Rox: Leah Williams beyond gifted and talentedWritten by Martini Rox | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It is rare to meet an accomplished musician, composer, producer, songwriter, poet and singer all in one person. It is very rare for that person to be a woman and Leah Williams is every woman when it comes to music. Not only is she the woman singing in the opening intro of my radio program “Night Moves,” she has written, produced and performed her entire album titled, “Run On.”
A Toledo native and a proud graduate of Toledo Public Schools, she is a perfect example of the importance of the band program. Leah was raised in a home filled with all genres of music, allowing her to develop a diverse ear for music and composition. Her extraordinary talent in flute instrumentation led her to receive the coveted Art Tatum Scholarship at the University of Toledo where she started composing classical music and writing poetry.
While working with a professor at UT she twice won the prestigious Craig’s Keyboards/The University of Toledo’s Young Composers Competition. She continued her musical studies in North Carolina, Bowling Green, and Chicago. Leah’s commitment to growing and developing musically has provided her the opportunity to write orchestra compositions from Toledo to the UK. Ironically, singing was later added to her musical repertoire after a friend encouraged her to join the University’s gospel choir, while she was attending graduate school at Bowling Green State University.
Leah’s voice is reminiscent of Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. Her production is a mix of classical and jazz influenced soulful R&B on an album that is smooth enough to play all day. Two weeks ago she had her CD release party for, “Run On” and it was filled with family, friends and fans. Once I received my autographed copy I promptly informed her that we needed to talk.
Martini Rox: What motivated you to professionally pursue writing and composition?
Leah Williams: My composition professor that I studied with when I lived in Chicago told me that all writing is good writing. She really encouraged me in (my) production of tracks and in song-writing and my classical compositions. She is the catalyst — her name is Patricia Moorehead — for propelling me into this phase of expression as a musician.
Martini Rox: You have many other talents as a musician. What made you decide to add production?
Leah Williams: When I got my Mac (Apple), I always used it for my classical composition, then I started fooling around with Garage Band. I would come home from a stressful day and at that time I was working with Dr. Morehead in Chicago so if I wasn’t working on my classical stuff I would kind of fool around with the program and pretty soon I started building these tracks and the next thing I know I’d have 10 tracks, 15 tracks. … I started building this library and kind of learned the program more and messing around, pushing the envelope seeing what I could do.
Martini Rox: As a female, was there pressures or expectations in the music industry you had to deal with while making the transition from classical composer to jazz/R&B artist?
Leah Williams: I think there is very much so a pressure in the music, business and just in life period for women to fit in a certain mold and I guess I have always been outside of the mold. I’ve learned to embrace my uniqueness as a woman and my uniqueness as a musician and a composer. That, I think it is a challenge because it is sometimes a battle between, “Do I kind of go the commercial route, what’s expected of women even though (it’s) that kind of, I hate to say it, but you know, overtly sexual music? Or do I just go with what’s in my heart?” I think my development as a women has been directly related to my music.
To listen to or purchase Leah Williams’ new album “Run On” visit: iTunes, CD Baby, Reverbnation, Sound Cloud or Amazon MP3.
As we continue on…
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