morris), the tongue-in-cheek track boasts sonic dexterity. The song, produced by Grammy-nominated producers Zach Abend (Ingrid Andress) and Jordan Schmidt (Blake Shelton), blends pop tones with smooth vocals with panache.
For several years, he has struggled to identify the unique voice that defines his artistry. He explains, “Because I love so many different kinds of music and love creating with artists in pretty much every genre it’s been tough for me to hear what lane sounds like me and my voice. I feel just as much of an artist and just as proud on a song that someone else records and releases as I do on a song that I record and release.”
Ennis’ dynamic vocals allow him to expand upon traditional genre bounds on this single—released June 18—to deliver something different than what he might have previously felt confident releasing. “U-Turn” follows his latest release “I Still Do,” which garnered over 100,000 streams.
The artists Nashville run has been a rocky road. This past April, Ennis took to social media to shed some light on his struggles.
The response to this post, and the success of “I Still Do,” re-energized the artist on his forward path. Until that point, he admits to feeling “forgotten.”
“It wasn’t so much a question of if I wanted to make music as an artist anymore; I’ve always wanted to do that and always will,” says Ennis. It was more so me beating my head against the wall trying to figure out where my music fit in because it does blur the lines. Usually no matter what was happening or not happening, I would be energized and jacked about the music when I would be on tour playing it for the fans and seeing how it made them feel/hearing them sing it back to me.”
When the pandemic struck, that confidence from the stage collapsed as he sat home considering his next steps. His songwriting career seemed stable, so he asked his manager one day to be honest: should he shift into a full-time songwriter.
“I’m not really a numbers guy or ‘chart checker’ because I would go insane, but he showed me how many listeners I still had and how the music was still connecting with fans even though I hadn’t put out a song in almost two years,” Ennis explains. “That was when I decided to get back on the horse because I felt purpose in creating music as an artist again.”
In being vulnerable, sharing his feelings with his fans, Ennis was able to reconstruct the confidence he needed to pursue his authentic artistry. What follows from here continues this trajectory of pushing the perceived limits, and trusting his intuition.
“I think I’ve just taken the handcuffs off of the music sonically,” says Ennis.
“Before I felt like I was taking my songs that I wrote and force fitting them into some production box to appease other things that at the end of the day don’t matter. Maybe I was scared of it before, but I’m just making music now that I think is cool and that my friends think is cool and I think that’s a much healthier mindset to create with.”
Listen to Seth Ennis’ new single, “U-Turn,” below. Keep up with the artist here.
Photo by Ford Fairchild