Interview Feature With Singer Songwriter Seth Glier
Seth Glier is a unique multifaceted artist. A singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, he has a passion for his craft that is undeniable. Known for his profound storytelling, his music lures listeners in. Glier’s latest single “If It Wasn’t For You” features warm vocals floating atop gentle drums and glistening guitar. A song inspired by activist Malala Yousafzai, “If It Wasn’t For You” is an ode to forgiveness, tenacity and moving forward. Whytt Magazine interviewed Glier, discussing the song’s motivational message, video and more.
Malala Yousafzai’s has an incredible story. She won a Nobel Piece Prize and is a true champion for women’s education. Your latest single “If It Wasn’t For You” is inspired by her empowering tale of transforming pain into gratitude. What prompted you to write a song with Malala Yousafzai as the driving force for its message?
SG: It was her reaction to trauma that I found so inspiring. When asked in an interview, what would you say to the members of the tailiban who tried to kill you she said that she would thank them for giving her the platform she has. It was her acknowledgment that what happened to her now belongs to her and to deny someone else compassion and love is to deny yourself the same. I saw her forgiveness as a radical act.
Mister Rogers did this thing that I do at my shows (back when that use to happen) where he asks you to think about someone in your life who has always allowed the good to grow out of you. Without this person in your life, you would be a completely different individual. We can easily think of our mom, music teacher, sibling, coach or a friend but sometimes it’s actually the tension in a relationship that transforms me. I wanted to try and capture that….while disguising it as a love song.
The video for “If It Wasn’t For You” features a roller derby team battling it out on the rink. Describe the creative process when developing this video?
SG: As corny as it sounds, the idea of a roller derby team came from a morning meditation. This was actually pretty early in the process. The song was written but we had not starting tracking it yet. I had a beat on my OP1 when writing it but it wasn’t good enough to hold the whole song together. I actually called my producer, Ryan Hommel, and said I got this idea that we’re making this track for a video that doesn’t exist yet. I thought the physicality of the derby sport would lean into the violence of trauma. I also though the light heartedness of the team would offer some contrast to the heavy subject matter. The Albany All Stars were so so wonderful to collaborate with. Their strength, resilience, and all around fun they show in the video is so awesome.
Who are some of your influences? Both musically and in life?
SG: Musically, I love the classic 70s songwriters, Carole King, Randy Newman, Harry Nillson, Jackson Browne. I love where songwriting and social justice meet. I love the storytelling during this time of music. Lately I’ve been really digging everything James Blake does. I’m also into early hip hop and trying to incorporate more samples into my music making
IN my life I often cite my brother Jamie as being one of my greatest non musical influences. He was born with autism and lived his life completely non verbal. He taught me more about how to communicate with words than just about anyone else. My parents where also incredible advocates fro his care so I think they instilled a sense that music too should be a form of service. Songs should bolding speak for those who can’t. Microphones should amplify the voices they all too frequently get overlooked or downed out
SG: Yes, they so much fun! I’m doing a series that I’m calling “Pandemic Parties” for members of my Patreon page. For as little as $5 you get all sorts of access to what I’m creating and also access to these Parties. I did a gospel brunch one week and all of the little mermaid a few weeks ago. It’s a blast to connect with folks this way and I really cherish the opportunity to help pass the days. Also platforms like this are really helping musicians make it though a time without touring.
Your song has such a positive message, any words of encouragement you can leave our readers with?
SG: Unfortunately we’re all going to need a lot more than just positive encouragement. However, my mother in law sent me an Echarht Tolle video this morning and something he said resonated with me.
“The most vital thing in any situation is the state of consciences in which you meet the situation.”
I’ve been balancing trying to stay informed and trying to remain sane and without the ravaging bear of fear rolling through my heart. This is a nice reminder to remain calm and stay creative.