CCM Magazine recently connected with Nashville local indie rocker, Devin Williams. See what he had to say about himself and his new project, Devin Williams with String Quartet.
CCM Magazine: Where are you from originally?
Devin Williams: I was born in California just outside of Fresno. Then, my family moved to Kentucky around the age of 13. I stayed in KY until I finished high school and moved to central Florida for college. From there, I moved to Nashville to pursue God’s call on my life.
CCM: If you had only five words to describe your new album, it would be…?
DW: Passionate, Spiritual, Encouraging, Musical & Interesting.
CCM: Do you have a favorite song from the new album? Why?
DW: Picking a favorite is tough! I think for this record it is the song “Qui Per Te,” which is the Italian version of my song “Here For You.” I have been so blessed to have the opportunity to do several concert tours in Italy and I did not have a song in their language. Now, I have a song for my Italian family, friends, and fans that they can fully understand the message and enjoy.
CCM: Do you remember that moment when you realized you wanted to make an actual career out of music?
DW: After surrendering to God’s call on my life, I felt strongly that music was my path, but I wasn’t sure how to get started. At the age of 19, I moved to Florida to study music in a bible college and prayed that God would show me how to make a it career. I started a rock band and we played concerts all over Central Florida.
CCM: If you could potentially tour with any other artist or band (that you haven’t already), who would you choose and why?
DW: I’d love to tour with Skillet, because I’ve watched these guys over the years and I love their heart for ministry. I met John Cooper years ago when they played a few concerts in the Central Florida area near my college. They weren’t as well known then and there were only about 50 to 100 people at the event. They performed with the same passion and purpose then as they do now playing shows with 50,000 people! I would love to partner with them in ministry!
CCM: What was the last song you listened to on your playlist or stereo?
DW: “Breath” by Breaking Benjamin.
CCM: What was the last book you read?
DW: Only The Lonely: Roy Orbison’s Life and Legacy
CCM: If you could tell the world about another artist/band to check out, who would it be?
DW: There are so many great artists and they each have unique things that inspire and encourage. I like what As We Ascend is doing with their rock sound and Fit For a King, too.
CCM: Name a song that you wish you’d written (and why).
DW: Man, there’s just too many to name just one! “Jesus Freak” by DC Talk is a song that changed the face of Christian rock music and had a huge impact on my life. For me, it was the first Christian song where the sound production was the same as the mainstream artists out there, but it also contained an amazing message about Jesus!
CCM: When was the last time that you had a surprising or particularly memorable moment at a live show and what was it?
DW: Almost every live show I’ve had is memorable in one-way or another! I remember playing a concert and a little girl came to the stage and gave my band members and I a card telling us how thankful she was we were there to play music for her and her church. One time we rented a large venue and our prayer was that 50 people would respond during the invitation and altar call. When the invitation was given, we had about 100 respond and the stage was flooded with people! We had pastors from many of the local denomination churches represented and they all began praying. It was an awesome experience.
CCM: What can listeners expect in terms of the sound, style and lyrics?
DW: This album is an intimate, yet powerful, take on some of my heaviest rock songs. Instead of blazing, distorted guitars carrying the riffs, the groove is played on a cello or a viola, while a djembe attacks the tempo. The songs have less effects and less studio production and they focus more on the tones of the instruments and the musicianship of the players.
CCM: Who are your biggest musical influences?
DW: First influences are my parents, who taught me everything I know about singing and performing. I grew up in California and listened to everything from rap to metal, then I moved to Kentucky and I even started listening to some country music! I would say the greatest influence in my writing and finding my voice was Chris Cornell, lead singer from the band Soundgarden. I listened to as many recordings of his I could find and I watched his career and how he developed as a singer, writer, and musician.
CCM: Are there any underlying themes or threads that tie this project together?
DW: Although there may not be an underlying theme, the songs on the recording each share the gospel in a unique way and are tied together by the message of faith. Each of the songs were in the top 30 Christian Rock Billboard charts and fans might like the new twist from the original rock versions.
CCM: How important is your faith or spirituality within your music?
DW: Sharing my faith in my music is very important to me. As a songwriter and an artist, I may write songs that do not directly reference my faith, but my desire is to infuse each song with hope and reconciliation to inspire and encourage the listeners. I feel that songs can be a way to use parables like Jesus did in the Bible.
CCM: What message do you hope listeners will take away from your music, regardless of what they believe?
DW: My goal for my music is that anyone, regardless of their faith, would find hope and encouragement in whatever struggles and mountains they are facing. My prayer is that those who are not Christian would sense the peace and love of God’s presence and be drawn to the truth of Jesus.