The sweet combination of good luck, talent and hard work is elusive for many artists. Many believe the former two are what create lucky breaks. New England-based vocalist and musician Seth Glier recognizes his success can be attributed to all three. He will demonstrate his tuneful trifecta in a Summer Breeze free concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Lions Park, 450 S. Flood Ave.
Grammy-nominated Glier, who has developed a nationwide following, is quick to credit the luck of making significant contacts with others for a portion of his accomplishments.
"Ani DiFranco was the first person who brought me out to the West Coast," Glier said. "She allowed me to open shows out there for her, which was wild for an East Coast kid. The scale and everything is totally different out there. We have the same manager."
Glier, 31, began his career at age 18 in Massachusetts. He dropped out of Berklee College of Music after a year to tour full time. Glier's first LP was recorded in 2009. A 2011 album titled "The Next Right Thing" snagged a Grammy nomination in the "Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical" category. Again, Lady Luck was flitting around his shoulders. The disc was recorded in his parents' basement.
"I was really lucky," he said. "We worked hard on that record, but what I imagined was more likely of a story. After I recorded all the tracks in my parents' basement and co-produced with my best friend, Brian Hommel, we had the small MPress record label pick it up. They're still involved," he said. "They gave me a small budget to hire this engineer named Kevin Killen. He mixed Peter Gabriel's solo record, worked with U2 on the release of 'Joshua Tree' and just has an amazing pedigree, along with being an incredible artist.
"We were lucky enough to line up with him. His name got on the [Grammy] ballot, and people love his work. Maybe they listened to the album and loved that, as well, I have no idea. I'm incredibly grateful because it has allowed me to show up to places I've never been before and have 50 people there to hear me."
When Glier shows up to play a show, he brings a credo that comes from non-artistic experiences in his life.
"It's a service job," he said. "Care providing comes natural to me, because my older brother was born with autism. When I was about 13, my responsibility around the house was to get him showered, dressed and breakfast in the morning. The idea of performing a service and performing a task was already there.
"But I was drawn to the idea of being on stage and being able to control that spotlight. The more I've done it, the more I've realized that this is actually a mechanism to reflect light onto other people, other stories and other causes. There's a responsibility to it. It's in service to something greater."
Glier has partnered with ChildFund International, and he has been a national spokesperson for Autism Speaks. His Grammy-nominated album's title track also won Best Social Action Song at the 2012 Independent Music Awards. Glier's social consciousness has made him right at home in the land of Woody Guthrie, whom he reveres.
"The Woody tradition runs strong," he said. "When I'm on Oklahoma land, it's like visiting a chiropractor. Every time I come through as a songwriter, it just keeps my spine straight. In addition to playing at the Woody Guthrie Center, Okemah (Woody Guthrie Folk Festival) has been a pretty good home for me, along with the Blue Door (Oklahoma City venue), which was my first-ever gig in Oklahoma."
Glier previewed plans for his Summer Breeze show Sunday in the park.
"I'll have an upright bassist with me, and I've been working on some new music since my last time there," he said. "It's pretty eclectic. I'm partial to storytelling in the Woody Guthrie tradition, but I put that tradition in very different clothing. I still play guitar and piano but experiment with electronics and looping in different ways to build up my show. Sonically, it's more of an immersive experience."