Q&A with local artist Seth Witcher

Cloud+9+releases+Nov.+12.+

“Cloud 9” releases Nov. 12.

Rylee Dang, Features Editor

When he finally worked up the courage to sing in front of family when he was young, singer-songwriter Seth Witcher was faced not with support, but with laughter and ridicule. After holding back from singing for years, he took a leap of faith, bursting into the music scene with powerful force in just four years. 

Music defines a part of the Parkland graduate’s life, who has taken his playing more seriously in the past few years, performing in spots around the Lehigh Valley with his self-described “alt-rock/pop” style. Witcher, now 22, began playing when he was 6 years old, then began writing his own songs two years later, using the internet to teach himself guitar and starting voice lessons. Since then, he has worked to self-produce numerous singles and music videos, releasing them on Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, and YouTube. Witcher performed at Pedro’s Cafe in Emmaus on Nov. 4 as a part of a new Thursday night live music program running from November until December, and will play in Bethlehem at the Christkindlmarkt on Nov. 19 at 2:30 p.m.

Stinger: How did you first get into music?

Witcher: I’ve always been into music and [when] I started writing my own songs, I remember I sang a song I wrote to a family member of mine when I was really little and they laughed at me and they told me I should, like, never sing again. And so, I didn’t sing. I didn’t sing for like 10-plus years. So, in high school I was the guitar guy, so in the morning before classes I would always be out in the hallway playing the guitar but I would never sing. Then, during my senior year I was accepted into a talent show called Mr. Parkland. Around the time I started in coffee shops, coffeehouses, and their open mics there and I realized that makes me happy and I love singing. So, I kind of got over that fear of singing that I had kind of fostered from when I was really little at that point, and I decided to just, not care if people like how I sound or not. 

Stinger: What is it like for you to go from that, to stepping on the stage for one of your earlier performances?

Witcher: Yeah, so my very first show was in a bar. I was like, 18 and this is my first show on my own… I was in a bar for a three-hour show and I was really nervous… I almost got kicked out of the bar because I sounded so bad–people were booing me and stuff. But even though I was nervous, the way I’ve always kind of lived my life is like just jumping headfirst into things and just going, because I believe I can do anything I set my mind to. So for me, I feel like the best way I can learn is to just get my hands dirty and get in there. So that’s what I did. That was my attitude with music. So I performed that first show, you know, I made it out alive, and after that, I was like, “Okay, this is it.” I just kept getting shows after that. I kept searching for bars and restaurants that wanted live music and I wanted to play, and I kind of learned how to get better at singing and playing places like that. 

Stinger: What is the story behind you making your guitar from scratch?

Witcher: So I built this when I was in high school… [In] one of the engineering courses towards the very end of your high school career you could build your own guitar. You know, I was always into music, so I was like, “I’ve got to build my own guitar.” So the story of how I got this guitar is crazy. So I got into class and–it was like a woodshop class– and the professor was like, “Hey, guys, so here’s the deal. You might not even make a guitar because it takes so long to finish it. A lot of students barely finished their guitar this semester. So you’ve got to work your butt off.” So now imagine. I’m working on this guitar, I’m making computer codes and stuff like that for the machine to cut it out, and I’m envisioning the woods I want for it and everything. It’s totally custom. Then a quarter through the semester, I’m working on my guitar and the machine is cutting out the body of the guitar. Long story short… the machine crashed, like the computer crashed, and all the codes that I had were lost. So basically what that means is that there was no way for me to recover that code, and my guitar was ruined. So with three-fourths of the semester left… I started from scratch. I was a senior at this point, so every day I would go down to woodshop maybe three, four times a day… I would go into my normal classes, I take a quiz real quick, and then I go to my shop class for 20 minutes to work on the guitar. And then during lunch I would eat inside the shop class and work on my guitar. I was just going in. It was cool because I had a cool relationship with the teachers that they let me do that, but like I was skipping classes and just working on my guitar. So literally all I did all day every single day was work on this guitar, and I finally made it before the semester was over. I finished it and this is my baby. 

Stinger: You talk about “diving in headfirst” a lot. Was there a certain role model who taught you that or have you developed that mindset yourself?

Witcher: It is going to sound kind of, whatever, but I don’t really have a traditional idea of a hero. A lot of people, they think of celebrities or something like that, and “that person is my hero.” Honestly, my hero is my dad. He’s like the hardest working person I know, and he’s done everything he can do for our family. I think the reason why I have the mindset that I have, just diving into things, is my parents. They told me when I was younger [that] I can do anything I want to do, I can be whatever I want to be, I can do anything. I feel like that kind of set me up for success. My mind is open and nobody can tell me what I can and can’t do, because I know I can do anything, but, that’s because my parents told me I could. 

Stinger: What has been your biggest accomplishment in your career so far?

Witcher: My biggest accomplishment [would] probably have to be the people who come up to me and they tell me I changed their life. That is the biggest thing for me. The thought that my heart and my music can touch somebody in such a way that they come up to me in tears, talking about how my music is relieving pain for them, or help them see life in a different way, is just really humbling. I feel like that is in essence my dream. I want to be mainstream, not for me, but I want to be mainstream for other people. I feel like my music has the potential to really change hearts and help people see the light. I feel like I have a voice to kind of spread that message, and for people who come up to me and tell me that my music has changed their life, I mean, I don’t think there’s a better feeling than that.

Stinger: What was your inspiration behind your latest release?

Witcher: Yeah, so the song is called “Cloud 9,” and in my mind, the song is about loving yourself, and what happens when you don’t. In my life, I’ve had emotional breakdowns before, and they happen because I didn’t pay attention to myself, how I was feeling, and [my] negative emotions kind of built up to the point where they exploded. I feel like that is relatable for a lot of people. I feel like a lot of people have had emotional breakdowns and it’s not fun. You know, you’re laughing and crying and yelling all at the same time and you’re angry. With my music I really, I’m not afraid to be vulnerable… So that’s why this song is called “Cloud 9.” It’s releasing this Friday, it will be everywhere. I’m going to be dropping it with a music video that I’ve been working on for like four or five months… but I made the music video myself. So I’m really excited to kind of like release that, and just like show everybody what I’ve been working on, a lot of what I’ve been releasing, and what I’m going to be releasing. 

Stinger: Anything else to add?

Witcher: Honestly, the only thing I want people to know is I’m gonna take the world by storm, and you can’t stop me. 

Witcher’s music is available on Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud.