He tugged at our heartstrings as a child star 20 years ago. Now, country singer Billy Gilman is all grown up and making fans swoon.
Up next, he is headlining a major South Florida event.
SFGN has learned that Gilman will perform at the Red Dress Dress Red Gala on Feb. 4 at the Design Center of the Americas (DCOTA). The World AIDS Museum (WAM) is throwing the gala.
“I am excited to be joining the World AIDS Museum for their first Red Dress Dress Red Gala,” Gilman said. “I am honored to be a part of the first and look forward to seeing everyone at this amazing event! This event is important to our community, bringing awareness to HIV education and prevention, providing safe spaces to have a conversation and remembering those who have passed.”
Indeed, it only took a single conversation between WAM Executive Director Terry Dyer and WMBA President Gary Van Horn and Gilman's involvement in the inaugural Red Dress Dress Red Gala came to fruition.
"We are overjoyed that Mr. Gilman is joining our gala. His powerhouse vocals are an incredible addition to our amazing lineup. His love for charity and giving back to our communities align with our efforts as well. WAM is grateful to the quick and hard work of Gary in solidifying Gilman's participation,” Dyer said.
His South Florida appearance adds to what is already shaping up to be a big year for Gilman. In mid-January, he began recording a new album, his first in a long time.
“We laughed, we cried, we came through. I am so proud of this record already. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was 11 years old. Stay tuned. You are going to be surprised.”
Years after his child stardom had faded, Gilman gained a whole new batch of fans when he was a finalist on “The Voice” in 2016.
Gilman shot to fame in the country world more than 20 years ago with songs that addressed issues facing young people, including suicide and isolation in his breakout song One Voice.
The song is even more relevant today, and on the twentieth anniversary of the tune’s release, Gilman told CMT, “I would never have imagined that America, let alone in the world, we would be seeing so many suicides. If we could be a little nicer to one another and learn that we are all made differently, but we all deserve kindness, love, and respect it would make the world a better place.”
He also released Oklahoma, a song that looked at the life of a child in foster care.
The love and understanding he called for never came his way after coming out in 2014. Gilman did it before a reporter, who spotted him with his partner, could break the story. He told Billboard that, after his announcement on YouTube, the silence was deafening.
“I knew something was wrong when no major label wanted to sit down and have a meeting and listen to the new stuff.”
In addition to writing and recording new music, these days he uses social media to remind us that he’s all grown up. His Instagram is filled with thirst traps that show him shirtless and often cuddling his pup, Kip.
Tickets for the Red Dress Dress Red Gala and Gilman’s performance are still available, but Dyer said they are almost sold out.