We had the good fortune of connecting with Jesse Williams and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jesse, what inspires you?
I am inspired by all things warm and moving.. by sincere expressions of color and soul. There are many inspiring harbors in the oasis of creation for me. I am so fond of the great truth needed in finding inspiration. That it’s very much about being receptive, that there are endless ways it finds you.. and on the other side of that, there are infinite ways one can seek it also. I love all things timeless and groovy. The 1960’s and the 1970’s hold especially true for me in that sense. I love the free-flowing style and glow of those eras. The fashion, the artwork, and the music are major sources of fascination and appreciation. There are also some of my favorites muses to come out that era. Artists like Bonnie Raitt, Aretha Franklin, Karen Dalton, the Allman Brothers Band, Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, the Grateful Dead, Joni Mitchell.. I could go on forever. More modern artists to add are the Derek Trucks Band, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, the Marcus King Band, and the California Honeydrops.. What all of these artist share is this innate ability to grab one’s fullest and wholehearted attention. Everything around me fades and I’m in the arms of their medicine.. In the space of their collective sounds and styles, and their messages to the world.. to all of us. Deep connection like that moves me to my core. And from there I’m free. Free from my daily self, from all of the roles I play and my personal understanding of my life. Of my purpose here. It allows me to be present. I think that’s inspiration’s favorite hang out spot. Is the right here, right now.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My music and my art really lend and share a lot of the same styles. It’s like sensory groove, whether it be visual or audible.. I am all about diving deep into the soul of whatever it is that’s happening. Letting it simmer and come into it’s power. Not rushing, arriving on time and in mind. I believe this comes through in my music. I also believe this is what sets me apart in the vast world of music. Having such a taste for soul and blues, while integrating my love for jazz, folk, and early southern rock. There’s a blend of genres at play. Each song that I write represents my allegiance to these styles while evolving my sound and feel. I have been playing guitar for twelve years now and my little inner child is so warmed by that. I started playing guitar at twelve, fired up by the power and mastery of Stevie Ray Vaughan. I have long desired to be a blues guitarist, one of my own artistic integrity and approaches. As I grew, so did my influences which now is a long list.. but Derek Trucks is among the top, as well as Dickey Betts, Duane Allman, and Bonnie Raitt.. In time I really started to see the fruits of my labor and realized that being a guitarist wasn’t the only source of expression that I wanted.. It was then that I really started working on singing and incorporating the two instruments together. Full on. Some odd years later and I now have a dynamic style of soul singing and rhythm/lead guitar playing. I will forever be refining and working towards the ultimate expression of these gifts. I am proud of where it’s all heading. I am so excited to keep on growing and evolving. It’s taken a lot of years to get here. A lot of forwards and backwards steps.. some hard lessons and some truly beautiful heights too. Overcoming wasn’t always the first move I made. In those choices though I learned just how essential persevering is. How rich it is for the soul and the spirit. That in moving forward from those challenges, I was continuing on with more experience,, with more defined goals and a clearer view of where and how I want to arrive. Adversity has strengthened me. Pain has taught me to be more considerate and compassionate for my fellow brothers and sisters. These lessons have taught me what kind of a person I want to be, and that I am. I know myself more then I ever could have, because of those trials. I want to share and reflect to the world what the world has given me. Love, kindness of all degrees.. transparency in relating to one another. I want to share the medicine of my lessons, the fruits of my labor. The gifts of my childhood and the beautiful people who raised me. I want to carry on their magic through my own.. I want the world to know the sweetness of just being. Being ourselves, unapologetically and full-heartedly.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There have been so many teachers and mentors along this journey of mine. Some that I could see right from the start. Some that took time for me to see the lesson, and their immense value to my evolution as a person and an artist. Forever first is my family. From the beginning I have been immersed in feeling the richness of life and planting my roots deep. They have shown me the way and provided me all of the love and opportunities to grow and further my gifts. Whether it was through watching them play music every weekend no matter what life threw their way.. or listening to all of their personal musical muses and witnessing how they carried them on.. they shared the life force that runs through them. They showed me the unimaginable reserve of one’s power and purpose. They also challenged and encouraged me to forge my own. I am also thankful for the loving and encouraging support of my boyfriend. Going on ten years now, I have learned from the immeasurable gift of unconditional love and the importance of that sacred heart. I must properly acknowledge the friends and people I have met along the way of pursuing and growing my music. There are some really great folks I have met and who shined their light in such a way, it really helped me bring mine into full radiance and continues to do so. People like José Lopez, Kerry Phillips, Cheyenne Watson, Larry Hurley, Makayla Parks, Carly Gibson, Bj Wilbanks, Keifer Johnson, Josiah Garrett, Tommy Uribe, and Randy Michael. In all and in last, I would like to share my deep gratitude for all of the people that have supported and believed in me. In my music and my art, in what I’m here to do. It’s not lost of me the power of your love and the magnitude of your faith.
Niki Coltrane, Dan Almasy, Carey Hood, Nick McElroy