“Manning native now rising country singer
His sound is compared to Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean
Country singer and Manning native Shawn Bilton performs at an event recently.
Posted Thursday, July 7, 2016 6:00 am
BY KONSTANTIN VENGEROWSKY KONSTANTIN@THEITEM.COM
Manning native Shawn Bilton has always enjoyed singing.
He grew up performing Christian music in front of his church's congregation, First Baptist Church of Manning.
Bilton is now a rising country singer performing in front of hundreds and sometimes thousands of people in the Myrtle Beach area any chance he has. Earlier this summer, Bilton sang in front of 30,000 people at the Carolina Country Music Festival. The annual event featured country music stars such as Tim McGraw, Keith Urban and Lewis Brice.
Bilton has also recorded his first extended play in Nashville, a recording of three songs, with producer Noel Golden. He plans on recording another extended play soon. He performs in various venues such as restaurants, special functions and Broadway at the Beach, a shopping center and entertainment complex in Myrtle Beach.
Born and raised in Manning, Bilton graduated from Manning High School in 2000. His father, Kenny Bilton, was a salesman for a local radio station in the area, and Shawn said he grew up listening to musicians sing and play there. Both his father and mother, Anna Bilton, were very supportive of his dreams, he said.
He didn't pick up a guitar, however, until he was 20 years old, teaching himself how to play the instrument.
He received a bachelor's degree in finance and accounting in 2012 from Limestone College and moved to Louisiana for a job. It was there, he said, that he started writing country music.
I was there by myself for three months and had a lot of free time to spend, so I started writing songs," he said.
His rising singing career began about three years ago, when he first performed at an open mic night at a restaurant in Garden City.
They asked me to continue playing that entire night," he said.
Bilton broke into the local musician scene when he moved to the Myrtle Beach area three years ago.
He performs in different venues throughout the city each week and has also sung live on the Myrtle Beach country radio station, Gator 107.9 FM.
James Bierley, host of the station's "James and Adam Show," described Bilton's style as acoustic country rock blend with a unique edge.
His music seems to be a new Southern country style with the likes of Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean," he said.
Bierley also said Bilton is a strong writer, and that would help him achieve success in the long run.
He sings and writes with a passion, and you can sense that," he said. "He's also a very humble person.
Bilton said many of his songs are based on his personal experiences. One such song is "This Dirt Road," which he co-wrote with his friend, Josh Adams.
The song talks about going through tough times and making tough decisions," Bilton said. "Where I grew up, we have a lot of dirt roads. Dirt roads have always been a place where you could just get away and think about things.
Bilton said his main supporter is his wife, Brandy Tanner Bilton.
For more information, check out www.shawnbiltonmusic.com,www.facebook.com/shawnbiltonmusic and youtube.com/shawnbilton.
Bilton is also available to perform at various functions. To request him for an event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Konstantin Vengerowski
The Sumter Item - Newspaper