Eric Sowers works at his parents' business in Sycamore, but he also has been making a name for himself on the local music scene.
A Mohawk High School graduate, he completed a degree in arts administration earlier this year at Tiffin University.
Having grown up with country music, Sowers was influenced by country artists such as Eric Church, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, songwriter Thomas Rhett and especially Justin Moore.
Sowers developed a deeper interest in music during his senior year of high school. He started learning guitar and was cast in the school musical. Sowers also sang at weddings and at his church in Sycamore.
While at TU, Sowers sang in the choir for a short time and took a guitar class. It was his first formal music instruction.
"I really don't have any musical background. I don't know where it came from," Sowers said. "About two years ago, I started playing out acoustically."
Sowers' first venue was Sonny Jack's in New Riegel. In early 2011, Sowers wrote his first song, "The Tailgate," which he entered into the "Dodge Ram Battle of the Bands." The song finished eighth out of 50 other original songs.
Other compositions have followed.
"I have six or eight that I play out. I try to write as much as I can, but it's not always something that I want to play out," Sowers said.
In Seneca County, he has performed at Shell Shuckers, Field of Dreams Drive-In and New Riegel Moose. He also played in Forest, the Carey Fest, at venues in Findlay and Port Clinton, for church festivals and private parties.
Friday, Sowers is booked at Clouse's Bar in Bascom, and he is to entertain members of the Seneca Soil and Water Conservation District and the Seneca County Farm Bureau for their combined annual meeting Wednesday at the Opportunity Center. Sept. 15, he is to sing the national anthem at the Wyandot County Fair.
Sowers wanted to find another musician to add more sound to his performances. He was referred to Chase Dull of Tiffin. The pair appeared together at the All Saints Parish Festival last weekend.
"That was actually the first time we ever played out anywhere. We've been practicing probably two months," Sowers said.
He is constantly entering singing competitions with reasonable success, making the Top 100 in the 2013 Ohio Idol.
This past January, Sowers auditioned in Chicago with about 5,000 other singers for "The Voice." He said about 5,000 people waited in line for about four hours. For the tryouts, groups of 10 people were taken into a room with one judge. Each person sang a verse and a chorus of a song, a cappella. Although no one in his group made it to the next round, Sowers called it a good experience. He plans to do more competitions.
"I was also involved in the contest at the country concert. I won the karaoke contest at the Bear's Den. Last year, I got runner-up. The winner got to open on the main stage for the main act," Sowers said.
Having interned with MLAD in Tiffin, Sowers has been looking for employment in advertising and graphic design with firms in Tennessee, the heart of the country music business. While the job hunt continues, he will be booking appearances for the coming months.