When Louisiana native Caden Gillard sat down on a piano bench at Joes Boot Shop in Clovis, NM, he had no idea that a candid video of him made that day would go viral. He was at the shop killing time before being up in the bull riding at the college rodeo that evening, when he moved from the piano bench, picked up a guitar and began to sing one of his original songs, “Shoot’n for the Moon”. Since uploading the video of him and his drummer buddy Gunnar Latham to Facebook on September 20th, 2014, it has since received close to 141K views and 2,000 shares, opening up a world of opportunities and sponsorships for Gillard. Now 21, he’s had the chance to play at the PBR LJ Jenkins Invitational, is a spokesperson for the clothing line Cowboy Fresh, and has released a recent music video.
Gillard describes his musical style as being ambiguous and influenced by artists Chris Stapleton, Cody Johnson, and Chris Ledoux, although he listens to all genres and admires the works of Coldplay. His appreciation and open-mindedness of the full musical spectrum is evident in “Shoot’n for the Moon”, resulting in traditional country enthusiasts to post negative comments in response to the video. “Everybody thinks that all cowboys are the same”, said Gillard when asked what the biggest misconception about the rodeo lifestyle was and also in reply to the negative commenters. He goes on to say that, “If you’re doing anything right, you’re going to have haters. If you’re showing any type of success, people will try to cut you down.”
Despite having to face antagonists, Gillard continues to remain ambitious while promoting his career and getting on bulls. The PRCA permit holder is currently working towards releasing a raw and acoustic album by early spring that will feature a medley of originals about the rodeo road. Aspiring to be a bull riding world champion while doubling as a professional musician, he gloats that, “I’d like to be able to ride at the NFR one day and then perform at South Point later that night,” and then the cowboy finishes by saying, “that’d be rank.”