Gilman Flash Bio
(Thanks to Ivan Kotlianik)
Billy Gilman Bio Info
A good sense of humor, a strong
sense of one's identity and great survival instincts are
among the hallmarks of maturity. Those are a few of the
qualities that saw Billy Gilman through
the transitional years; from child star to what seemed like
a lifetime out of the spotlight, and back into the studio
to record not just the next chapter, but what might be a
whole new book for the 18 year old artist. Gilman released
"Billy Gilman" on September 5, 2006 on the Image
Entertainment imprint, and for the young singer, the 12-song
disc has been a long time coming.
"When this new CD comes out,
I will be 18," says Gilman, who celebrated that landmark
birthday on May 24. "Because I have been out of the spotlight
since I was 13 or 14, this new record may take some people
by surprise. I know for many, I am sort of flash frozen
in time in their minds - a little 11 year old kid. But a
lot went on in my world in those seven years, lots of changes,
adjusting and waiting. At the time, the waiting seemed almost
like it would never end. But now, looking back, I see that
time off was one of the best things that could have happened
to me. It taught me patience and it taught me to value this
business even more."
Gilman was forced to take that time off because
of a very natural development. His voice began changing.
And because he was in serious danger of permanently damaging
his vocal chords if he maintained the current pace, he reluctantly
followed doctor's orders and allowed Mother Nature to take
his course. That he had to do so at the height of success
was sheer frustration.
He burst on the national scene in 2000 with the
big voice, commanding stage presence and behind the scenes
poise of a seasoned performer. He soon had a hit record
with the compelling ballad "One Voice," and at 11-years-old
became the youngest person to place a single on Billboard
magazine's country single chart, edging out previous title-holder
Brenda Lee. In four weeks the album was certified gold and
Gilman became the youngest country artist to score a gold
album. Within three months, Gilman became a music industry
phenomenon with a platinum-selling debut album, making him
the youngest solo artist in ANY genre of music to achieve
a platinum-selling album.
"I really had no idea what the music industry was
about," he says of being thrust into the spotlight after
landing a deal with Sony Nashville. "When the record went
to No. 1, I was just flabbergasted. I really was because
I didn't expect a little kid to be taken that seriously.
It was great how they welcomed me. I was just stunned."
Gilman went on to record four
albums for Sony Nashville. In the fall of 2000, he released
"Classic Christmas" and it joined "One Voice" in the top
ten of the country albums chart. He was voted the American
Music Awards' favorite new country artist, becoming the
youngest contender to ever win that prize. In May 2001,
Sony issued Gilman's third project, "Dare to Dream," which
is also certified gold.
Though a youngster, Gilman showed admirable creative courage in releasing "Music Through Heartsongs," a concept album of songs based on the work of young poet Mattie Stepanek, who died in 2004 after a lengthy battle with muscular dystrophy.
And now, after a four-year break,
Gilman is beginning to navigate the tricky waters leading
from teen stardom to mature artist - the same territory
previously visited by numerous other child stars with varying
degrees of success.
Gilman pokes fun at that journey
and the glare of the celebrity spotlight on "Billy the Kid,"
the opening cut of his new album. "There are some people
out there that are saying, 'Oh Billy Gilman's done!' Well,
I'm not," he says with an amused and rather defiant laugh.
"It's like Toby Keith -- they all thought he was done and
he came out with 'How Do You Like Me Now?' You know what
I mean? This song definitely speaks volumes, especially
for me because it's more than just a song; it is my life.
It says 'The price of fame is on my head/Can't shoot down
old Billy The Kid.' "
Gilman entered the studio this
time around a more self-assured young vocalist. "The last
record I was still coming out of the voice change," says
Gilman of 2005's "Everything and More," his debut set on
Image. "On this one, I felt comfortable. I could do so much
more with my voice. I could belt really hard and bring it
down really soft, where I couldn't do that before. I find
my voice bigger than it was. My other voice was very high.
Now my voice sounds very big and belty. So it's definitely
different, but it has a lot of the same qualities that it
had, only richer."
Gilman's newly matured voice
has drawn comparisons to Vince Gill because of his clarity
of tone and pure quality. It's a voice that could find success
in any genre of music, but Gilman says his heart has always
been in country. "It speaks about truth," he says of his
love for country music.
"This is the first record that
there are no outright pop songs on it. There have been pop
songs on every record I've done. This is the first record
that I think really says that I'm a country artist. There
are fiddles and steel guitar. I love country music. This
is going back to my roots because I've missed it. Country
music is my first love. Country music is what I want to
do and hopefully this record shows that. Hopefully it moves
you and touches you in some way."
Gilman says his last album featured
songs that were more inspirational in nature because they
conveyed messages he wanted to sing and because, frankly,
the lyrics were age appropriate. No one wants to hear a
young teen singing lyrics that deal with mature subject
matter. On his new set, however, Gilman says he's finally
able to tackle different topics. "With this record, I finally
said, 'Okay, now we get to come out of that little box.'
I can sing about relationships, not necessarily love, but
relationships because 18-year-olds have relationships."
The new album was produced by Sandy Linzer, who wrote most of the record especially for Gilman. "We spent hours and hours talking about the songs, and the sort of subjects I wanted to sing about, as well as the more country musical direction," says Gilman. Among the tunes, Linzer penned for Gilman is the classic-sounding "Let Me Remind You Again."
"He wrote a killer in 'Let Me
Remind You Again,' " says Gilman. "He played it to me over
the phone and it was all crackly because he was on his cell
phone, but even so I had goose bumps because the song is
just everything I hoped for. It sounds like Patsy Cline
or Ray Price, songs they would perform in a heartbeat. So
it was great to see the versatility in his writing."
Gilman fulfills a longtime dream
on this record as Pam Tillis lends her talents as a special
guest on the song "Almost Over (Getting Over You)." Gilman
has been a huge Tillis fan for years. His first performance
was at five years old when he sang the Tillis hit "Don't
Tell Me What to Do" at a school talent show. "Pam Tillis
is why I started singing," he says. "I saw her on a television
special for Sea World and my mother thought, 'Being a kid,
he'll love the whales and dolphins.' I didn't like the dolphins
and whales at all. I loved Pam Tillis!"
Gilman began playing fairs,
festivals and other events near his Rhode Island home. When
he was only eight years old, someone passed a demo along
to Asleep at the Wheel frontman Ray Benson, who shared Gilman's
music with Martina McBride. "Within a month, I was on stage
with her, singing at our local fair when she came to town,"
recalls Gilman. "I was singing 'Broken Wing' with her band,
the first time I'd ever performed with a live band. It was
just so unbelievable. Then I went down to Ray's studio in
Texas and recorded two songs. He sent them to Nashville
and in December of the following year I had my contract
through Sony Records."
What followed has been an incredible
ride and during that journey Billy Gilman has matured from
a talented, precocious child to a gifted vocalist who knows
who he is and what kind of music he wants to make. "I was
used to other people making decisions for me," he says of
his childhood career. "Now 10 years later, I look at the
pros and cons of different situations. What's the positive
aspect? What are the negatives? I take more things into
consideration. I think it's growing up. I don't take things
for granted as much either. I know how fragile your career
is. I know how fragile your vocal chords are. I grew up
and respect everything more."
Billy Gilman management, publicity, label and webmaster contacts
Youngest performer in
history to chart - May 22, 2000 - Billy becomes the youngest
soloist ever to appear on Billboard's Country charts, breaking
Brenda Lee's record (1957), with his debut single 'One Voice.'
First #1 Single - In the same week, Billy's debut
album is released, his first single soars to #1 on the Billboard
Country Singles Sales Chart on June 19, 2000 and stays there
for 5 weeks, making more Chart history.
Released on June 20, Billy's first album takes a
giant leap onto the Billboard Country Album Chart at #4,
making Billy the youngest ever country soloist to break
the Top 5, and only the third artist in history to have
their first album debut that high on the charts - June 28,
Next Big Thing, 'One Voice' goes Gold - July 19,
2000 - In just 4 weeks, 'One Voice' is certified Gold, and
Billy becomes the youngest country artist ever to have a
Billy is Platinum - September 12, 2000 - Twelve weeks
to the day of its release, Billy's 'One Voice' album receives
Platinum certification from the RIAA, signifying One Million
albums shipped. Billy is the youngest solo artist EVER,
in any type of music, to be certified Platinum.
November 13, 2000 - With both Billy's 'One Voice'
and 'Classic Christmas' albums in Billboard's Top 10, and
a combined sales of about 65,000 per week, Billy is the
biggest selling artist in Country music at the end of November
and beginning of December.
The Daily Variety names Billy as one of the Top 10
Youths in Entertainment.
Billy's second Gold album for 'One Voice' - December
Billy's 'Classic Christmas' Album is certified Gold.
Grammy Nomination - January 3, 2001 - Youngest solo
artist ever to receive a Grammy nomination.
Blockbuster Award Nomination - January 28, 2001.
Billy is been nominated for 'Favorite Male - New
Artist' - Academy of Country Music Awards Nominations -
February 27, 2001 - Billy is the youngest artist to be nominated
in ACMA history.
Billy is nominated for Top New Male Vocalist, Album
of the Year ('One Voice') and Song of the Year ('One Voice').
TNN Country Weekly Awards Nominations - March 19,
2001 - Billy is nominated for The Fast Track Award and The
'One Voice' goes Gold in Canada - June 9, 2001.
Billy wins the AMA for 'Favorite New Country Artist'
becoming the youngest to ever win that award. Billy also
performed 'One Voice' and received a standing ovation.
May 8, 2001, Billy's third CD 'Dare to Dream' is
released and goes Gold.
June 13, 2001 - TNN & CMT Country Weekly Discovery
Award Winner - along with an amazing performance and giving
out an award during the TNN & CMT Country Weekly Music Awards,
Billy wins the Discovery Award.
April 15, 2003 - Billy releases his fourth CD called
'Music through Heartsongs' based on the Poems of Mattie
Stepanek, a 13-year old boy with MD. Billy becomes an MDA
spokeperson and co-hosts The Jerry Lewis Telethon.
May 3, 2005 - Billy releases his fifth CD, 'Everything
December, 2005 - Billy wins New Music Weekly's 'Country Single of the Year 2005'
September 5, 2006 - Billy releases his sixth CD, 'Billy Gilman.'
Name: William Wendell Gilman III
Height: Approx. 5'7"
Eye Color: Blue
Hair Color: Blond
Birthdate: May 24, 1988
Birthplace: Westerly, Rhode Island
Hometown: Hope Valley/Richmond, RI
Pets: Zoe (Cat), Wizzer (Dog)
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Country Songs: 'If You've Got Leavin' on
by Loretta Lynn, 'Cryin' by Roy Orbison
Favorite Female Singers: Pam Tillis,
Martina McBride, Avril Lavigne
Favorite Male Singers: Jon Bon Jovi,
Marc Anthony, Tim McGraw, Bread
Favorite Magazines: People and Billboard
Favorite School Subject: Language Arts
Favorite Foods: K.F.C, pasta with anything except
Favorite Movies: 'Grumpier Old Men,'
'The Perfect Storm,' 'Just Married'
Favorite Actors: Tom Hanks, Walter Matthau
Favorite Actresses: Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts
Favorite Books: 'Falling Up' by Shel Silverstein,
'The Hobbit' by J.R.R. Tolkien
Favorite Sports Teams: New York Mets, Nashville Predators
Favorite Sports to Play: Baseball, Basketball
What he does with his free time: Sing, sing, sing,
go to the movies, rollerblade