BY SUNNY CLARK //
He seemed to come from nowhere to capture national attention among the Top 5 contestants on NBC’s The Voice – an unlikely path for Eugene native, Taylor John Williams.
Not so long ago, Williams had taken a distinctly Oregon trail from Eugene to Portland, developing his talent as a singer-songwriter with a voice all his own. Now, Williams is carefully considering a future so bright no one could throw shade, feeling, ”Totally cool… I’m in a good place,” he reported in the wake of leaving the broadcast last month, seeming relaxed and relieved.
Back in the Pacific Northwest to decompress from the intense glare of bright lights in the big city, the 23-year-old related that, as soon as he was eliminated from the competition-based, hit series, “Personal stuff shifted… there’s a lot of release in being done with the whole process.” Despite the intense circumstances, Williams said, “The show – they were all incredibly sweet to me.” Still, the young artist added that, while taking part in the process, “I missed music for music’s sake.” Of the reality television universe in which he found himself, Williams told Oregon Music News,
I immersed myself in the learning process that is The Voice. Growing is a hard thing in front of an audience, but I enjoyed discovering things about my own artistry. I got to explore that. There’s a lot of room to grow. It made me test myself… I wanted this to be a learning experience.
The fresh and now-famous contestant gave credit to the coach he’d chosen for providing the kind of leadership he’d needed; saying of the platinum-haired recording artist and No Doubt co-founder, “Gwen Stefani let me do my thing and was always there to gently guide me. That was huge!” The Grammy-winner also paved important artistic inroads with Williams, who reflected, “Collaboration is often very difficult to accept, but it’s much easier to trust somebody like Gwen Stefani – and, if you want to write really good songs, you have to be able to work with other musicians. It’s a very good thing.”
Now in the after-glow of well-deserved, yet sudden, fame; Williams is clear about his goals while sorting out the means and management side of further developing his life as a professional musician. Choosing and settling representation in the business of show is a difficult phase of career growth for any emerging artist. Says Williams, “I’m now anxious to start doing the real work and keep the momentum going,” wisely noting that, “It goes fast.”
Expect great music to come from this developing talent already a recognizable celebrity both enjoying and humbled by the gush of fans, if his social media pages are any indication. Catch Taylor John Williams around Portland sooner than later and share the intimate experience of a newly discovered musical genius in bloom before production heads hide him away in rehearsal and recording studios for weeks or months at a time then tour him out of this world – or, at least, way outside of our little world of homegrown Oregon talent. (Lucky Portlandians may even enjoy the gift of a free performance at the Sniff Dog Hotel, where they hold cafe “Meet & Greets” that the down-to-earth rising star still takes a shine to.)
See him at Lake Theater and Cafe on Monday, February 9, doors 6pm, show 7pm, $30.