Billy Gilman

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Billy Gilman
Billy Gilman at Wildhorse Saloon, 2023.
Billy Gilman at Wildhorse Saloon, 2023.
Background information
Birth nameWilliam Wendell Gilman III
Born (1988-05-24) May 24, 1988 (age 35)[1]
Westerly, Rhode Island, U.S.
OriginRichmond, Rhode Island, U.S.
Years active1999–present Edit this at Wikidata

William Wendell Gilman III (born May 24, 1988), known professionally as Billy Gilman, is an American country music singer. Starting as a young country artist, he is known for his debut single "One Voice", a top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and a top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 2000. He has released five albums, including three for Epic Nashville. In 2016, Gilman auditioned for season 11 of the US edition of The Voice and competed as part of Team Adam Levine, finishing as runner-up for the season.

Early life[edit]

William Wendell Gilman was born on May 24, 1988, in Westerly, Rhode Island. He was raised in Hope Valley, Rhode Island, in the town of Richmond.[1] He is the son of Frances "Fran" (Woodmansee) and William Wendell "Bill" Gilman, Jr., who works in maintenance.[2][3][4] Gilman began singing before he was in school, and gave his first public performance at the age of seven. At the age of nine, Gilman was discovered by Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, who helped him record demos.[1] Gilman was then signed to Epic Records Nashville in 2000.


Gilman in Boston, Massachusetts, in 2000.

Gilman's debut single "One Voice", became a top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 peaking at number 38.[5] It also became a top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 2000.[6] 11 years old at the time, he became the youngest artist to ever have a top 40 single on the country chart.[7][8]

His debut album, also called One Voice was released on June 20, 2000, on Epic Records, and was certified double platinum in the United States.[9] The album included the title track "One Voice" and the follow-up singles "Oklahoma" and "There's a Hero". The single "Oklahoma" was released on October 9, 2000, making it to the Billboard Hot Country Songs top 40 peaking at number 33. It also cracked the main Hot 100 chart peaking at number 63.[5]

Gilman was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his debut single "One Voice"[7] and was nominated for Best Country Song for the songwriters, Don Cook and David Malloy.[10]

Gilman released a Christmas album in 2000 titled Classic Christmas which went gold,[11] followed on May 8, 2001, by his second album Dare to Dream,[1] which was certified gold, although its singles "Elisabeth" and "She's My Girl" both fell short of top 40 on the Billboard country singles charts peaking at numbers 50 and 56 respectively.[6] After Dare to Dream, Gilman's voice began to noticeably change because of the onset of puberty, forcing him temporarily to withdraw from singing.[9][12]

His final album for Epic was released on April 15, 2003, and was entitled Music Through Heartsongs: Songs Based on the Poems of Mattie J.T. Stepanek. The tracks were based on poems written by the child poet Mattie Stepanek, a poet with muscular dystrophy who died in 2004,[1] almost one year after the album's release.

Gilman signed to Image Entertainment in 2005 for the release of his fifth album, Everything and More.[13] A self-titled album Billy Gilman followed in 2006.[14]

The Voice[edit]

In 2016, Gilman auditioned for season 11 of the US edition of The Voice. The emotional introduction piece showed him with his supportive parents clearly introducing him as a child star and the fact that he had come out as gay in 2014. He was shown declaring to The Voice host Carson Daly backstage: "I had to come to grips with being gay... I took a long time to rebuild vocally, but it was coming back, and then coming to grips with who I was personally, I also came to grips with who I was as a singer. You know, I love my country music roots, but deep down, I really always wanted to be a pop singer. It's actually nerve-racking to stand here and just be 100 percent me. There's only one shot to reinvent myself."[15]

In the blind audition broadcast on September 20, 2016, Gilman sang Adele's song "When We Were Young". Gilman impressed all four judges, Adam Levine, Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys and Blake Shelton with his performance. Adam Levine was the first to turn his chair around soon after Gilman started singing, with Miley Cyrus following shortly thereafter. Blake Shelton and Alicia Keys turned around at the very end of the performance. Once Gilman introduced himself to the coaches, both Shelton and Cyrus said they recognized him from his childhood career with Shelton mentioning Gilman's hit "One Voice". Gilman chose to continue the competition as part of Team Adam Levine.[16]

In the battle round, Levine matched Gilman with teammate Andrew DeMuro both performing Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" and opted for Gilman to stay for the knockouts round[17] where he confronted teammate Ponciano Seoane singing "Fight Song". Levine opted to pick him for the live rounds.[18] In the inaugural live playoffs broadcast, he sang "Crying" from Roy Orbison and was one of two contestants from Team Adam to be saved by the public vote[19] the other being his teammate Josh Gallagher. Based on this vote, he moved to the top 12 live stage of the competition.[20]

In the first live show, he sang Queen's "The Show Must Go On".[21] followed in week two of live shows by "All I Ask" from Adele[22] and in week three by "Anyway" from Martina McBride all three with a standing ovation from the public and from all four judges.[23] "Anyway" reached number four on iTunes allowing Gilman the advantage of multiplying the vote (sales) totals he got on the iTunes chart published immediately after the broadcast by five.[24] In the semi-final, he performed "I Surrender" from Celine Dion, again with standing ovation from all four judges.[25] For a second week in a row, Gilman's performance, this time for "I Surrender" featured at number one on iTunes allowing him to benefit from the five times multipliers vote totals again.[26] On December 6, 2016, Gilman qualified to the final of season 11 of The Voice.[27]

In the final four broadcast on December 12, 2016, Gilman performed "My Way", a cover of Frank Sinatra, then performed "Bye Bye Love" from The Everly Brothers as a duet with his coach and mentor Adam Levine, to finish with his original, "Because of Me", which was originally going to be a Maroon 5 track, but Levine decided it would be an appropriate winner's song for Gilman.[28] Closing the finale broadcast on December 13, Gilman became the season 11 runner-up when Sundance Head was declared the winner.[29]

Performances on The Voice[edit]

  – Studio version of performance reached the top 10 on iTunes.
Show Order Song Original artist Result
Blind Audition 2.6 "When We Were Young" Adele All judges, Adam Levine, Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys and Blake Shelton turned
Billy joined Adam Levine's Team
Battle Rounds (Top 48) 7.5 "Man in the Mirror"
(vs. Andrew DeMuro)
Michael Jackson Saved by coach
Knockout Rounds (Top 32) 12.2 "Fight Song"
(vs. Ponciano Seoane)
Rachel Platten Saved by coach. Qualified to the live shows
Live Playoffs (Top 20) 15.20 "Crying" Roy Orbison Saved by public vote. Qualified to Top 12
Live Show (Top 12) 16.5 "The Show Must Go On" Queen Saved by public vote. Qualified to Top 11.
Live Show (Top 11) 18.6 "All I Ask" Adele Saved by public vote. Qualified to Top 10.
Live Show (Top 10) 20.1 "Anyway"[24] Martina McBride Saved by public vote. Qualified to Top 8 (Semi-final).
Live Show
(Top 8 – Semi-final)
22.8 "I Surrender"[26] Celine Dion Saved by public vote. Qualified to Top 4 (Final).
Live Show
(Top 4 – Final)
24.1 "My Way" Frank Sinatra Runner-up
24.5 "Bye Bye Love"
(duet with coach Adam Levine)
The Everly Brothers
24.11 "Because of Me" Billy Gilman
Non-competition performances
Order Collaborator(s) Song Original artist
17.1 Adam Levine, Brendan Fletcher, and Josh Gallagher "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield
22.3 Christian Cuevas "Unsteady" X Ambassadors
25.4 Billy Gilman with Christian Cuevas, Ali Caldwell, Courtney Harrell and Sa'Rayah "Proud Mary" Creedence Clearwater Revival
25.9 Billy Gilman with Kelly Clarkson "It's Quiet Uptown" Hamilton musical

Charities and activism[edit]

The first time Billy appeared on the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon was in September 2001. Two years later, in 2003, he began serving as the Muscular Dystrophy Association's National Youth Chairman. He served six terms, from 2003 to 2008. As of 2017, he is still a celebrity ambassador for MDA and continues to perform on many of their charity drives.[30]

In April 2012, Gilman collaborated with other country artists and released a charity single, "The Choice", for Soles4Souls, a shoe charity with proceeds going for purchase of shoes for needy children worldwide.[31] In addition for Gilman as spokesman for the charity song and lead singer on it, 18 top country singers also took part in support. The track features vocals from Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Craig Morgan, Josh Turner, Kenny Rogers, LeAnn Rimes, Steve Holy, Kellie Pickler, Keith Urban, Wynonna Judd, Rodney Atkins, Amy Grant, Montgomery Gentry, Diamond Rio, Vince Gill, Richie McDonald, Ronnie Milsap and Randy Travis.[32]

Gilman was the host of the 2014 Artists Music Guild's AMG Heritage Awards. His co-host for the event was Mallory Lewis and the puppet Lamb Chop. Gilman also took home the statue for the 2014 AMG Heritage Mainstream Artist of the Year.[33][34]

In popular culture[edit]

In 2000, Gilman appeared on the tribute album Country Goes Raffi, performing the Raffi song "Baby Beluga".[35] In 2000, he also appeared on the television special Twas the Night Before Christmas singing seasonal songs.[36]

On September 7 and September 10, 2001, Gilman performed the song "Ben" (although he misspoke the first phrase of the song by changing "need look no more" to "we live no more") at Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration in New York which was later televised. It was originally sung by Jackson himself in 1972.[37]

Gilman was also on the album Dream A Dream by Welsh soprano Charlotte Church, singing the title track as a featured vocalist with her. The song is for voice and orchestra based on Fauré's Pavane Op. 50 ("Elysium").[38]

In 2002, Gilman took part in a reading for the then Broadway-bound musical A Tale of Two Cities, in which he played "The Young Man", who is Madame DeFarge's brother.[39]

In 2003, he appeared in the short documentary Our Country; and in 2005, he released the promotional documentary Billy Gilman: The Making of Everything and More, produced by Al Gomes of Big Noise, through Image Entertainment.[40]

Personal life[edit]

Gilman originated from Hope Valley, Rhode Island where he lived with his parents and his younger brother Colin as a young singer.[41] He was also interviewed on Entertainment Tonight about his coming out on November 21, 2014, just one day after Ty Herndon had appeared on the same program.[42]

In a video posted on November 20, 2014, Gilman came out as gay.[43] He released his video titled "My Story by Billy Gilman" on One Voice Productions YouTube page only hours after another country singer Ty Herndon had come out. Gilman said in the video that Herndon's public acknowledgement inspired him to do the same.[44]

On March 16, 2017, he was honored in two separate ceremonies in the Rhode Island Senate[45][46] and the House of Representatives[47][48] for his successes and for representing Rhode Island as an artist.


Studio albums
Compilation albums


Grammy Awards[edit]

The Grammy Awards are awarded annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Gilman received one nomination.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2001 "One Voice" Best Male Country Vocal Performance Nominated

American Music Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2001 Billy Gilman Favorite Country New Artist Won

TNN & CMT Country Weekly Music Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2001 Billy Gilman Discovery Award Won

Academy of Country Music Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2001 Billy Gilman Top New Male Vocalist Nominated
One Voice Album of the Year Nominated
"One Voice" Song of the Year Nominated


  1. ^ a b c d e Huey, Steve. "Billy Gilman biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
  2. ^ "Billy Gilman: Wonder Boy (2001)". Country Weekly. Archived from the original on 2014-11-29.
  3. ^ "William W. Gilman Sr". The Westerly Sun.
  4. ^ "Virginia W. 'Ginger' Woodmansee". The Westerly Sun.
  5. ^ a b "Billboard - Hot 100 - Billy Gilman chart history". Billboard. Archived from the original on 2016-12-01. Retrieved 2016-11-17.
  6. ^ a b "Billboard - Hot Country Songs - Billy Gilman". Billboard. Archived from the original on 2016-12-01. Retrieved 2016-11-17.
  7. ^ a b "Billy Gilman: The Voice Contestant -". NBC.
  8. ^ Longeretta, Emily (September 20, 2016). "Billy Gilman Reintroduced On 'The Voice' — 5 Things To Know About Former Child Star".
  9. ^ a b Gil Kaufman (September 21, 2016). "Former Child Star Billy Gilman's Emotional Return on 'The Voice' Sparks Adam Levine/Miley Cyrus Bidding War". Billboard. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  10. ^ MTV News Staff. "43rd Annual Grammy Award Nominees". MTV News.
  11. ^ "Billy Gilman | News, New Music, Songs, and Videos".
  12. ^ Jessica Molinari (September 20, 2016). "Grammy Nominee Billy Gilman Auditions For 'The Voice' Season 11 And Proves That He's Ready For A Comeback". Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  13. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Everything and More - Billy Gilman". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved November 28, 2011.
  14. ^ Collar, Mat. "Billy Gilman - Billy Gilman". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  15. ^ "Openly Gay Former Country Child Star Billy Gilman Seeks Another Chance on 'The Voice'". 21 September 2016.
  16. ^ Stefano, Angela (21 September 2016). "Billy Gilman Sings Adele for 'The Voice' Blind Audition [WATCH]". The Boot.
  17. ^ Annie Reuter (October 11, 2016). "Billy Gilman Wins 'The Voice' Battle With 'Man in the Mirror'". Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  18. ^ Annie Reuter (October 26, 2016). "Billy Gilman Knocks Out 'The Voice' Judges With 'Fight Song'". Taste of Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  19. ^ Annie Reuter (November 8, 2016). "Billy Gilman's Cover of 'Crying' Garners Him Top 12 Spot on 'The Voice'". Taste of Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  20. ^ Maria Sciullo (November 7, 2016). "Cambria County native Josh Gallagher advances on 'The Voice'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  21. ^ Billy Dukes (November 15, 2016). "Billy Gilman's Queen Cover Brings 'The Voice' Judges to Their Feet". Taste of Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  22. ^ Perri O. Blumberg (November 22, 2016). "Billy Gilman's Vulnerable Adele Cover on 'The Voice' Singer scales back for poignant rendition of "All I Ask"". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  23. ^ Allison Sadlier (November 29, 2016). "The Voice: Billy Gilman wows with 'Anyway' cover, Martina McBride responds". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  24. ^ a b Michael Slezak (November 29, 2016). "The Voice Predictions: Who's at Risk on Top 10 Results Night?". TVLine. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  25. ^ Cillea Houghton (December 5, 2016). "Billy Gilman Wows With Celine Dion's 'I Surrender' on 'The Voice'". Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  26. ^ a b Brian Cantor (December 6, 2016). "The Voice's Billy Gilman, Sundance Head, Josh Gallagher and Christian Cuevas win Top 10 iTunes Chart Bonuses". HeadlinePlanet. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  27. ^ Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya (December 6, 2016). "'The Voice': Season 11's Final Four Revealed". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  28. ^ Alyssa Norwin (December 12, 2016). "'The Voice' Recap: Top 4 Sing Their Hearts Out To Be Named Season 11 Winner". Hollywood Life. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  29. ^ Sterling Whitaker (December 13, 2016). "Billy Gilman Is 'The Voice' Season 11 Runner-Up". Taste of Country. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  30. ^ "Quest Magazine". Muscular Dystrophy Association. January 23, 2016.
  31. ^ "Turn shoes and clothing into opportunity".
  32. ^ "Soles4Souls". YouTube.
  33. ^ Gilman, Billy. "Gilman wins AMG Heritage Mainstream Artist of the Year". Artists Music Guild. Archived from the original on November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  34. ^ Gilman, Billy. "Gilman hosts the 2014 AMG Heritage Awards". Anna News. Archived from the original on November 21, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  35. ^ " | Store | Country-goes-raffi".
  36. ^ Jay Bobbin (December 24, 2000). "The Night Before Christmas - Disney Parks Host Holiday Celebrations". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  37. ^ Stephen L. Betts (November 21, 2014). "Flashback: Billy Gilman Performs Pitch-Perfect Cover of Michael Jackson's 'Ben'". Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  38. ^ "Dream a Dream - Charlotte Church | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic.
  39. ^ Jones, Kenneth (August 14, 2004). "Fans Offered a Chance to See NYC Industry Reading of A Tale of Two Cities Musical".
  40. ^ [Go Local Prov: Rhode Island's Billy Gilman on NBC's The Voice Tonight]
  41. ^ Patinkin, Mark (August 24, 2014). "For former child star Billy Gilman, intermission is over". Providence Journal. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  42. ^ Sophie Schillaci (November 21, 2014). "Billy Gilman Talks Coming Out in Country Music, Support from LeAnn Rimes and Lucy Hale". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  43. ^ Campbell, Nigel (November 20, 2014). "Country Singer Billy Gilman Comes Out As Gay". Instinct. United States: Instinct Publishing, Inc. Archived from the original on July 23, 2015. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  44. ^ "One Voice Productions YouTube page: My Story by Billy Gilman". YouTube.
  45. ^ "Billy Gilman is honored at the Rhode Island Senate, March 16, 2017". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13.
  46. ^ "Senator Morgan to welcome Billy Gilman to Senate chamber".
  47. ^ "Billy Gilman blog: Billy Gilman sings the National Anthem & is honored at R.I. House of Representatives, March 16, 2017". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13.
  48. ^ "Singer Billy Gilman honored by Rhode Island House". The Washington Times.

External links[edit]