Feeling the Music

Student musician Seth Owens puts his faith and relationships in his acoustic-style songs

by Peter Duell

Whitworth junior Seth Owens began singing in sixth grade and hasn’t stopped since. Owens recently played a set opening for Tyrone Wells at Whitworth on Feb. 27, which continued his nine-year involvement in music.

“I started singing in sixth grade, prompted by a school musical production,” Owens said.  “I started playing guitar in eighth grade so that I could join my church worship team.”

Owens writes his own lyrics and music (and does some covers when he plays concerts), but he didn’t begin writing his acoustic-style music as soon as he started singing. In fact, he didn’t intend to write until he had a reason.

“I started actually writing music in ninth grade because I had some thoughts that I felt might be useful to share,” Owens said.  “My journey of faith and relationship with God are definitely the biggest influence on my songwriting.”

Owens places high  value in people and his relationships with them. Those who are close to him make this evident.

“Seth is the epitome of a good dude,” junior Ethan Johnson, one of Owens’ housemates said. “He cares a lot about the people in his life. He is very intentional with his music. His messages reflect what he believes.”

The people who are closest to him inspire Owens in his songwriting and music.

“Each of the members of my immediate family have been inspirations for songs,” Owens said.  “Also, my girlfriend, Mikyah, has been the theme of four or so of the 15 originals that I still perform. I write and perform to encourage people to think about where they are in life.”

Owens performs on campus, in coffee houses and in other small, personal venues. Owens said he prefers small, personal atmospheres.

“Seth is very relaxed and humble at shows,” Johnson said. “He always talks to the crowd and is very thankful of the audience and those who helped him with the show.”

Personal spaces allow an artist to interact with an audience in a way that large venues can’t. They allow the musician to know the audience and dig deeper than just musical notes and lyrics.

“I don’t really feel like I’m in the spotlight,” Owens said. “I’ve only played Whitworth shows and at a few coffee shops and community events. I hope that the questions and statements in my songs prompt people to set aside, for a moment, the trivial concerns of daily life and consider the deeper and more difficult topics of reality.”

Owens is a full-time student at Whitworth, majoring in marketing and minoring in Spanish. He plays shows during the year, but they tend to be sporadic. The last time he performed was at Whitworth and he is already planning his schedule for next fall.

As of now, he said his next show isn’t scheduled until September, where he will play at the University of Idaho.

“I hope to play at local venues throughout this spring and summer though,” Owens said. “My performance schedule is pretty random.”

The biggest struggle for him is one that many, if not all, musicians face as they first get started. The population is simply unaware of him and his music.

“I’ll have two shows in the same week and then none for a month or more,” Owens said.  “I’d like to play shows as often as possible, but it’s hard when your name isn’t quite recognizable in town.”

Owens has, however, played in the Spokane area with some established musicians.

“I’ve opened for Tyrone Wells and Matt & Toby [of Emery],” Owens said.  “I’ve played in and with small bands, such as Lucky Tongue and ThirstyperfecT. Most of my music experience has been either on my own or with a worship team for the church my parents pastor in Coeur d’ Alene.”

An album is currently in the works for Owens. He said he already has some very basic recordings, but now wants to make a higher quality album.

Owens is a musician, but looking into the future he places something that he sees as more important before his music.

“My greatest ambition for the future, though, is to be a good husband and father,” he said. “As a career, I want to be a marriage and family counselor after receiving my master’s degree in that discipline. I’ll always have music, but I do not foresee it being a full-time gig.”

Contact Peter Duell at pduell16@my.whitworth.edu

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