Sam Williams released his first album, Greenhouse children, Friday (August 20), and whatever happens from now on with the disc looks great on him.
“It’s been successful enough for me,” Williams says, admitting that his June signing with UMG Nashville “came very, very quickly” and was “surprising” – “I’ve never seen myself signing with a major label. in Nashville, ”he notes. – but pleasantly so.
“I had no intention of doing or proving anything other than being myself on this album. And I think the main message is that vulnerability is powerful. It’s something that I believe in. really, ”Williams said. He later adds: “Just feeling supported by people who really care about music is enough for me.”
Williams knows a bit about how to put her whole soul into her music and have the right people in her corner. His last name may be relatively common, but it makes him royalty within country music: he is the youngest child of Hank Williams Jr., making him the half-brother of several other musicians. Williams and Hank Williams’ grandson.
Sam Williams, however, was for years reluctant to pursue a career in music; after all, with great power comes great responsibility. “Putting aside the expectations and the legacy is something I still work on,” confesses the artist, “but gain the confidence to record this album… and finally get to this point, where the world can have it. , feels really good. “
There wasn’t a particular moment when the switch flipped for Williams, so to speak; rather, he explains, “the more I did, the more I liked it, and the more reactions I would see from people to my work, the more seriously I would take it.”
Her father was also a source of wisdom.
“My dad’s biggest advice has always been to be alone, and everything I’m supposed to do is already inside of me,” says the younger Williams. Hank Jr. spent years singing his father’s songs and building a career as a Hank Williams impersonator, until he broke with that family tradition and turned to a more rock style.
“I think most of the main advice I’ve taken is indirect, and that’s listening to his music when he’s gone in his own direction, listening to interviews and growing as a person,” Sam Williams continues. . “Even if someone else liked him more, I just don’t think it would be worth it to emulate and do something that has already been done.
“I promise you there are better Hank Williams Sr. imitators than me, for sure,” he adds, “but there’s only one of me. So why not? would I not? “
Williams’ style is dreamy and grand – often alt-pop-esque, even – and largely tells personal stories in a style that is both metaphorical and straightforward. His co-authors include several renowned songwriters: Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, Mary Gauthier, Daniel Tashian and Brandy Clark, among others.
“It was important for me to test the waters with writers known for different things… because I wanted to be versatile, and that helps you achieve that,” Williams said, pointing in particular to his co-author of “Romanticism Without. hope “Justin. Parker, an English songwriter and producer best known for writing Rihanna’s 2012 hit “Stay”.
Williams Expands Further With “Wild Girl,” A Sonically and Lyrically Outlier Greenhouse children. The song, co-written with Chris Hennessee and Jaren Johnston of the Cadillac Three, tells the story of “a small town preacher girl, dragging, center-left” and, in turn, her girl – a story “about never realizing your full potential and being sucked into the city you come from and never leaving it,” as Williams explains.
“‘Wild Girl,’ I kind of consider myself writing a hit country song,” Williams continues, “and then I put my own twist on it and made it more of a story.”
Johnston also produced several of the songs on Greenhouse children (Williams has also worked with Tommy Cecil, Jason Gantt, Paul Moak and Bobby Holly and Sean McConnell as producers).
“I needed this collaborative partner who didn’t have a preconceived direction on where the album should go,” Williams recalls. “I think a lot of people would focus too much on making sure the album was ‘country’ – whoever decides what it means – and I think Jaren and I just wanted to see what we could create and what. point we can make it cool. “
In addition to Johnston, Greenhouse children presents two other collaborators who will be familiar to fans of traditional country music: Keith Urban, on “Kids” and Dolly Parton, on “Happy All the Time”. This last song, Williams completed it and had to keep it a secret for about two and a half years.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God, what am I going to do? Do I have songs that are good enough to be beside that?’ … There were times when I was like, ‘Is this going to come out someday?’ “Recalls Williams, who couldn’t be in the studio with Parton while she was recording but made meet her a few months after the fact.
“We just sat down and talked. Dolly is very, very business-conscious and very spiritual… and she’s always thinking about the future,” Williams shares. “It was really, really inspiring to me. I came out of his meeting quite baffled and blown away and ready to work harder.”
It was “Glasshouse Children”, however, that became the album’s title track. The song, which also opens the album with a wall of strings, touches on a lot of those feelings Williams has of being a Williams. He retained the title for a while before co-writing the song with Dan Auerbach and Ronnie Bowman, not quite sure what it meant, but also “even being afraid to really think about what it meant.”
“I think it’s a lot of things: being seen but not feeling seen, and some kind of premise that hurts people hurts people,” says Williams. “The phrase somehow explains to me that sometimes when people[‘s] tribulations and their traumas become so much a part of who they are, it’s hard to part with it, and it’s hard to grow up and move on …
“I think everyone [processes] in different ways, “he adds.” And, for me, it’s writing and singing about it. “
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