From Stoughton to the Big Stage

How Stoughton Graduate Seth Charleston moved 2,000 miles across the country to pursue his dreams


Imagine graduating from high school, packing your bags, and moving 2,000 miles across the country to live on your own and pursue your dreams. You may think that’s crazy, but to one 2018 Stoughton High School graduate, that isn’t crazy at all. Meet Seth Charleston, a singer, song writer, and producer located in Los Angeles, California. He has released an EP, multiple singles, and has written and produced music for numerous artists in the Southern California area. From street shows in Madison to the bright lights of Los Angeles, Charleston is set to make his mark in the music industry.
However, he didn’t get to this point overnight. Growing up, Charleston was involved in various activities and had a love for baseball. Watching his older sister perform in choir, plays, musicals, and at the POPS concerts, made him consider taking a path in music.
“Looking up to what she was doing really inspired the whole love for music for me in the first place,” Charleston says.
In seventh grade, Charleston got his first guitar, and with the combination of self teaching and taking classes, he quickly progressed and started to find his passion in creating and playing music. In high school, he was involved in plays, musicals, acapella group Dive In, Norwegian Dancers, alongside improving his craft in his own music in his free time.
“I was trying my best to make full use of everything that was at my fingertips, and it made for a really good high school experience. With the music program in particular, I wouldn’t have found a love for music in the way I did if it weren’t for all of that,” Charleston says. “It was a big blessing growing up here.”
As Charleston neared the end of high school, he had decisions to make. His initial plan was to attend a music school, but after some thought, he decided that tuition costs and other variables were enough to not make the jump right away. However, he knew that a career in music was his calling. After a tour in Southern California for Norwegian Dancers, Charleston saw potential for a future there.
“I think that trip really inspired me. I remember when I [went] there, I was like, ‘I want to live here someday,’ and so I ended up coming to that decision pretty close to the end of my senior year. I was like, ´You know what? I just want to kind of make the leap and go for it.´”
After spending the summer after graduation working at Stoughton Trailers and playing gigs every weekend, it was time to pack his bags and take the leap. On Sep. 23, 2018, he packed up his car and made the drive to Los Angeles.
“I didn’t know a single person here. I had a couple very vague connections through my sister, but aside from that, I had no job. I had no connections. I was pretty much forced to just start from scratch,” he says.
In August of 2020, Charleston was able to release his first EP “Stay True,” which consists of four songs. His song “Take a Seat,” he says meant the most to him.
“[Making] it was a lot of fun because it was the first time I’d ever opened up to collaboration in any sense,” he says. “It really opened my eyes to how much better something can be when you are willing to put your ego to the side and just open yourself up to what other people have to say.”
He bases his music on his own experiences and expresses his life through his music.
“Experience is definitely at the forefront of what I write about just because it’s real and authentic. It’s more difficult for me to write about things I don’t feel,” he says.
The journey has been a constant learning process.
“It’s a consistent growing process. Like, basically learning how to live, in conjunction with learning how to find my sound [and] how I want to present my brand and image. It was a lot more difficult than I could have ever imagined. But I really do mean it when I say it’s the best decision I made for me,” Charleston says.
Charleston describes his music as indie rock and alternative rock, but also has some pop rock elements to it as well.
Being a new artist, not all of the day can be spent on making and producing music. Charleston says he spends the morning and early afternoon making money and spends the evening either writing, producing, or playing music. Along with his own music, Charleston helps write and produce for various artists in the Southern California area.
“I love writing and I love producing for people,” he says. “One of my biggest strengths has always been songwriting.”
In the meantime, Charleston is currently working on his second EP, which he says will be coming out sometime early next year.
” We’re really focusing on just making it as tight as possible, with the production and just every element of it being really solid. [I’m] looking to push it to labels and reps and things like that,” he says. […] I’m starting to work on building a team around me. It’s become very blatantly obvious to me that you need a team around you to get to the next level.”
He says there are bigger plans ahead.
“My goal next year is to start touring. Whether that be regional, like SoCal, or even up the West Coast.”
From the small 13,000 person population of Stoughton to the near 4 million population of Los Angeles, Charleston’s drive and work ethic are bound to let him stand out no matter where he goes. Charleston notes that while a journey like his may seem scary to some, he wouldn’t change a thing. He offers some final words to people looking to take a leap at their dreams.
“I want to empower people to find what they enjoy in life and try to build their life around that. If the itch is that bad, don’t ignore it, go for it!”