Local musician on the move

A Waterloo man recently released his first full-length album, closing out an eventful year with what he described as the first chapter in his music career.

Ethan Carl – whose given name is Ethan Sherertz – is originally from St. Louis, though a previous relationship with a woman from Smithton saw him moving to Waterloo, and he has found a deep appreciation for this community’s atmosphere.

Growing up in St. Louis, his father was the head wrestling coach at Whitfield School, what he described as a fairly affluent private high school.

Carl and his siblings attended school there, and, under his father, he had a very successful wrestling career that continued as he began attending Maryville University.

It was there that he took up singing and the guitar to step away from a schedule dominated by wrestling and academics.

“To kinda break up the monotony of the season is when I started playing guitar and singing just to myself in my dorm room or apartment or wherever I was at the time,” Carl said. “It was kinda like, go to wrestling practice and class and work out during the day, and then come home when I can and kinda relax a little bit by playing the guitar and singing.”

Though this was the major beginning to his love for music that he pointed to, Carl explained he had prior singing experience as he previously participated in a number of choirs and had some solo experience as well.

Additionally, Carl has always been interested in country music, growing up listening to Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks and other legends.

It was as he was pursuing an education degree at Maryville, however, that his interest in music as a career was sparked.

“I was tying my wrestling shoes and singing before practice,” Carl said, “and my assistant coach at the time said just kind of in passing, ‘Ethan, I think you’re in the wrong career path. I think you need to go into music. You should not be going into education. You should be singing.’”

He was skeptical of this recommendation but nevertheless was eventually drawn to the life of a musician.

“I was very interested in what he had to say, but it’s quite a jump to just drop everything you’re doing and pursue something that the world says is volatile,” Carl said. “So I finished my education degree, I started teaching, and a series of unfortunate events led me to say, ‘Screw it. What, are things gonna get worse?’”

With that, in October 2022, he left his job and began knocking on whatever doors he could find to make his way into the music industry.

In the time since, he’s seen some decent success. Carl remarked that 2023 saw him grow his online presence from basically nothing to several thousand followers, and he played in almost 10 states all on top of opening for Travis Tritt at the latest Songs4Soldiers benefit concert in Columbia.

Beyond his artistic accomplishments, Carl also mentioned meeting his current fiance.

Carl remarked positively on the progress he’s seen in music – though he hopes for even greater growth in 2024 – while also expressing his appreciation for fellow local musician Alexandra Kay who has seen remarkable success in recent years.

“I feel like this is the path God has kinda led me down,” Carl said. “I feel like Alexandra Kay paved the way for artists in our area, and I have a lot of respect and admiration for her, and I certainly hope to follow in her footsteps. It may not be overnight, but I’m in it for the long haul.”

Carl’s last big musical milestone for 2023 was the release of his debut album “Movin’ Too Fast,” though he added that he’s already completed work on a handful of other songs.

He expressed satisfaction at the fact that all the original songs – the album also features a few covers – come from a very personal place, sharing his experiences of heartbreak and angst about the world.

“I’ve been referring to this album as chapter one, so to speak, of my musical experience,” Carl said. “It’s not somebody else’s story. It’s 100 percent my story and my experiences, which I think is pretty cool.”

Looking forward, Carl said he has some projects in the works he’s hoping to keep quiet about for now.

He’s also generally hopeful about furthering his career as an artist in the year to come.

“I’m miles from where I started in a short period of time, but miles from where I want to be,” Carl said. “I’ve got pretty lofty goals, but I did some cool things in 2023.”

For more on Ethan Carl, including a list of upcoming performances, visit ethancarl.com.

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Andrew Unverferth

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