I present the following interview I conducted with Sean Creighton, songwriter. Be prepared for lots of interesting things to follows. It was a great time interviewing Sean. He is very pleasant and comfortable to be around. Sean has been a performing artist since his youth and writes, sings and plays his instruments as her performs all his own songs. His original music and free performances are enjoyed by fans all across the globe and he has gained a huge following in China where he gives street performances to his adoring fans. Sean travels extensively for his work for the FDA and writes and performs music after hours, wherever he is the world, to make one other person smile.
Q: When did you first become interested in music and how old were you when you began to play an instrument?
A: I remember my brother and I shared a bedroom as kids and we would lie in bed listening to music before we went to bed. I remember the night Elvis Presley died we listened to his music late, late into the night.
I did not pick up the guitar until I was 18 years old. I was fortunate to meet some great, local, musicians in Portland, Maine, where I was living at the time, and every night after work and every weekend someone would be out on the street or on a roof top playing guitar and singing. Soon all my friends played guitar so that was one of our favorite pastimes. I remember the first songs we wrote were really bad with not-so-great lyrics but we loved to play them over and over again. We had many great nights playing guitar to wee hours of the morning. Good times. One of those songs, “Silver Ship” which I improved the lyrics and the song structure to in 2019/2020 is one of my most popular songs to play when I live stream. It is often requested by fans in China, France and Poland.
Q: What is the first instrument you learned to play and when did you begin playing other instruments and what were they?
A: I started to play guitar when I was 18 and bass guitar in a local band where we played for hours in cellars and attics. I also learned how to play the piano briefly but I could not make the jump, at that time to be able to create my own songs, like I could on guitar. Even after I took one semester in college of piano which was taught by a great classical musician, I did very well, but I could not make the jump to improvise on the piano and to create my own songs. It was not until 2020 that I took songwriting piano lessons and within 3 days I had written a song. I found a spectacular teacher, Naomi Bruette, in Missouri, USA whom I started virtual piano lessons with, with the sole goal of writing songs. Our goal was that within three months I would be able to write a piano song. What actually happed was, that within 3 days I had written my first song and completed it by the next weekly lesson. The song was “I Miss You Like Crazy”. Now, one year later I have written 6 piano songs. I feel this is incredible and it always amazes me. Naomi pushes me each week to another level. I know look at my hands play on the piano and I cannot believe my eyes. I never thought I would be able to create a piano song. And now whenever I livestream people ask me to play my piano songs. It is very emotional actually and I have to stop myself from becoming to emotional while livestreaming a song I may get into.
To me the piano talks to me like the guitar does but in a different way. On the piano the melody jumps out at me and makes me smile, on the guitar I can push it more and eat into the guitar in aggressive leads while going in and out of the melody but for some reason playing the melody in a song on the piano always makes me smile. I can see and feel the notes in my head when playing.
I began playing ukulele in 2019 as well and within one day I had written my song called, “Sitting in the Sun all Day” which is often requested for me to play in my livestream. I knew in one day why George Harrison loved the ukulele. It is so much fun to play and it makes you smile. Especially the smallest Ukulele.
I also play a bit of percussion, bass guitar and some mandolin, but not daily.
Q: When did you start singing? Did you start out first performing covers from other bands?
A: When I started singing it was really bad. I loved to sing but I could not stay on pitch and then about 17 years ago I took singing lessons from a real, old school, professional in Boca Raton Florida. I told her about my problem with staying on pitch. We tried a lesson and she gave me some homework to do and I also found some apps for my phone which worked on pitch correction. I went back the next week and she was so happy she was jumping up and down. She told me that she thought for sure that she could not help me because in the first lesson I could not hear the differences in pitch, but by the second lesson I had improved. We sang all the old standards. It was a great time and she was a very dedicated teacher. But, my major breakthrough in singing happened in 2019 when my French friend, Sylviane Bourgeois, a French kids book author, was pushing me to improve my vocals to match my improved song writing and instrument playing skills. She always pushes me to improve. So, then I found Valerie Bastien, a Toronto, Canada vocal coach who I tried and after one virtual lesson people could hear the difference. Valerie has perfect pitch and says she can see the colors when someone is singing. She helped me sing from the correct spot in my body, if that makes sense. So, the sound is not coming from my nasal area but the chest. We primarily work on tone, pushing my voice back so it is not nasal, vocal control, phrasing and some pitch correction. And Valerie loves to work on my songs, which is what we do in every lesson after vocal exercise and warm up. The pitch correction is now, primarily, me remembering the melody as I write and play so many songs it is hard to remember the melody well for some of my songs. I still take lessons from Valerie once a month as she is a totally dedicated teacher and has helped me a great deal improve my voice. The funny thing is the less I do, the less effort I make, the better my voice sounds. This is my repeated lesson. For example, when I get excited and start singing louder and with more effort my vocal tone suffers quite rapidly. When I sing with little effort it sounds much better.
Q: When did you first compose music and lyrics and what was your first song?
A: I composed my first song in Maine. It was called “Silver Ship” which I improved the lyrics, melody and song structure of in 2019. It is now one of my most requested songs when I live stream. We also wrote some terrible songs. Laugh out loud. I remember one called; “Kennedy Park” written about a bad neighborhood I lived in at the time. I did not revise that one. Some songs are better left as memories. Another blues type song I wrote was called, “booty booty baby girl” which I also revised the melody and song structure of in 2019.
Q: What or who were your main influences that got you interested in music at such a young age?
A: I remember loving Elvis Presly, The Grateful Dead, Walter Trout and Stevie Ray Vaughn whom I had the pleasure to meet the day after I saw him perform in Portland, Maine. I thanked Mr. Vaughn for his performance when he was coming out of a jewelry store in the Old Port, in Portland, Maine. I remember loving BB King and some of Eric Clapton’s stuff and of course me and my brothers loved Led Zeppelin. I think we had all the Led Zeppelin albums and played them a lot. I remember loving Alice Cooper as well.
I saw Steppenwolf, ZZ Top, Jimmy Cliff, Sammy Haggar and the Grateful Dead play live in Portland, Maine, when I was 15 years old. At all these performances I was very close to the stage and it was electric energy. Great memories. Great performers.
Q: Did growing up in Maine make it harder or easier to perform your music?
A: Growing up in Maine was great. I grew up in the country and I spent most of my childhood playing in the woods, climbing trees, biking or playing soccer with my brothers and neighbors. Maine is not an easy place to become popular as a musician as there are not many people. But the people are great and the pace of life is much slower than many places in the USA, so I am glad I grew up there.
Q: Who are your favorite music artists today and who were the ones that first influenced your music style?
A: I guess I would say Walter Trout, whom I have had the pleasure to see play live three times. He becomes one with the guitar when he plays and he can make his voice sore while playing the same notes he sings. His voice becomes one with the single guitar notes he plays. Incredible. He is one of the best guitar players, singers and musicians I have ever seen or been exposed to. It is like magic how his body, guitar and voice become one during his live shows. Very few people can do that and his vocal range sores along with the guitar octaves. He also uses volume sweeps and makes his guitar talk, a little like Jeff Beck but different. He is definitely a top-notch all-around musician, not just an incredible guitar player. I also love Frank Sinatra as my first vocal instructor used many of his songs to instruct me on vocal techniques.
Q: How do you manage the work-life-performing balance and what advice do you offer to others that may want to try music as a hobby?
A: I thank God I have had a great job for the last 25 years. It has allowed me to play my music free on the streets all around the world. My job allows me to bring my travel guitar and amp with me and now I pack a small keyboard as well. I create the work life balance as I am very organized and block out time slots for things in my life, like piano practice and song creation time. I believe 30 minutes a day are far better than trying to cram practice and performing in at certain times, like the weekends. I improve faster by playing frequently. Even if it is playing two songs before I go to bed or on lunch breaks, I will practice my piano for 15 minutes. During afternoon work breaks I will play for 10 to 12 minutes. This type of practice makes me get better faster than marathon type practicing. Of course, there are many, many, occasions where I go to play my piano or guitar for 30 minutes and I look at the clock and 4 hours flew by. That happens a great deal of the time, when I have free time. So, my recommendation to anyone playing music, writing songs or trying to improve on a music instrument is to make a goal of playing 15-30 minutes every single day, no matter what happens in life. It is easy to make sure I play for 15 minutes. And it is always good to have a regular job that pays the bills.
Q: What is your favorite part about performing (e.g. your fans? bringing joy? self expression?)?
A: I smile and laugh all the time. It is SO much fun to play the songs I create. I love taking off on an improvised guitar lead and now I can do that on piano now as well, thanks to my piano teacher, Naomi Bruette. She pushes me every week to improve. Naomi is relentless, which I love, and we have tons of laughs. I also love getting lost in a song which happens frequently when I play live and am relaxed. It becomes so much fun that I lose track of time and where I am and whether there is an audience or not. Also, sometimes my voice is spot on and that is when I really focus on the vocals and ad lib a great deal. Sometimes this is because I am playing in a different room or different area, sometimes it is just life. When I can improvise and relax when I play live that is when I find interesting ways to change up my songs. With perhaps a slower ending or a song becoming very quiet in the middle, or repeating a certain lyric, basically whatever I can improvise on the spot.
Q: We notice that your live performances are interactive and you engage with your audience through various social media platforms! This is awesome and how did you get so savvy with social media? Did you take a class?
A: Well, this I found mostly by trial and error and making mistakes. There are SO many social media marketers on the internet asking to promote my music that I made quite a few mistakes, or many mistakes. I am too honest. So, I lived and learned. Now there is not a week that goes by that someone doesn’t contact me on social media wanting to promote my music. I can spot them fast now and just say no thank you. I then educated myself on social media promotion and followed most all the steps that are recommended. I now use tried and true methods of self-promotion.
I was very fortunate in 2021, in that I found Liptu Das, from Bangladesh, a Google Certified Internet Entrepreneur. He is a true, honest, social media promoter and I have worked with him for many months now. He tells me what to do and shakes his head when I do things he says not to do. I found him on Facebook and video chat with him frequently. I have had to do and continue to do most all the work myself and he uses my outputs for promotion. He pushes me all the time. He has the vision and the knowledge of what to do, when to do it and how to do it. He is a great man. He does push me a lot and sometimes I do whine about that. J He eventually wants to see me on Wikipedia.
There are thousands of songwriters on social media so I am very glad I get a global audience almost every time I live stream. I think perseverance is needed in social media. I can spot fake people and fake fans quite quickly so that helps me so I don’t waste time. I don’t have any great solutions to those trying to get their music out. I just did research and did what the research said to do, and followed Liptu Das’s advice, from Bangladesh.
I am very glad to have interactive fans from dozens of different countries. Some countries I cannot even visit, like Iran and Yemen. From those two countries I get fans showing up to my live stream on multiple occasions so we can break down the political barriers and just have fun together. The fan interactions while livestreaming is very fun. I also get the fans who say, stop interacting and play some songs which is very funny. So sometimes I just play and play.
Q: Where can people all around the world access your music and where can they watch your free concerts?
A: I livestream from seven platforms at the same time. So, anyone can follow me on YouTube, Facebook, TikTok or Instagram and they will get notification when I play live. I also post on Facebook and Instagram in advance of when I play live. I try to post my livestream schedule a few days to a week in advance of when I will perform. But sometimes the notice is shorter.
For social media following: anyone can always visit my website at www.seancreighton.com which has my social media direct links. Whoever follows me I follow them back and try to support them as well. I have met great people over the years. My social media direct links are as follows:
Instagram profile link (seancreighton22)
Facebook business URL:
Below is where you can listen to my songs. I have three songs posted currently to download or stream but this will continue to grow this year as I record and post more of my songs:
Q: Where is the studio you mostly perform from, the one we see during your concerts with all those guitars on the walls?
A: I livestream from my old-style, 70 year old, home, in Hollywood, Florida, USA. I bought this home broken, only the roof and exterior walls were in good condition. I remodeled the entire home and yard by myself over a period of 5 years to include new: tile, kitchen, electric, plumbing, bathrooms, impact window and doors, etc. I am fortunate to be able to build a house as I did carpentry for 5 years in Maine in my late teens and early 20s. I worked with a boss who did everything from roofs, to kitchens to electricity and plumbing.
Q: In several of your concerts you talked about learning to play keyboard and taking voice lessons. Do you continually work on your music like this? What instrument will you pick up next?
A: Yes, I began vocal lessons many years ago and now have a great vocal instructor, Valerie Bastien, in Toronto, Canada, whom I take one virtual lesson per month from now. Valerie focuses on the small things which greatly improve my tone, presentation and pitch. I was fortunate to find such a dedicated vocal coach. I started out with lessons twice a week, then once a week and now once a month. Valerie is a total professional.
I began taking virtual, piano song writing, lessons one year ago from Naomi Bruette, in Missouri, USA. I can’t believe I found Naomi. She is such a great teacher and person. I learn constantly from her and we have a great time during our lessons with many laughs too. I have weekly lessons with Naomi in which I grow every time. She is incredible. We work on my piano skills; melody writing and hone my songs weekly. Naomi is also a vocal teacher so she helps me in that area as well.
I continue to learn on guitar as well online through some great virtual teachers in New Zealand where I can go at my own pace. I have learned a great deal from them these past two years about song structure, putting rhythm and lead together and over all improving my guitar skills and hook creations for my songs.
I am currently in love with playing my piano and guitar so I will not pick up another instrument soon, unless I see one in my global travels that sparks my interest. I also will improve my drum skills to record some more of my songs in mp3 downloadable format (see below for links)
Q: Do you perform at events like weddings and music festivals and how can someone contact you about that?
A: Unfortunately, I do not do this. I often get asked when I am in China to perform privately for someone’s social function or at a five-star hotel, etc. The reason I don’t do this is that I only know how to play and perform the songs that I write. I write so many of my own songs that I cannot keep up. Learning covers takes a great deal of time which I would rather spend performing or creating more songs. I also am not very good at playing other people’s songs. Many performers are very good at this.
Q: Do you come from a family of musicians?
A: No. I can’t remember anyone in my extended family ever playing any musical instrument, and my dad’s family is very big. I think I am the only one who plays.
Q: What are your other hobbies beside performing? Do you like hiking or cooking?
A: I enjoy my life every day. I have been to 65 countries and have flown completely around the world several times. I like outdoor activities like: hiking, camping, biking, walking, scuba diving (which I have done about 90 times globally), fishing, swimming, snorkeling and just plain being outside and enjoying the outdoors. I also remodel and repair my own rental houses which is quite fun and rewarding. I eat healthy and cook every day.
Q: Do you have a website? What about an email signup list?
A: My website is www.seancreighton.com . On the website is all my direct social medial links. Whoever follows me, I follow back and try to support them as well. Anyone can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, as well.
Q: What thought would you like to end this Q&A with for your readers?
A: I just recorded one of my piano songs to post to YouTube, called “I Fell In Love On a Moonlit Night.” It made me laugh and smile while I was playing it, In the middle I burst out laughing because it is so much fun to play this song on piano. I did not think I could write songs on piano like I do on guitar until I found my great songwriting piano coach, Naomi Bruette, Missouri, USA. She is the real deal. Everyone take care and stay safe. All the love from me to you and remember to smile.
That’s all for now. Be on the lookout for more articles and input from Sean Creighton, songwriter.