Last March, LSU alumnus Travis Ewing had America “saying his name.”
A year later, patrons flock to bars and restaurants in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, to hear the R&B musician perform.
Since his rendition of the hit Destiny’s Child song “Say My Name” on NBC’s national singing competition, “The Voice,” put the Lafayette native’s name on the forefront, Ewing is becoming more integrated to the music scene in Charleston.
Ewing first made his mark as a musician playing at hot spots around Baton Rouge such as Bogie’s, Mike’s and Fred’s starting in 2011. While studying marketing at LSU, Ewing performed up to a few times a week until accepting a job in Charleston in 2014.
His Baton Rouge following didn’t move to Charleston with him, though, and more established musicians overshadowed his name until his blind audition, which sits north of 2.7 million views on YouTube, aired on the hit NBC show in February 2015.
“As soon as the show aired, I immediately included that into my email pitch,” Ewing said. “It was the first one I sent after the show aired. They immediately said, ‘We’d love to have you.’?”
Ewing’s stint on “The Voice” included personalized sessions with artists Pharrell Williams, Blake Shelton, Lionel Richie and Nate Ruess.
Ewing said he received invaluable advice from the judges that carries more weight and seems more impactful coming from multi-platinum recording artists and Grammy winners.
“[Pharrell] stopped us at one point and he came up to me and he said, ‘What you have is great. Never forget that,’?” Ewing said. “That definitely stuck with me.”
The 25-year-old musician’s life has settled down since his brief foray into stardom, but it still impacts him today. After all, it was the key that opened the door to Charleston’s music scene for him.
To date, he plays a couple shows a month during the winter, and he’s booked as often as every week during the warmer months.
Ewing’s set list includes a long list of covers he enjoys playing with a few originals mixed in, and he still plays the fan favorite from “The Voice,” “Say My Name.”
“I’ve got an iPad full of songs I can play for five hours if I need to,” he said. “Once I mention I’m about to play a song that was my blind audition, they freak out. They love that.”
His sister, Sydney, who is an All-American on the LSU gymnastics team, remembers him practicing all the time growing up.
“He had an electric guitar stage,” she said. “It was annoying sometimes, but we always supported him. It’s so awesome to see how much his hard work has paid off.”
Ewing hopes recording an EP, for which he has four original songs already written, expands his fan base and have larger venues and music festivals vying for his talents, but that’s a project for another day.
For now, he’s focused on furthering his professional career at a marketing firm where he started working in January.
His full-time job is the priority for the time being, but he said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity if someone discovered him playing at a bar and asked him to sign a record deal.
“Obviously, that’s my passion,” he said. “But making it — actually making it — is like capturing lightning in a bottle.“