Singer/songwriter Dana Williams is often described as the modern-day Ella Fitzgerald. After the recent release of her EP Let’s Fall, Williams somehow managed to fabricate a timeless romantic tale that, similar to Lana Del Rey, is captured through soulful vocals mimicking the essence of decades past. Rather than cluttering her music with heavy instrumentals that tend to be evident in most of what we hear today, Williams’ confidence is showcased through the simplicity of her tracks. She creates this refreshingly modest and humble sound glazed with honest words and an enchanting voice, and seems to do so in an effortless fashion. We got the chance to talk to Williams and discuss how she got into music and where she plans on taking it in the future.
Cliché: With your father being Michael Jackson’s guitarist, you were exposed to the insides of the music industry at a very young age. How did that influence your take on having a music career of your own?
Dana Williams: I think that it has made me a bit more cautious in a lot of ways, especially as a woman. But also, because I was around music so frequently at a young age, I feel as though music is very much a part of me. It is what I live for.
Was music always what you wanted to pursue, or was there a time you saw yourself heading in a different direction with your career?
I have always wanted to pursue a career in music to some capacity. I have always written music and poems, and at one point I was really interested in writing poetry as a career. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized I could also be a performer, since being the center of attention has not always been so appealing to me. So, I have sort of created a synergy between all of my passions: writing music, writing poetry, and performing.
Were there ever any instances where you second-guessed whether you wanted to pursue music because of something you witnessed at a young age?
The music business is very unpredictable. It has big ups and just as big downs. And it isn’t for the faint of heart. There have been times when I thought I could do something else and it would be easier. But at the end of the day, I am happy doing what I love, and that’s what makes it so satisfying.
You’ve collaborated with well-known actress and singer Leighton Meester quite a few times on your YouTube channel. How do you choose the songs, and do you plan on continuing to use this platform in the future?
We just send songs back and forth and when there is one we both love, we go for it. We work out the chords and harmonies and it’s a lot of fun. Yes, we do plan on collaborating more in the future.
How do the experiences of covering music differ from performing your own?
When I perform my own music, it is my own story I am telling. When I am performing a cover of someone else’s music, I have to make it my own. So, it is still a bit creative in that, I am making it sound and feel more like something I have created. It’s a really nice way to step out of my own head temporarily and try something new.
What were some of your greatest influences while working on your EP, Let’s Fall?
I was listening to an eclectic group of performers from The Caravells to Mazzy Star to Patsy Cline and always Ella Fitzgerald. This EP is sort of a story of a young woman finding herself through the experience of new and old relationships and the lingering question of the unknown.
Having released Let’s Fall on iTunes December 2015, are there any projects you are currently working on, or do you have a goal that you hope to accomplish next?
I have been writing a lot again and I am excited to see where it takes me. I am working on a bunch of collaborations this year and of course will continue to put out video content more consistently.
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Dana Williams On Her New EP, ‘Let’s Fall’: Photographer: Davida Williams