This 24-year-old Angelino singer-songwriter mounts enchanting, effortless vocals on a daydreamy backdrop for an entirely timeless yet refreshing new blend of soul & folk music. Predisposed for musical merit, Williams continues the story set in motion by her father David Williams, whose guitar-playing genius lent itself to the likes of Michael Jackson & Whitney Houston.
Tap any video title to open it in Creation 5.
Writing her own chapter in the legacy, Williams has cultivated her talent from an early age. In 4th grade, she was selected to perform Hard Knock Life with Jay-Z for a TV special. Cut to today and she is still gaining nods in the hip-hop scene, most recently collaborating with Freddie Gibbs on his single The Hard.
Further proof of her ever broadening appeal can be found on YouTube, where her cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams alongside Leighton Meester has acquired over 2 million views.
Having given fans a teasing taste last year with her debut single, ironically titled, Keep Me Waiting, Williams released her 5-track The Lonely One EP on March 25, 2014. This was followed by national TV exposure on ABC’s Rising Star, which saw her being voted into the final by 4 million viewers!
Earlier this year you released your first EP titled The Lonely One. How would you describe it’s sound / vibe?
I would describe the sound of my first EP as melancholy/dreamy/soul/folk.
We love your cover of Dreams by Fleetwood Mac, sung alongside Gossip Girls’ star Leighton Meester. We want to know why there are not more of these videos on YouTube – are there future plans for more poolside sessions?
We have had conflicting schedules over the past few months but plan on releasing more duets together! And, I am not sure if they will be poolside.
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life journey?
At this point, I am just proud that I have been able to continue to make music, share it with others, and follow my dream.
Have you ever leant towards a different career path, or have you always wanted to be a musician?
I always wanted to be a musician, but I have always been incredibly shy, so in college I considered being a poet. I considered just writing poetry and songs for other people and avoid performing my own music. But then I realized that my passion was performing my music for people and it honestly makes me the happiest to perform. Also, I can still write poetry and be a musician! 🙂
Not everyone that knows about you, knows that your late father was a guitar player for Michael Jackson. That’s quite a legacy. How has your father’s influence affected the way you view music and the world around you?
Well, since I grew up in a musical family, music comes as second nature to me. It makes it more of a lifestyle. Whereas, when people ask me ‘what else would you want to do?’ there really are no other options, music is a part of my soul and I couldn’t live without it and I think that has a bit to do with the fact that I grew up around it.
When you were on ABC’s show The Rising Star you performed live to millions of people. We got goosebumps ourselves watching your powerful performance. What was going through your head while you were giving it your all on stage?
I was mostly just thinking: ‘everyone is staring at me, and I better not mess up’ because since it’s shot live, if you make a mistake it will be caught on camera and reported in the news and that was the most stressful thing for me. Performing for a live studio audience is weird, because when you play a live show everyone is there to see you and they know your music and they are into it, but for a studio audience, the energy is slow, the audience has to be quiet while we are shooting and everyone is sitting down, so they just sit and stare at you and it’s hard to tell if they’re enjoying it or not.
During your time on the show you were praised endlessly but also you were constantly being judged. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken away from the whole experience?
Well, there were some times where the criticism got to me. But at the end of the day you have to do what’s best for yourself. The biggest lesson I learned was that it’s important to connect with the audience (in this case….a camera). I learned a lot about my performance and how to improve upon that.
Give us your top three artists in todays scene that you’d want to work with.
Chance the Rapper, Spooky Black and Shakey Graves.
One reason why your songs are so popular is because real people can really relate to them. With your sound and the raw emotion you project in your lyrics, you manage to create this world that people already know. They get that feeling of ‘This song is about my life’ or even ‘I remember feeling that way, or being in that place.’ How does it feel knowing that you strike this chord in so many others?
It’s nice to know that I strike a chord with so many others. I write about my personal life experiences, finding love and then losing it, and I feel like love is something everyone can relate to. Every person loves. Even dogs love.
You’ve recently performed alongside rapper Freddie Gibbs at the 3rd Annual Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival. How did you and Freddie first meet, and how did you come to feature in his 2012 song The Hard?
I met Freddie through my cousin. He accompanied her to one of my first shows at a restaurant in West Hollywood, like two and a half years ago, and afterwards he said, “I like your vibe, let’s do a song together” and then we did! He pulled a few tracks for me, but the one that ended up being The Hard was the one that I think we both preferred.
What would you say draws you in to this kind of real and gritty rap music… What resonates with you?
I’m not sure what draws me into any kind of music really. I just like good music. It doesn’t matter if it’s rap, country, blues, soul, classical, I am just drawn to good music and Freddie is a really talented rapper and that’s what draws me in.
We want to know what you have lined up for 2015?
I have some new videos and music lined up which I am very excited about! I have been writing new stuff, so more content then last year I would hope! And some potential collaborations 🙂
Finally, looking back over 2014, what would you say is the most fun you’ve had?
The most fun I’ve had is probably playing shows with Leighton and singing duets with her. I really appreciate her support, and I love performing my music for live audiences!
Dana Williams chose our Sunday Sessions this week. Click here for the playlist!
Don’t have Creation 5? Download it from the App Store!