Dreams can become Reality
by Johnny Weeks | August 9, 2019 11:41 am
Last Updated: August 9, 2019 at 11:43 am
Children everywhere have dreams and fantasies about what they want to be when they “grow up”. Some aspire to be firefighters, police officers, doctors, and nurses. Others may want to be astronauts, soldiers, or veterinarians. For some, their dreams vary widely from the norm, and want to be performers on stage. Shawn Bilton was one of those kids.
Shawn grew up in Manning with his younger sister, Shannon, and raised by their parents, Kenny and Anna Bilton. Shawn credits his father’s job at the local radio station as being the catalyst for his love of music.
“My dad worked at Wheels 92.5 FM (WHLZ) radio station in Manning when I was very young,” said Shawn. “I loved listening to the music that he played on the radio, and learned to sing along with many of my favorites. One of my favorite singers who I still enjoy listening to was Travis Tritt. I actually got to meet him when I was seven years old. He was at a fair at the Exchange Park in Ladson, a radio concert event. I was completely in awe.”
Shawn graduated from Manning High School in 2000, then enrolled for classes at University of South Carolina where he earned his Associates degree in Business Management. He then earned his Bachelor’s degree in Finance at Limestone College in Gaffney. Shawn and his wife, Brandy, live at Pawley’s Island, with their young son, Jax. Shawn works as a real estate agent in the beach area, and has done so for the past five years.
“I started concentrating on country music in 2013,” said Shawn. “I would perform anywhere that I could to try to be seen as much as possible. Gradually, the gigs got better and better. I have played several times at the House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach, and various resorts around all over the Grand Strand. We have performed at Wild Wing Cafe and countless festivals throughout South Carolina. The local radio station, Gator 107.9, also calls when they have an event.” Shawn says that over the past year, he has become friends with other musicians in the beach area. Together, they form a band as needed to perform at the various venues.
Shawn and his fellow musicians have performed at the Carolina Country Music Festival (CCMF), an annual event held in North Myrtle Beach. Shawn has been the opening act for very popular musicians, such as Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Thomas Rhett and many more. Shawn says that he has appeared at the festival for the last four years. The different bands are on stages all over the property and rotate to other stages throughout the event, usually performing twice a day.
Shawn writes his own music and also collaborates with two other musicians with whom he has found success in the past. He recently released “This Dirt Road” and “Turn the Radio On”. Although he loves writing and performing his own songs, he still enjoys singing today’s hits that belong to other musicians. He loves to see the crowd get energized and enjoy the show.
“We have been really busy in the studio lately,” said Shawn. “ We just finished two more songs, and have a few more still in progress. I hope to get the next album out this fall, or early spring.”
Shawn’s next big music adventure will be in November. The owners of CCMF have organized an event called Carolina Country Music Cruise. Shawn was hired to perform on the cruise, which is from November 16-21. The cruise will go from Charleston to the Bahamas. Musicians such as Lee Brice, Cole Swindell, Chris Lane and many more are on the schedule to perform.
“My dreams to become a country music performer are consistently growing with each new experience,” said Shawn. “These amazing people in this industry are the most down to earth friendly people ever, willing to listen and give advice. We are gearing up for the music cruise next month, and always looking forward to the CC Music Festival next year at North Myrtle Beach. We will also be performing at the Island Bar & Grill on August 16 in Pawley’s Island, and at the Tin Roof on August 20 in Myrtle Beach. I would love to see familiar faces from Manning in the crowd.”