Singer-songwriter Devin Williams was born into music, being raised by two musician parents, first in California, then later in Kentucky. Growing up around so much music made an impact on his life and influenced the trajectory of his current singing career. Devin has launched six singles into the Billboard Top 30 Christian Rock charts in the last couple of years which led to performing with top bands such as Tenth Avenue North, For King and Country and Building 429.
Over the past few years, William's has been cultivating several passionate songs which he has now poured into his newest album, We Are Forever Yours and is mighty proud of this collection of tunes.
AXS caught ups with singer-songwriter Devin Williams in between gigs, as we talked about his new album, how he's connected to Ryan Seacrest and how a broken TV in his childhood home opened an untapped creative side inside himself.
AXS: You've been known to really rock on a lot of your music and live shows. Who were you listening to that influenced you to pursue music?
Devin Williams: The very first tape I ever bought was a $2 dollar Beasties Boys Licensed to Ill that I bought from my brother. I thought I was so cool (laughs). I used to listen to a lot of Metallica and Ozzy (Osborne). Those were some of my first influences. The first time I remember wanting to play music myself was when I first heard the Slash’s guitar opening on “Sweet Child ‘O Mine” by Guns N’ Roses. And, the power of Chris Cornell’s vocals on Soundgarden albums made it just click inside of me and helped me to decide that’s playing music was just in my blood.
AXS: How did having parents who were musicians shape you as a singer-songwriter?
DW: Because my parents were both musicians I was listening to music before I was born (laughs), like back in my mother’s womb, or the twinkle in my dad’s eye. I’m talking way back. My parents played in bar bands. They were playing Aretha Franklin to Ray Charles and even Captain and Tennille, whatever was cool at the time (laughs). Combined with what I was listening to, it made me think about song structure in a different way.
AXS: As a kid, your creative side got turned on because your TV was broken and could not watch cartoons anymore. How did that help you flip the switch inside of you and become a storyteller?
DW: When I was in third grade I'd come home and watch my favorite cartoon at 3:30 pm, like Thundercats, Transformers and Power Rangers. Those were my shows man! One day I came home, and the T.V. was busted, wouldn't turn on. My parents were divorced by then, and my Dad was taking care of five kids, and he didn’t have the money to get it fixed. He told me, “Go do something else.” So, I picked up my brother's guitar and started playing. I also started reading some of my parent's books they had in the house and slowly started creating my own interests. It's amazing what you can do without a T.V. (laughs).
AXS: Now you have a new worship album, We Are Forever Yours which you've worked on for a while. What are some of the themes on this collection of tunes?
DW: I always try and write songs that make people think. People always ask me, "What's that mean?" I tell them they need to listen to the lyrics to see what you think or feel the song is saying to you. Since I have been leading worship at my church the last few years, the songs on this album just started coming to me. It’s mainly straight up my feelings about my faith in God.
AXS: Any particular song stand out for you personally?
DW: Man, the song “You Give Me Strength” really gets me. No matter what you’re going through, sometimes you face things in life, you face uncertainty in life. The last couple years I've had to face some heavy life things. My youngest son was born with a heart condition. That kind of stuff is totally out of control, and I don't like those feelings. My strength comes from God, and that's what this song is about to me.
AXS: When your son was battling his heart condition you had to spend some time at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. What’s your connection with you, the hospital and Ryan Seacrest?
DW: Good news is my son is doing much better! Ryan Seacrest started their studio at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital a few years ago, and it is really awesome for the kids and even parents to have artists like Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, and others come in to perform for them. I've played there a few times, and each time I get back way more from the kids than I could ever give them. That place holds a special place in my heart.